The People and the Book: Aaron’s silence

Sometimes God disappoints us and we may respond with a silence that alternately expresses anger, grief and even awe.

March 15, 2016 16:53
4 minute read.
Drawing by Pepe Fainberg

Drawing by Pepe Fainberg. (photo credit: PEPE FAINBERG)


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THE SHEMINI Torah portion opens with a great tragedy that occurs on the very day that the Israelites are to celebrate the dedication of the tabernacle that will accompany the people throughout the rest of their sojourn in the desert.

Nadav and Avihu, newly anointed into the priesthood, improvise slightly in their priestly duties by taking their fire pans to offer incense before God. The Torah describes theirs as “an alien fire, which [the Lord] had not enjoined upon them. And the fire came forth from the Lord and consumed them; thus they died at the instance of the Lord.”


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