Water from the well: The aftermath of grief

“And Aaron was silent.” In his terrible silence, one can hear a reverberating scream welling up from inside, but restrained and given no outward expression.

By NECHAMA GOLDMAN BARASH
March 28, 2019 14:58
‘THE TWO Priests are Destroyed,’ James Tissot, 1896-1900, Jewish Museum New York City.

‘THE TWO Priests are Destroyed,’ James Tissot, 1896-1900, Jewish Museum New York City.. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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In this week’s Torah portion, Shmini, we read of the tragic deaths of Aaron’s oldest sons, Nadab and Abihu. Up until this point in the Book of Leviticus, Aaron and his four sons have been fully present as central figures in translating God’s word to Moses into action in the Tabernacle. In contrast to Moses, who works alone, Aaron and his sons work together.

For eight days, they have been performing carefully commanded and orchestrated acts of sacrificial worship on behalf of the people. God speaks to Moses and tells him to speak to Aaron and his sons. Aaron and his sons do all of the things that God commanded to Moses.

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