April 4, 2024 / 25 Adar II, 5784 • Parshat Shemini / Hachodesh
Issue 815
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

True Closeness

Moses spoke to Aaron and his surviving sons, Eleazar
and Itamar: “Take the grain-offering left over from G-d’s
fire-offerings and eat it as unleavened loaves near the
Altar, for they are of superior holiness.” 

Leviticus 10:12

Moses comforted Aaron over the loss of his two older sons, Nadav and Avihu, by pointing out that their death through Divine ecstasy showed that they were closer to G-d than Moses or Aaron were. Moses was not exaggerating in order to comfort Aaron; on the other hand, he was also aware that Nadav and Avihu had not been privileged to communicate with G-d directly, as he had.

What Moses meant, rather, was that whereas G-d had commanded him (and Aaron) to forego their personal, exalted spiritual state in order to lead the people and teach them the Torah, G-d had made no such demands on Nadav and Avihu. Therefore, they indeed remained “closer” to G-d than Moses or Aaron were able to be.

Nonetheless, G-d subsequently made it clear that Nadav and Avihu’s approach was not meant to be a model for others. True closeness to G-d results from identifying with His purpose in creating the world: refining it and transforming it into His home, and inspiring and instructing others to do the same

--Daily Wisdom Volume 3