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Published by: B. Merkur on Apr 16, 2012
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Beis Moshiach (USPS 012-542) ISSN 1082-0272 is published weekly, except Jewishholidays (only once in April and October) for$160.00 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and inall other places for $180.00 per year (45issues), by Beis Moshiach, 744 EasternParkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409.Periodicals postage paid at Brooklyn, NY andadditional offices. Postmaster: send addresschanges to Beis Moshiach 744 EasternParkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409.Copyright 2010 by Beis Moshiach, Inc.Beis Moshiach is not responsible for thecontent of the advertisements.
744 Eastern ParkwayBrooklyn, NY 11213-3409Tel: (718) 778-8000Fax: (718) 778-0800admin@beismoshiach.org www.beismoshiach.org
M.M. Hendel
Boruch Merkur
Rabbi Sholom Yaakov ChazaneditorH@beismoshiach.org
Story | Nosson Avrohom
Profile | Menachem Ziegelboim
Shlichus | Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz
Thought | Rabbi Zvi Homnick
Feature | Gai Kantor
Shlichus | Nosson Avrohom
Story | Nosson Avrohom
D’var Malchus | Sichos In English
Feature | Menachem Ziegelboim
The seven days of the dedicationof the Sanctuary had passed, anddespite the expectations of the Jewishpeople, the Divine Presence had not become manifest.Even after the sacrifices offeredon the eighth day, the hopes of thepeople had not been fulfilled. [1] Aware of the people’sdisappointment, Moshe and Aharonentered the Sanctuary and prayed,and then “G-d’s glory was revealedto all the people. Fire came forthfrom before G-d and consumed the burnt offering.” [2]In grateful acknowledgment, “thepeople saw this and raised their voices in praise.” [3]Two individuals sought a deeper bond with G-d.“Aharon’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, each took his fire pan, andplaced fire and then incense upon it,and offered it before G-d. It wasstrange fire which [G-d] had notcommanded [them to offer]. Firecame forth from before G-d andconsumed them, and they died before G-d.” [4]Moshe praised them in theirdeath, telling Aharon: “This is [themeaning of] what G-d said: ‘I will besanctified by those close to Me and I will glorified before the entirenation.’ “ [5]Rashi [6] explains that Moshetold Aharon: “I knew that theSanctuary would be consecrated bythose in communion with G-d. Isurmised that this would be eitherme or you. Now I see that they aregreater than we are.”
The passage is paradoxical.On one hand, the conduct of  Aharon’s sons appears undesirable,as obvious from the punishment theyreceived and as reflected in ourSages’ [7] discussion of “the sin of  Aharon’s sons.”Conversely, however, it alsoappears that there was a positivedimension to their efforts.For Nadav and Avihu had beendesignated for unique Divine serviceand Moshe himself stated [8] thatthey were greater than he and Aharon and that through theirsacrifice, the Sanctuary wasconsecrated.This difficulty can be resolved based on the commentary of the OrHaChayim, who explains the deathof Nadav and Avihu as follows: [9]They came close to a sublime light with holy love and died because of it.This is the mystic secret of [G-d’s]kiss through which the righteous die.Their death was equivalent to thedeath of the righteous, [except] there was one distinction:It is the kiss which approachesthe righteous, while in their instance,it was they who approached it.... Although they appreciated thatthey would die, they did not hold back from coming close to clinging[to G-d] in a sweet [bond] of love...to the extent that their soulsdeparted.Chassidic thought [10] developsthis concept, stating that our love forG-d must involve two phases: ratzu,a powerful yearning for connection with G-d, and shuv, a commitmentto return and express G-d’s will bymaking this world a dwelling forHim. [11] As the Or HaChayim describes, Aharon’s sons had reached an all-encompassing level of ratzu, alonging to cleave to G-d.This should have been followed by a phase of shuv to express this bond with G-d in their lives. [12]Their sin [13] was not thecloseness they established with G-d, but the fact that the connection wasself-contained, causing them to die, without extending this bond into therealm of ordinary experience. [14]For G-d’s intent is that the deepestlevels of love for Him be channeled to wards appreciating the G-dliness thatexists within every element of creation, and undertaking earnestendeavors to enable that G-dliness to become manifest.The positive dimension of Nadav’s and Avihu’s striving isalluded to in the phrase “a strangefire which [G-d] had notcommanded [them to offer].”Their Divine service was“strange” - of a level beyondordinary mortal experience, and onsuch a high peak that G-d could notcommand the Jewish people to seeksuch a rung.The closeness to G-d whichresulted from this Divine service“dedicated the sanctuary,” [15]endowing it with the potential toinspire others to similar heights. Forthis reason, our Torah reading begins by mentioning “the death of the twosons of Aharon, when they drew close to G-d.”The Torah reading focuses on theDivine service of Yom Kippur, theday on which every Jew “draws closeto G-d.” As an introduction, the Torahcites the closeness achieved by Aharon’s son’s, for their endeavorsopened a channel enabling all Jews toconnect to G-d with such intensity.
d’var malchus
Sichos In English
Issue 738
In retrospect, the Divine serviceof Aharon’s sons provides us withtwo lessons:a positive one, the potential a Jew has to draw close to G-d; and,a negative one, that their servicelacked the thrust toward shuv, life within the context of our world. According to popular custom,there are some who refer to thisTorah reading as Acharei and others who call it Acharei Mos.It is possible to say that thedifference between the two namesdepends on which of the dimensionsis chosen for emphasis. Acharei means “after.”The height of connection reached by Aharon’s sons generated thepotential for similar closeness to beachieved by the Jewish people“afterwards.” Acharei Mos, (“After the deathof”), by contrast, places the accenton the negative outcome thatresulted from their inability tocomplement the closeness to G-d with the commitment to develop anawareness of G-d within thismaterial world. [16]
Lubavitch custom is to call theTorah reading Acharei, highlightingthe closeness every Jew shares withG-d.For the inner dimension of thesoul of every Jew is at one with G-d, bound together in an inseparableconnection.This bond surpasses thatestablished through the observanceof mitzvos.For although mitzvos create a bond between the commanded andthe Commander, the two remainseparate entities.In essence, however, the Jews andG-d are one. And this is the level of consciousness which surfaces on Yom Kippur. [17]On this level, a Jew’s obedience toG-d is not a matter of choice, for which there is reward or punishment, but a natural response, an expressionof his inner self. As R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev  would say, it is not a commitment toobservance which prevents a Jew from eating on Yom Kippur. On YomKippur, who wants to eat! And from Yom Kippur, thisconnection can be continued Acharei, “afterwards,” lifting theentire scope of our Jewishobservance to a higher level.The inner point of connection between a Jew and G-d can suffuseevery aspect of our lives. As such, living within the material world will not represent a challengeto dedication to G-d. At this level,one’s life is one of simple connection which does not allow for anypossibility of separation.Mankind as a whole willexperience this level of connection inthe Era of the Redemption, when theG-dliness which permeates the world will be revealed: “The world will befilled with the knowledge of G-d likethe waters that cover the ocean bed.”[18]In this setting of manifest G-dliness,man’s natural, spontaneous desire will be to obey G-d’s will.
 Adapted from: Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXII, p.98ff; Sefer HaSichos 5750, p. 428ff 
NOTES:1. See Rashi, commenting on Leviticus 9:23.2. Leviticus 9:23-24.3. Ibid.4. Ibid. 10:1-2.5. Ibid.:3.6. In his commentary to this verse, based onToras Kohanim, commenting on Leviticus9:24; Midrash Tanchuma, Shemini, sec. 1, etal.7. Toras Kohanim, commenting on Leviticus10:1; Vayikra Rabbah 12:1, 20:6,8,9, et al.8. Moshe represented the embodiment of theattribute of truth (Midrash Tanchuma,Shmos, sec. 28). As such, he did not makethis statement as an expression of humility, but rather, as an honest appreciation of thespiritual level of Aharon’s sons.9. One of the interpretations he offers toLeviticus 16:1.10. See the maamar entitled Acharei, SeferHaMaamarim 5649, p. 237ff and LikkuteiSichos, Vol. III, p. 987ff. See also the essayentitled “After Yom Kippur,” in TimelessPatterns in Time, Vol. I, p. 52.11. Cf. Midrash Tanchuma, ParshasBechukosai, sec. 3.12. On this basis, we can understand ourSages’ statement (Avos 4:22): “Against your will, you live.” The natural desire of a Jew’ssoul is to abandon material existence and tocling to G-d. Living within our world is“against your will,” contrary to this desire. Itremains within the body only out of acommitment to fulfill G-d’s will.See the commentary to this mishnah in In thePaths of Our Fathers p. 141 (Kehot, N.Y.,1994).13. The Hebrew word for sin - chet - canalso be rendered as “lack.” (See I Kings1:21.)14. The Or HaChayim explains that thisconcept is underscored by the opening verseof our Torah reading (Leviticus 16:1): “AndG-d spoke to Moshe after the death of thetwo sons of Aharon, when they drew close toG-d and died.” Why does the verse say “and died”? Toemphasize that this was the negativedimension of their service. The closenessthey achieved was desirable. But “they died,”and this closeness did not serve to advanceG-d’s purpose in creation.15. In this context, the death of Aharon’ssons can be compared to a sacrifice, for theygave up their lives to cling to G-d.16. Within this context, the connection onthe mention of Aharon’s sons to theremainder of the Torah reading is that, on Yom Kippur, the High Priest enters the Holyof Holies, drawing close to the manifestationof the Divine Presence. He must rememberthe importance, not only of entering the Holyof Holies, but of departing, and drawing thespiritual closeness into everyday life.17. This level of connection transcends thethrusts of ratzu and shuv, uniting one withG-d in a simple and constant bond. See theessay entitled “A Time to Take Stock,”Timeless Patterns in Time, Vol. II, p. 147ff.18. Isaiah 11:9, cited by the Rambam,Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5, atthe conclusion of his discussion of the Era of the Redemption.

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