On the eighth day of the dedication of the Mishkan, Aharon, his sons, and the entire nation bring various korbanot (offerings) as commanded by Moshe. Aharon and Moshe bless the nation.
“And Aharon was silent…” (10:3)
Every silence says something.
When the Torah says that “Aharon was silent” after his two sons were consumed by fire for bringing a korban that was not instructed by
What could Aharon have said in defense of his sons’ flagrant breach of the Torah?
The Midrash Pliah remarks, “What could he (Aharon) have said? ‘And on the eighth day he shall circumcise the flesh of his foreskin’.”
How would have brit mila been a defense?
The spiritual masters teach that Man was born uncircumcised to emphasize that just as Man must complete his body, to finish the work of Heaven and circumcise himself, so too must Man partner with
Nadav and Aviahu, Aharon’s sons, thought that they should use their own input in the service of
And strictly speaking they were correct, as it says: “And the sons of Aharon the priest shall put fire on the altar” (Vayikra 1:7) — even though fire descends from Heaven there is a mitzvah to bring a man-made fire.” (Yoma 21b)
Thus, Aharon could have claimed that just as brit mila is given for us to partner with Heaven, so too the fire from Heaven needed a human counterpart.
In reality though, the claim does not hold water.
Even though, on a regular basis, there is a mitzvah to bring man-made fire, on this day, the day of the inauguration of the Mishkan, where the descent of Heavenly fire was to indicate the resting of the Divine Presence on the Mishkan, there was no place for man’s participation. Therefore, the fire was called “a strange fire”, since the resting of the Divine Presence tolerates no partnership.
- Sources: Yeshu’ut Malko by the Kutna Rebbe as seen in Mayana shel Torah