Saturday, March 27, 2010

Parsha Shmini 5770 - In Front of God

Parsha Shmini 5770
Rabbi Ari Kahn

In Front of God

On the eighth day, all was prepared; the Mishkan was completed and ready for service. It was meant to be a glorious day. On this day a revelation was promised, a revelation that would convey a message of forgiveness to the entire nation, and most particularly to Aharon.[1]

ויקרא פרק ט, ו-ז
וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה’ תַּעֲשׂוּ וְיֵרָא אֲלֵיכֶם כְּבוֹד ה’: וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל אַהֲרֹן קְרַב אֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וַעֲשֵׂה אֶת חַטָּאתְךָ וְאֶת עֹלָתֶךָ וְכַפֵּר בַּעַדְךָ וּבְעַד הָעָם וַעֲשֵׂה אֶת קָרְבַּן הָעָם וְכַפֵּר בַּעֲדָם כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה’:
And Moshe said, 'This is the thing which God commanded that you should do, and the glory of God shall appear to you." And Moshe said to Aharon, "Approach the altar, and offer your sin offering, and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself, and for the people; and bring the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as God commanded." (Vayikra 9:6-7)

The promise came to fruition as Moshe and Aharon blessed the people; the result was revelation and ecstasy:

ויקרא פרק ט, כג-כד
וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וַיֵּצְאוּ וַיְבָרֲכוּ אֶת הָעָם וַיֵּרָא כְבוֹד ה’ אֶל כָּל הָעָם: וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי ה’ וַתֹּאכַל עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֶת הָעֹלָה וְאֶת הַחֲלָבִים וַיַּרְא כָּל הָעָם וַיָּרֹנּוּ וַיִּפְּלוּ עַל פְּנֵיהֶם:
And Moshe and Aharon went into the Tent of Meeting, and came out, and blessed the people; and the glory of God appeared to all the people. And there came a fire out from before God, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat; which when all the people saw, they said praise[2], and fell on their faces. (Vayikra 9:23-24)

Perhaps caught up in the holiness of the moment, Nadav and Avihu, two sons of Aharon, proceed to bring even more fire down from heaven:

ויקרא פרק י, א-ב
וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ קְטֹרֶת וַיַּקְרִבוּ לִפְנֵי ה’ אֵשׁ זָרָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּה אֹתָם: וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי ה’ וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם וַיָּמֻתוּ לִפְנֵי ה’:
And Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon, took each of them his censer, and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange fire before God, which he did not commanded them. And fire went out from before God and devoured them, and they died before God. (Vayikra 10:1-2)

Apparently, something went terribly wrong. In a stark reversal, the ecstasy turned to tears, the celebration to mourning, and the anticipated forgiveness to bitter punishment. Two of Aharon’s sons were suddenly dead. While the result of their actions is clear, the significance or cause of their demise is unclear: the Torah seems silent as to the cause of their sudden deaths. Rabbinic literature abounds with possible scenarios, each describing a different but equally terrible sin that was behind this punishment. From the verses themselves, we know that on a purely technical level they had brought an offering that was not called for; specifically, they offered incense which God had not instructed. Interestingly, the Midrash goes to great lengths to limit the scope of their guilt, stressing that their only indiscretion was the bringing of this incense:

מדרש רבה במדבר פרשה ב פסקה כד
בארבעה מקומות הוא מזכיר מיתתן של בני אהרן ומזכיר סורחנן וכל כך למה להודיעך שלא היה עון בידם אלא זה בלבד.
In four places Scripture records both the death of Aharon's sons and their offence as well. And why all this? To inform you that they had no other iniquity to their account except this one alone. (Bamidar Rabbah 2:24)

The Midrash notes that every time the deaths of Nadav and Avihu are mentioned, the Torah never makes a negative value judgment nor does it label them as sinners in a general sense. In fact, the Torah uses the same term, time and again, when describing their deaths: “in front of God”.

מדרש רבה במדבר פרשה ב פסקה כד
אמר רבי אלעזר המודעי צא וראה כמה היא קשה מיתתו של בני אהרן לפני הקב"ה שכל מקום שהוא מזכיר מיתתן מזכיר סורחנן כל כך למה כדי שלא יתן פתחון פה לבאי עולם שלא יהו הבריות אומרים מעשים מקולקלים היה להם בסתר שעל ידי כן מתו וימת נדב ואביהוא לפני ה' א"ר יוחנן וכי לפני ה' מתו אלא מלמד שקשה לפני הקב"ה בשעה שבניהם של צדיקים מסתלקים בחייהם דאביהם בהקריבם אש זרה לפני ה' ר' יוחנן דיפו בעא קומי ר' פנחס בר חמא בשם ר' סימון כאן את אמר לפני ה' לפני ה' ב' פעמים ולהלן את אמר על פני אהרן אביהם פעם אחד אלא מלמד שהוא קשה לפני הקב"ה כפליים מאביהם:
R. Elazar of Modiin said: 'Go forth and see how heavily the death of Aharon's sons weighed upon the Holy One, blessed be He; for on every occasion when He records their death He also records their offence. Why all this? So as not to afford any living being a pretext for maligning them, and so that people might not say that they had been secretly misconducting themselves and had died as a result of this.' "And Nadav and Avihu died before God:" Said R. Yohanan: 'Did they indeed die before God? No; but this teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, is grieved when the children of the righteous depart from this world during the lifetime of their fathers.' "When they offered strange fire before God:" R. Yohanan of Jaffa inquired of R. Pinhas b. Hama, in the name of R. Simon: 'How is it that the phrase "before God" is used twice, while the phrase "before Aharon their father," which you find elsewhere, is used once? It teaches that the grief of the Holy One, blessed be He, was twice as keen as that of their father. (Bamidar Rabbah 2:24)

One of the most basic tenets of our belief is that all of mankind stands "in front of God" at all times: God is Omnipresent. Nonetheless, this phrase, used in this context, connotes a special proximity and intimacy with God. While death is tragic, to die "in front of God" sounds almost tantalizing.[3] And yet, it is this same description, “in front of God,” that caused the Midrash to admonish us to look no further, and not to ascribe any further indiscretion to these two sons of Aharon.[4]

We should note that this same phrase appears in the verses that immediately precede the tragedy; there, too a fire came "from in front of God" – to indicate God's acceptance of the offering.

ויקרא פרק ט, כד
וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי ה’ וַתֹּאכַל עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֶת הָעֹלָה וְאֶת הַחֲלָבִים וַיַּרְא כָּל הָעָם וַיָּרֹנּוּ וַיִּפְּלוּ עַל פְּנֵיהֶם:
And there came a fire out from before God, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat; which when all the people saw, they said praise[5], and fell on their faces. (Vayikra 9:24)

The Mei Shiloch says that their deaths came from an excess of love of God, from an uncontrolled desire for intimacy with God.[6] Rebbi Nachman is quoted as saying that they were carried away by the holiness of the moment: after experiencing the revelation at the convocation of the Mishkan they felt an intense desire to embrace and be consumed by the divine, even though death would surely be the result.[7]

This approach is reminiscent Rashi's explanation of the demise of Ben Azzai, one of the four great scholars who entered pardes. Pardes was a mystical journey undertaken by four of the greatest sages of their time:

עין יעקב על מסכת חגיגה אות יא
תנוּ רַבָּנָן, אַרְבָּעָה נִכְנְסוּ לְפַּרְדֵס, אֵלוּ הֵן, בֶּן עַזַאי, בֶּן זוֹמָא, וְאַחֵר, וְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא. אָמַר לָהֶם רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא, כְּשֶׁתִּכָּנְסוּ אֵצֶל אַבְנֵי שַׁיִשׁ טָהוֹר, הִזָהֲרוּ שֶׁלֹּא תֹּאמְרוּ, מַיִם מַיִם. מִשּׁוּם דִּכְתִיב, (תהלים קא) "דּוֹבֵר שְׁקָרִים לֹא יִכּוֹן לְנֶגֶד עֵינָי". בֶּן עַזַאי - הִצִיץ וַמֵת, וְעָלָיו הָכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר, (תהלים קטז) "יָקָר בְּעֵינֵי ה' הַמַוְתָה לַחֲסִידָיו". בֶּן זוֹמָא - הִצִיץ וְנִפְגָע, עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר, (משלי כה) "דְּבַשׁ מָצָאתָ - אֶכוֹל דַּייךּ, פֶּן תִּשְׂבַּעֶנּוּ וַהֲקֵאֹתוֹ". אַחֵר - קִצֵץ בַּנְטִיעוֹת. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא - [נִכְנָס בְּשָׁלוֹם וְ]יָצָא בָשָׁלוֹם.
Our Rabbis taught: Four men entered Pardes, namely, Ben Azzai and Ben Zoma, Aher, and R. Akiva. R. Akiva said to them: 'When you arrive at the stones of pure marble, do not say, "water, water!" For it is written [Tehilim 101]: "He that speaks falsehood can not be exist before me." Ben Azzai cast a look and died. Of him Scripture says [Tehilim 116]: "Precious in the sight of God is the death of His devout ones." Ben Zoma looked and was struck. Of him Scripture says [Mishlei 25]: "Have you found honey? Eat as much as is sufficient for you, lest you be filled with it, and vomit it." Aher mutilated the shoots. R. Akiva (entered unscathed and) departed unscathed.

Rashi explains the death of Ben Azzai:

רש"י חגיגה דף יד/ב
הציץ - לצד השכינה:
ויקר בעיני ה' המותה לחסידיו - הוקשה מיתתו לפניו לפי שמת בחור, ואף על פי כן אי אפשר שלא ימות משום שנאמר 'כי לא יראני האדם וחי' (שמות לג):
He looked – at the Schechina.
"Precious in the sight of God is the death of His devout ones" – His death was difficult before God, for he died young, nonetheless it was impossible that he not die, for it says [Shmot 33] “For man cannot see Me and live”. (Rashi Talmud Bavli Chagiga 14b)

The implication is that Ben Azzai looked and beheld the Divine Shechina and therefore died, for “man can not see Me and live” – and if he looks – he will die. Ben Azzai, like Nadav and Avihu, beheld the Shechina and could not return to a pedestrian life. The pull of the Divine was like a magnet, too inviting, too intense; return to earthly life from such a spiritual plane is impossible.[8] This was explained to Moshe by God Himself: in the aftermath of the Golden Calf debacle, it seemed that the magnitude of their transgression would lead to the demise of the entire nation, but Moshe implores God, and gains favor and forgiveness for the nation. When Moshe senses that this is a moment of mercy, he seizes the opportunity and asks God:

ספר שמות פרק לג, יח-כג
וַיֹּאמַר הַרְאֵנִי נָא אֶת כְּבֹדֶךָ: וַיֹּאמֶר אֲנִי אַעֲבִיר כָּל טוּבִי עַל פָּנֶיךָ וְקָרָאתִי בְשֵׁם ה’ לְפָנֶיךָ וְחַנֹּתִי אֶת אֲשֶׁר אָחֹן וְרִחַמְתִּי אֶת אֲשֶׁר אֲרַחֵם: וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא תוּכַל לִרְאֹת אֶת פָּנָי כִּי לֹא יִרְאַנִי הָאָדָם וָחָי: וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ הִנֵּה מָקוֹם אִתִּי וְנִצַּבְתָּ עַל הַצּוּר: וְהָיָה בַּעֲבֹר כְּבֹדִי וְשַׂמְתִּיךָ בְּנִקְרַת הַצּוּר וְשַׂכֹּתִי כַפִּי עָלֶיךָ עַד עָבְרִי: וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת כַּפִּי וְרָאִיתָ אֶת אֲחֹרָי וּפָנַי לֹא יֵרָאוּ:
And he said, 'I beg You, show me Your Glory.' And He said, 'I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of God before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.' And he said, 'You can not see My face; for no man shall see Me and live.' And God said, 'Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand upon a rock; And it shall come to pass, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. And I will take away my hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.' (Shmot 33:18-23)

Moshe asks for a higher level of revelation, and is told it would always be incomplete; human beings cannot assimilate a face-to-face encounter with the Divine. Pure spirituality negates the human condition, makes it an impossibility. Moshe learns that there are limits, barriers that will always exist between God and man. But Nadav and Avihu, like Ben Azzai generations later, forge ahead; they seek a greater degree of encounter than is humanly possible. They attempt to see God, to engage God in an impossible rendezvous. They cause the fire to emerge and consume them. Already at Sinai we are told of a near catastrophe, for there were those who looked when they should have averted their eyes.

ספר שמות פרק כד, א; ט-י
וְאֶל משֶׁה אָמַר עֲלֵה אֶל ה’ אַתָּה וְאַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא וְשִׁבְעִים מִזִּקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶם מֵרָחֹק: ... וַיַּעַל משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא וְשִׁבְעִים מִזִּקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: וַיִּרְאוּ אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְתַחַת רַגְלָיו כְּמַעֲשֵׂה לִבְנַת הַסַּפִּיר וּכְעֶצֶם הַשָּׁמַיִם לָטֹהַר: וְאֶל אֲצִילֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ וַיֶּחֱזוּ אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתּוּ:
And he said to Moshe, 'Come up to God, you, and Aharon, Nadav, and Avihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship from far away…' Then Moshe, and Aharon, Nadav, and Avihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up; And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet a kind of paved work of a sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And upon the nobles of the people of Israel He laid not his hand; also they saw God, and ate and drank. (Shmot 24:1,9-11)

רש"י על שמות פרק כד, י
ויראו את אלהי ישראל - נסתכלו והציצו ונתחייבו מיתה אלא שלא רצה הקב"ה לערבב שמחת התורה והמתין לנדב ואביהוא עד יום חנוכת המשכן.
They looked and glanced[9] and were guilty of an offence requiring death, but God did not wish to combine (their deaths) with the joy of the Torah. He waited (to carry out punishment) on Nadav and Avihu until the day of the consecration of the Mishkan. (Rashi, Shmot 24:10)

Here, once again, one of our foremost sages finds that Nadav and Avihu were, in fact, guilty of other transgressions. In this instance, this may be seen not as an additional, unrelated “sin”, but as an earlier incidence of the same transgression: Both at the foot of Mount Sinai and on the day of the consecration of the Mishkan, Nadav and Avihu attempted to see what they should not have seen, boldly going forward when they should have obeyed the boundaries of human experience.

What made them so bold? The details of their biographies may hold the answer. They were scions of an illustrious family, as we know: Their paternal grandparents, Amram and Yocheved, were leaders of the Jewish People in Egypt, and those leadership qualities were passed on to their father's generation, to Moshe, Miriam and Aharon. Their maternal ancestry was also quite impressive: Aharon's wife, Nadav and Avihu's mother, was a woman named Elisheva, and when her marriage to Aharon is recorded, the Torah shares some information that at first glance seems superfluous:

ספר שמות פרק ו, כג
וַיִּקַּח אַהֲרֹן אֶת אֱלִישֶׁבַע בַּת עַמִּינָדָב אֲחוֹת נַחְשׁוֹן לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וַתֵּלֶד לוֹ אֶת נָדָב וְאֶת אֲבִיהוּא אֶת אֶלְעָזָר וְאֶת אִיתָמָר:
And Aharon took Elisheva, daughter of Aminadav, sister of Nachshon, for his wife; and she bore him Nadav, and Avihu, Elazar, and Itamar. (Shmot 6:23)

Elisheva is described not only as her father's daughter but also as her brother's sister. Why is her brother's identity significant? Rashi, who was clearly perturbed by this oddity, illuminates the lesson we learn from this anomaly:

רש"י על שמות פרק ו, כג
אחות נחשון - מכאן למדנו הנושא אשה צריך לבדוק באחיה:
Sister of Nachshon – from here we learn that one who weds a woman should scrutinize (the character) of her brothers. (Rashi, Shmot 6:23)

Nachson was a leading member of the tribe of Yehudah.[10] But he is remembered primarily for boldly jumping into the sea as the Egyptians pursued them, and act which precipitated the splitting of the sea:

תלמוד בבלי מסכת סוטה דף לז עמוד א
אמר לו רבי יהודה: לא כך היה מעשה, אלא זה אומר אין אני יורד תחילה לים וזה אומר אין אני יורד תחילה לים, קפץ נחשון בן עמינדב וירד לים תחילה, שנאמר: )הושע יב) סבבוני בכחש אפרים ובמרמה בית ישראל ויהודה עוד רד עם אל.
R. Yehuda said to [R. Meir]: That is not what happened; but each tribe was unwilling to be the first to enter the sea. Then Nahshon the son of Amminadav sprang forward and descended first into the sea; as it is said (Hoshea 12): "Ephraim encompasses me about with falsehood, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Yehudah yet rules (or, descends) with God." (Talmud Bavli Sotah 37a)

When all the others were afraid to jump into the water, Nachshon had no fear. He was brave and bold, and his faith in God was complete; into the water he leaped. To reward him for his unflinching faith and courage, he was the first tribe leader to bring an offering on the day the Mishkan was consecrated.[11] He was first to step up to the challenge of faith at the banks of the sea, and first to consecrate the Mishkan, first to bring a sacrifice and draw closer to God. Nadav and Avihu, nephews of Nachshon, were no less bold. They, too, hoped to forge ahead, to blaze a new trail to God. At the foot of Mount Sinai, they did not turn away from the Shechina. Once again, on the eighth day of the consecration of the Mishkan, they seek out the Shechina, leaping forward rather than obeying the natural lines of human experience, bringing incense that was not prescribed. They turn toward the Schechina; as a result, God embraces them. They leave behind their human limitations and form, and God takes them.

As readers, we are numb; if all they wanted was spirituality, proximity, intimacy with the Divine, then they got exactly what they wanted. Nonetheless, the result seems somehow unfair, unjust. Their "sin" was that they wanted to engage God, to be in front of God – to grasp the mystery.

And yet, even Moshe, the human being who above all others enjoyed such intimacy and proximity, was denied the very thing Nadav and Avihu sought to take by force. Even Moshe, the greatest prophet of the Jewish People, the man who stood with God for forty days and forty nights, who stepped outside of the physical limitations of the human form – even Moshe accepted the spiritual limitations that are part and parcel of humanity: It is impossible for man to see God’s "face"; humans may see God's “back”. Jewish tradition has always understood this limitation as anthropomorphism, as a metaphor that establishes and elucidates much deeper philosophical truths about human understanding, human experience and spirituality. According to the Talmud[12], what Moshe asked for was an explanation of theodicy, an answer to the age old question of why bad things happen to good people. Clearly, this would require a type of prescience and omniscience that is beyond human abilities – even for Moshe: the “face”, the entire, all-encompassing countenance of the future that provides a unified rationale for all of human history, cannot be seen; all we can see is the “back”. We have the ability to see God's attributes as we look back on human history and understand that God's Hand guided all the seemingly random events of the past.

The Talmud extends this metaphor, connecting it with another mystery of Jewish life: When Moshe saw "God's back", what he saw was the “knot of the tefillin” on the “back of God’s head.”

תלמוד בבלי מסכת ברכות דף ז עמוד א
והסרתי את כפי וראית את אחרי - אמר רב חנא בר ביזנא אמר רבי שמעון חסידא: מלמד שהראה הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה קשר של תפילין.
"And I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back." R. Hama b. Bizna said in the name of R. Simon the Pious: 'This teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed Moshe the knot of the tefillin.' (Talmud Bavli Brachot 7a)

While this seems quite fanciful, a profound lesson lies beneath the surface of the text. tefillin are worn high on the forehead behind the hairline; two straps lie on the chest, one near the right arm, and the other near the left. To the casual observer, it appears that the right side, identified with compassion, and left side, associated with judgment,[13] are independent. This is what might be learned regarding God's attributes if one were to see "God's face": The God of Compassion and the God of Judgment at odds with one another, as it were. Only when we see the knot of the tefillin, on the back of the head, do we realize that what seem to be two distinct attributes, the right and left, compassion and judgment, come from the same place. Although often seemingly independent, presented on two sides, they share a common origin, and are in fact one.[14] Similarly, while we may see Jewish history as a series of random events, while we may be unable to understand the wisdom of God's judgment, while we may not discern the connection between our personal or national history and God's trait of Compassion, this is because we are unable, as limited human beings, to comprehend "God's face." We are, as Jews, given the spiritual capacity to understand "God's back." We are reminded each day, by the knot of the tefillin, that all of God's attributes are a unified whole, and all of human history is guided by His wisdom.

Nadav and Avihu die, as they must. But is this a harsh and exacting judgment? They die precisely where they want to be: in front of God. They are taken – with a kiss and an embrace. Truly, God is one, and his Compassion and Judgment are one; they are intertwined and united.

[1] See Toldot Yitzchak, Vayikra 9:22.
תולדות יצחק ויקרא פרק ט פסוק כד
ותצא אש מלפני יי' ותאכל על המזבח את העולה, ביום השמיני שנתחנך המשכן בקרבנות שבאו לכפר על מעשה העגל, ירדה אש מן השמים לקבל אותם.
[2] Rashi directs us to the Targum who translates vayaronu as praise. The Recanati renders vayaronu "with songs (or praise) like the Levites."
ריקאנטי ויקרא פרק ט פסוק כד
וטעם וירא כל העם וירונו, בשירת הלוים, ועל כן תקנו [במנחה לשבת] יצחק ירנן.    
[3] The Megaleh Amukot, Parshat Vetchanan, aspect 90, says that they died "by God's kiss"; this description also highlights their proximity and intimacy with God at the moment of their death.
ספר מגלה עמוקות על ואתחנן - אופן צ
נדב ואביהו מתו בנשיקה, בסוד וימותו לפני ה'.
[4] Presumably those commentaries who take this Midrash into account yet nonetheless point to any number of shortcomings as the reasons for the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, are trying to explain the underlying cause that led them to bring the "foreign fire".
[5] Rashi directs us to the Targum who translates vayaronu as praise. The Recanati says with songs (or praise) like the Levites.
ריקאנטי ויקרא פרק ט פסוק כד
וטעם וירא כל העם וירונו, בשירת הלוים, ועל כן תקנו [במנחה לשבת] יצחק ירנן.    
[6] Mei Shiloch Acharei Mot.
ספר מי השילוח - פרשת אחרי
ויהי אחרי מות שני בני אהרן כו', דבר אל אהרן ואל יבא בכל עת כו', פי' בכל עת כמו בכל אוות נפשיך, היינו אחר שראית כי כל קדושת נדב ואביהו לא הצילם מגוון חטא בקרבתם לפני ה' כי הי' בעומקם תגבורת אהבה יותר מיראה,

[7] Likutei Halachot Hilchot nitilat yadayim l’seuda law 6.
ספר ליקוטי הלכות - הלכות נטילת ידים לסעודה ובציעת הפת הלכה ו
 אבל אף - על - פי שקטרת גבה כל כך גם בו סם המות נתון בתוכו שבו נשרפו נדב ואביהוא שפגמו גם - כן בכלליות הזה מרבוי קדשתם העצומה מאד. בחינת בקרבתם לפני ה' וימתו. אבל אף - על - פי - כן פגמו מאד, כי עלו למעלה מעלה שלא ברשות ולא רצו להוריד עצמן למטה להמשיך הדעת מדור לדור. בבחינת חליפות הנ"ל. שזהו בחינת בגין דלא אנסיבו. וכמו שכתוב, ובנים לא היה להם. כי עקר ההתקשרות הנ"ל. הוא בסוד יחוד איש ואשה בקדשה שמשם המשכת כל הדורות שהם החליפות. והם סברו שיכולין להקטיר קטרת בלא תקון וכו'. על - כן מתו.

[8] The comments of the Maharsha to Chagiga 14b explain how Ben Azzai was enticed to proceed further than the others, yet he stops short of saying that Ben Azzai actually beheld the Shechina; that would imply that Ben Azzai was on a greater level than Moshe.
מהרש"א על חגיגה דף יד/ב
ובספר ישן מצאתי וז"ל נכנסו לפרדס החכמה והיא חכמת אלהות בן עזאי הציץ ומת מתוך שדבקה נפשו באהבה רבה דבקות אמתי בדברים עליונים שהם יסודה והציץ באור הזהיר נתפרדה מן הגוף ונתפשטה מכל מקרי הגוף באותה שעה ראתה מנוחה כי טוב ולא שבה עוד למקומה וזו מעלה גדולה ע"כ נאמר יקר בעיני ה' גו' ולא כדברי המפרשים שראה שכינה ומת שנאמר כי לא יראני האדם וחי דאם כן עשיתם בן עזאי גדול ממשה רבינו עליו השלום.
[9] The word hititz is also found regarding Ben Azzai see Liquity Halachat Hichot Nedarim law 3.
ספר ליקוטי הלכות - הלכות נדרים הלכה ג
ובן עזאי ובן זומא היו צדיקים נוראים גדולים במעלה מאד, אבל פגמו בענין זה איזה שגיאה כל שהוא. ועל - כן זה הציץ ונפגע וזה הציץ ומת. ולשון הציץ הוא שהסתכלו יותר מדאי שזהו בחינת פגם נדב ואביהוא שנאמר בהם, בקרבתם לפני ה' וכו', שרצו להתקרב יותר מדאי ועברו על פן יהרסו וכו' כנ"ל. וזה שאמרו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה שהפגם של נדב ואביהוא וכן של בן עזאי ובן זומא היה שלא היו נשואים נשים, דהינו שלא רצו להשתדל לעסק בישוב העולם להשאיר דעתם הנורא למטה, כי סברו שצריכין להיות רק למעלה, אבל באמת אינו כן כנ"ל.:

[10] Bamidbar 1:7, 7:12, 10:14, Ruth 4:20.
[11] See Bamidbar 7:12, andRashi Vayikra 10:16,
במדבר פרק ז, יב
וַיְהִי הַמַּקְרִיב בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן אֶת קָרְבָּנוֹ נַחְשׁוֹן בֶּן עַמִּינָדָב לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה:
רש"י ויקרא פרק י, טז
שעיר החטאת - שעיר מוספי ראש חודש. ושלשה שעירי חטאות קרבו בו ביום שעיר עזים, ושעיר נחשון ושעיר ראש חודש, ומכולן לא נשרף אלא זה. ונחלקו בדבר חכמי ישראל יש אומרים, מפני הטומאה שנגעה בו נשרף. ויש אומרים, מפני אנינות נשרף, לפי שהוא קדשי דורות, אבל בקדשי שעה סמכו על משה שאמר להם במנחה (פסוק יב) ואכלוה מצות:
[12] Talmud Bavli Brachot 7a. The Talmud debates weather this request was granted.
[13] See Mishna Breurah 4:22.
משנה ברורה סימן ד, כב
ונותנו - כדי שיתגבר ימין שהוא חסד על שמאל שהוא דין.
[14] See Pri Etz Chaim, Shaar Tefilin chapter 2.
ספר פרי עץ חיים - שער התפילין - פרק ב
הנה אח"כ נמשכין ממנה ב' רצועות, והם ח"ג, ומקיפין הראש, ונמשכין עד אחורי הראש, ושם אנו עושין קשר א', שהוא סוד התפארת, כי בו הוא קשור הכל כנודע, ואז נרשמת בו המלכות.

1 comment:

依政琦萍 said...

When everything is coming your way, you are in the wrong lane.............................................