The fast way
Parsha and its fulfillment - Parashat Tzav - Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald - 5769
In the midst of the great joy at the construction of the Mishkan, a great tragedy is happening: The death of Nadav and Avihu, Aharon’s two sons. Nadav and Avihu were supreme saints who had never sinned in their lives: "R. Yirmiya b. Elazar said: The death of Aharon’s sons is mentioned in four places, and in every one of them their offence is also mentioned. Why all this? To inform you that they were guilty of no other iniquity but this one alone”. (Vayikra Rabbah 20: 8).
“Moses here said to Aaron: “My brother, Aaron! I knew that this House was to be sanctified by those who are beloved of the Omnipresent G-d and I thought it would be either through me or through thee; now I see that these (thy sons who have died) are greater than me and than thee!” (Rashi Vayikra 10:3 from Vayikra Rabbah 12: 2).
If so, what caused their death before time?! Scripture connects their death "and they offered before Hashem alien fire, which He had not enjoined upon them" (Vayikra 10: 1).
However, "in the essence of this sin there are many opinions” (ibid Kli Yakar). One of them is presented in the Gemara: "מאי טעמא איענוש? - כדתניא, רבי אליעזר אומר: לא מתו בני אהרן אלא על שהורו הלכה בפני משה רבן". "Rather, what is the reason? The Gemara answers: They were not punished for their entry into the sacred place but for a different reason, as it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer says: Aaron’s sons died only because they taught a halakha before Moses their teacher" (Yoma 53a).
The sages in the Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 20: 8-10) enumerated different and additional sins that raise the question: "May we burden these holy martyrs with more sins than it is written?" (Haemek Davar.) What practical lesson did the Sages want to teach us from the many sins they mentioned?
There seems to be a common psychological denominator and an idea that binds all of them. As a psychic principle of measure that may bring about all the sins we counted. Young 'fire', it has a power of fresh renewal and enthusiasm. It has the ability to generate great revolutions. Conquer expanses and climb to peaks. But there is also a great risk of breaking frames and wanting to achieve everything here and now.
Nadav and Avihu were then, less than twenty years old. “And it had already happened that Moses and Aaron were walking on their way, and Nadav and Avihu were walking behind them, and the entire Jewish people were walking behind them. Nadav said to Avihu: When will it happen that these two old men will die and you and I will lead the generation, as we are their heirs? (Sanhedrin 52a).
The young Nadav and Avihu want to lead here and now. They believed in their way and their advantage in understanding reality more than the senior and elderly. They saw themselves as representing the young and vibrant generation, against Moses and Aaron, who represent the leadership of the moderate old men whose judgment may be perceived as with fatigue and lack of enthusiasm.
In their view, the young leadership may succeed where the leadership of the elderly has difficulty. They have no patience to learn, to gain experience, and to move forward. They lack the appropriate experience in assuming the heavy responsibility of the leadership, which leads to examining everything in all its aspects and possible outcomes with consideration and moderation. This is usually found in veteran experienced and responsible elderly. The seriousness and responsibility of the elders and the experience they have accumulated leads to moderation, patience, coolness and judgment. They are experienced enough to realize that many times you cannot expect success of everything, here and now! That patience and measured progress is required. This leadership is sometimes perceived as "Parve", worn off and tired and has ‘nothing to sell’!
The Gemara there also mentions the Divine decision: " The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them: We shall see who buries whom?” "Rav Pappa says: This explains the adage that people say: Many are the old camels that are loaded with the skins of young camels. (ibid)
The parable: Inexperienced young men hurry. Sometimes they break ahead prematurely and fail. The price may be paid by the public, and veteran leaders have to bear the consequences on their shoulders and try to correct.
In recent times, this phenomenon has come back in the field of public and religious leadership. Those who hastened their way to the top of the public leadership without public experience and without a suitable life experience. And those who are in a hurry to lead and issue rulings to the public as opposed to accepted practice. " they taught halakha before their teacher", and contrary to the opinion of leading, veteran and experienced poskim, who bear responsibility and understand the peripheral aspects of each ruling. There are those who learned in their flesh and blood: אַבְטַלְיוֹן אוֹמֵר, חֲכָמִים, הִזָּהֲרוּ בְדִבְרֵיכֶם Avtalyon says, "Sages, be careful with your words, (Pirkei Avot 1:11). Don’t let them understand your words wrongly, like what happened to Antigonus Ish Soho. "The wise man" knows his place "(Pirkei Avot 6:6).
That he knows the value of his superiorities and his inferiorities, and he will not say his explanation to those who are wiser than him. חָכָם אֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר בִּפְנֵי מִי שֶׁהוּא גָדוֹל מִמֶּנּוּ בְחָכְמָה וּבְמִנְיָן, “A wise man does not speak in front of someone who is greater than him in wisdom or in number (Pirkei Avot 5:7) As we learned in our Parasha from Eleazar and Itamar, Moses was angry with them, and Aaron replied, and not them".
We need a suitable combination of young people and experienced veterans. Thus, with appropriate patience, young people will also grow up to their jobs. הִנֵּ֤ה אָֽנֹכִי֙ שֹׁלֵ֣חַ לָכֶ֔ם אֵ֖ת אֵלִיָּ֣ה הַנָּבִ֑יא לִפְנֵ֗י בּ֚וֹא י֣וֹם ה הַגָּד֖וֹל וְהַנּוֹרָֽא׃
וְהֵשִׁ֤יב לֵב־אָבוֹת֙ עַל־בָּנִ֔ים וְלֵ֥ב בָּנִ֖ים עַל־אֲבוֹתָ֑ם
“Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of Hashem. He shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents”. The stormy spirit of youth, awakening with courage and heroism, with the orderly old spirit, full of seriousness and caution, together join in association to act in life, both spiritual and material, to hasten salvation and become the basis for G-d”. (Shmonah Kvatzim 6:265)