The Torah tells us that Nadav and Avihu died during the joyous dedication ceremony of the Mishkan. After a heavenly fire descended and consumed the sacrificial offerings, revealing the Divine Presence, the verse states that these two of Aharon’s sons “offered before Hashem alien fire, which He had not enjoined upon them” (Leviticus 10:1). The severe consequence of this act was that they were then consumed as well, also by heavenly fire. The Netziv suggests that their motivation for bringing the forbidden fire was the closeness that they felt to God at the moment of revelation; they were so overcome with this feeling that they desired to get even closer with an offering of their own, which they brought into the Holy of Holies. Though their intentions were pure, the offering was unauthorized and entry into the Holy sanctuary was forbidden, so they were punished. Nadav and Avihu were indeed close to God, as Moshe says of them “Through those near to Me I show Myself holy, and gain glory before all the people” (Leviticus 10:3), but such closeness does not grant a license to bend the rules. Nadav and Avihu teach us that holy places must be approached with awe and trepidation, and that holy people are held to a higher standard. One of the lessons for our generation is that the Children of Israel, living in the Land of Israel, must be especially careful to respect its sanctity and to behave in a way that will bring glory to God’s name.1 comment
6 Shemaya son of Nathanel, the scribe, who was of the Leviim, registered them under the eye of the king, the officers, and Tzadok the Kohen, and Achimelech son of Evyatar, and the chiefs of clans of the Kohanim and Leviim—one clan more taken for Elazar for each one taken of Itamar.
7 The first lot fell on Jehoiarib; the second on Jedaiah;
ז וַיֵּצֵא הַגּוֹרָל הָרִאשׁוֹן לִיהוֹיָרִיב לִידַעְיָה הַשֵּׁנִי׃
8 the third on Harim; the fourth on Seorim;
ח לְחָרִם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי לִשְׂעֹרִים הָרְבִעִי׃
9 the fifth on Malchijah; the sixth on Mijamin;
ט לְמַלְכִּיָּה הַחֲמִישִׁי לְמִיָּמִן הַשִּׁשִּׁי׃
10 the seventh on Hakkoz; the eighth on Aviya;
י לְהַקּוֹץ הַשְּׁבִעִי לַאֲבִיָּה הַשְּׁמִינִי׃
יא לְיֵשׁוּעַ הַתְּשִׁעִי לִשְׁכַנְיָהוּ הָעֲשִׂרִי׃
12 the eleventh on Elyashiv; the twelfth on Jakim;
יב לְאֶלְיָשִׁיב עַשְׁתֵּי עָשָׂר לְיָקִים שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר׃
13 the thirteenth on Huppah; the fourteenth on Jeshebeab;
יג לְחֻפָּה שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר לְיֶשֶׁבְאָב אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר׃
14 the fifteenth on Bilgah; the sixteenth on Immer;
יד לְבִלְגָּה חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר לְאִמֵּר שִׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר׃
15 the seventeenth on Hezir; the eighteenth on Happizzez;
טו לְחֵזִיר שִׁבְעָה עָשָׂר לְהַפִּצֵּץ שְׁמוֹנָה עָשָׂר׃
16 the nineteenth on Pethahiah; the twentieth on Jehezkel;
טז לִפְתַחְיָה תִּשְׁעָה עָשָׂר לִיחֶזְקֵאל הָעֶשְׂרִים׃
17 the twenty-first on Jachin; the twenty-second on Gamul;
יז לְיָכִין אֶחָד וְעֶשְׂרִים לְגָמוּל שְׁנַיִם וְעֶשְׂרִים׃
18 the twenty-third on Delaiah; the twenty-fourth on Maaziah.
יח לִדְלָיָהוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים לְמַעַזְיָהוּ אַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים׃
20 The remaining Leviim: the sons of Amram: Shubael; the sons of Shubael: Jehdeiah;
21 Rehabiah. The sons of Rehabiah: Isshiah, the chief.
כא לִרְחַבְיָהוּ לִבְנֵי רְחַבְיָהוּ הָרֹאשׁ יִשִּׁיָּה׃
22 Izharites: Shelomoth. The sons of Shelomoth: Jahath
כב לַיִּצְהָרִי שְׁלֹמוֹת לִבְנֵי שְׁלֹמוֹת יָחַת׃
23 and Benai, Jeriah; the second, Amariah; the third, Yachaziel; the fourth, Jekameam.
כג וּבְנָי יְרִיָּהוּ אֲמַרְיָהוּ הַשֵּׁנִי יַחֲזִיאֵל הַשְּׁלִישִׁי יְקַמְעָם הָרְבִיעִי׃
25 The brother of Micha: Isshiah. The sons of Isshiah: Zecharya.
כה אֲחִי מִיכָה יִשִּׁיָּה לִבְנֵי יִשִּׁיָּה זְכַרְיָהוּ׃
26 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Jaazaiah, his son—
כו בְּנֵי מְרָרִי מַחְלִי וּמוּשִׁי בְּנֵי יַעֲזִיָּהוּ בְנוֹ׃
27 the sons of Merari by Jaazaiah his son: Shoham, Zakkur, and Ibri.
כז בְּנֵי מְרָרִי לְיַעֲזִיָּהוּ בְנוֹ וְשֹׁהַם וְזַכּוּר וְעִבְרִי׃
30 The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Leviim by their clans.
ל וּבְנֵי מוּשִׁי מַחְלִי וְעֵדֶר וִירִימוֹת אֵלֶּה בְּנֵי הַלְוִיִּם לְבֵית אֲבֹתֵיהֶם׃
31 These too cast lots corresponding to their kinsmen, the sons of Aharon, under the eye of King David and Tzadok and Achimelech and the chiefs of the clans of the Kohanim and Leviim, on the principle of “chief and youngest brother alike.”