2 And fire came forth from Hashem and consumed them; thus they died at the instance of Hashem.
ב וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם וַיָּמֻתוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה׃
10:3 Through those near to Me I show Myself holy
The death of Aharon’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, occurs in the midst of the joyous inauguration ceremony of the Mishkan. The Sages explain that they are so moved by the closeness they feel to Hashem at this moment of revelation, that Nadav and Avihu desire to get even closer with an offering of their own which they bring in the Holy of Holies. Though their intentions are pure, the offering is unauthorized and the entry into the Holy sanctuary forbidden, so they are punished. Their desire for closeness is reflected in Moshe’s words to Aharon, “Through those near to Me I show Myself holy.” Nadav and Avihu are indeed close to God, but this closeness does not allow them to bend the rules. By punishing those who were closest to Him, God’s name is sanctified, as He teaches the important lesson that the everyone, even those who are most powerful and respected, must be held to the same standard.2 comments
5 They came forward and carried them out of the camp by their tunics, as Moshe had ordered.
ה וַיִּקְרְבוּ וַיִּשָּׂאֻם בְּכֻתֳּנֹתָם אֶל־מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה׃
6 And Moshe said to Aharon and to his sons Elazar and Itamar, “Do not bare your heads and do not rend your clothes, lest you die and anger strike the whole community. But your kinsmen, all the house of Yisrael, shall bewail the burning that Hashem has wrought.
7 And so do not go outside the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, lest you die, for Hashem’s anointing oil is upon you.” And they did as Moshe had bidden.
ז וּמִפֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֹא תֵצְאוּ פֶּן־תָּמֻתוּ כִּי־שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת יְהוָה עֲלֵיכֶם וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כִּדְבַר מֹשֶׁה׃
9 Drink no wine or other intoxicant, you or your sons, when you enter the Tent of Meeting, that you may not die. This is a law for all time throughout the ages,
ט יַיִן וְשֵׁכָר אַל־תֵּשְׁתְּ אַתָּה וּבָנֶיךָ אִתָּךְ בְּבֹאֲכֶם אֶל־אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְלֹא תָמֻתוּ חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם׃
10 for you must distinguish between the sacred and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean;
י וּלֲהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הַקֹּדֶשׁ וּבֵין הַחֹל וּבֵין הַטָּמֵא וּבֵין הַטָּהוֹר׃
11 and you must teach the Israelites all the laws which Hashem has imparted to them through Moshe.
יא וּלְהוֹרֹת אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵת כָּל־הַחֻקִּים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֲלֵיהֶם בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁה׃
12 Moshe spoke to Aharon and to his remaining sons, Elazar and Itamar: Take the meal offering that is left over from Hashem’s offerings by fire and eat it unleavened beside the mizbayach, for it is most holy.
13 You shall eat it in the sacred precinct, inasmuch as it is your due, and that of your children, from Hashem’s offerings by fire; for so I have been commanded.
יג וַאֲכַלְתֶּם אֹתָהּ בְּמָקוֹם קָדֹשׁ כִּי חָקְךָ וְחָק־בָּנֶיךָ הִוא מֵאִשֵּׁי יְהוָה כִּי־כֵן צֻוֵּיתִי׃
14 But the breast of elevation offering and the thigh of gift offering you, and your sons and daughters with you, may eat in any clean place, for they have been assigned as a due to you and your children from the Israelites’ sacrifices of well-being.
יד וְאֵת חֲזֵה הַתְּנוּפָה וְאֵת שׁוֹק הַתְּרוּמָה תֹּאכְלוּ בְּמָקוֹם טָהוֹר אַתָּה וּבָנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ אִתָּךְ כִּי־חָקְךָ וְחָק־בָּנֶיךָ נִתְּנוּ מִזִּבְחֵי שַׁלְמֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
15 Together with the fat of fire offering, they must present the thigh of gift offering and the breast of elevation offering, which are to be elevated as an elevation offering before Hashem, and which are to be your due and that of your children with you for all time—as Hashem has commanded.
טו שׁוֹק הַתְּרוּמָה וַחֲזֵה הַתְּנוּפָה עַל אִשֵּׁי הַחֲלָבִים יָבִיאוּ לְהָנִיף תְּנוּפָה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וְהָיָה לְךָ וּלְבָנֶיךָ אִתְּךָ לְחָק־עוֹלָם כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה׃
17 “Why did you not eat the sin offering in the sacred area? For it is most holy, and He has given it to you to remove the guilt of the community and to make expiation for them before Hashem.
יז מַדּוּעַ לֹא־אֲכַלְתֶּם אֶת־הַחַטָּאת בִּמְקוֹם הַקֹּדֶשׁ כִּי קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים הִוא וְאֹתָהּ נָתַן לָכֶם לָשֵׂאת אֶת־עֲוֺן הָעֵדָה לְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיהֶם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה׃
18 Since its blood was not brought inside the sanctuary, you should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.”
יח הֵן לֹא־הוּבָא אֶת־דָּמָהּ אֶל־הַקֹּדֶשׁ פְּנִימָה אָכוֹל תֹּאכְלוּ אֹתָהּ בַּקֹּדֶשׁ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוֵּיתִי׃
19 And Aharon spoke to Moshe, “See, this day they brought their sin offering and their burnt offering before Hashem, and such things have befallen me! Had I eaten sin offering today, would Hashem have approved?”
יט וַיְדַבֵּר אַהֲרֹן אֶל־מֹשֶׁה הֵן הַיּוֹם הִקְרִיבוּ אֶת־חַטָּאתָם וְאֶת־עֹלָתָם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וַתִּקְרֶאנָה אֹתִי כָּאֵלֶּה וְאָכַלְתִּי חַטָּאת הַיּוֹם הַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה׃
20 And when Moshe heard this, he approved.
כ וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו׃