Saturday, April 14, 2007
Nadav and Avihu - According to Likutei Halachos
Rebbe Noson speaks about the true meaning of the sin of Nadav and Avihu, when they brought the strange fire of Ketores in Parshas Shemini. I got this from Likutei Halachos Piriya V'riviya 3:6 and 2, as quoted in the Likutei Halachos Chumash published by Ha'aish Sheli Tukad Ad Bias Hamoshiach. (Avakesh has an interesting methodology to learning this sugya here)
Rebbe Noson brings down the Zohar that says that the underlying reason why their offering of Ketores/incense was not accepted as being because, "D'lo insivu," they weren't married. The reason why they didn't get married was not because they were wild bachelors, but rather because they were great, exceedingly holy, and awesome Tzadikim, and they wanted to be in constant deveikus with Hashem. And this is somewhat difficult when one is married and has to care for his family, drive carpool, and pick up groceries.
He explains that the deeper meaning of getting married is going down into the depths of the physicality of daily life and sadness, and lift it up to the joy of avodas Hashem. This is the deeper meaning of marriage. It is also the deeper meaning of Ketores/incense. Ketores is the holiest of all of the korbanos because it ascends up to Shamayim. But the only reason it is able to do that is because it contains the Cheblena, the foul smelling spice that represents those Jewish people who are low and lacking mitzvos and ma'asim tovim. It is able to rise up to Hashem specifically because it lowers it's self down to pick up and include within the the Chelbena, which represents the lowest of the Jewish people, and bring them along with the rest of the sweet-smelling spices up to Hashem in a holy fire.
Therefore, Nadav and Avihu who never got married because they didn't want to step down for a minute to bring others up to Hashem with them, were unequipped to attain the closeness with Hashem that comes as part of offering the Ketores, since they did not possess the mida of the Ketores, which is to descend to the depths to bring up those who are low, closer to Hashem together with them.
May you and I merit to learn the lessons of this parsha and not only strive to get closer to Hashem ourselves, but not be selfish, and bring our wives, children, and friends with us, in a way of sweetness.