~ Why, in your opinion, does the Torah say that God spoke directly to Aharon after the death of his two sons, Nadav and Avihu?
Death is the dark backing that a mirror needs if we are to see anything.
(1) Now Aaron’s sons Nadav and Avihu each took his fire pan, put fire in it, and laid incense on it; and they offered before the LORD alien fire, which He had not enjoined upon them. (2) And fire came forth from the LORD and consumed them; thus they died at the instance of the LORD.
(ג) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֜ה אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן הוּא֩ אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֨ר ה' ׀ לֵאמֹר֙ בִּקְרֹבַ֣י אֶקָּדֵ֔שׁ וְעַל־פְּנֵ֥י כָל־הָעָ֖ם אֶכָּבֵ֑ד וַיִּדֹּ֖ם אַהֲרֹֽן׃
(3) Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD meant when He said: Through those near to Me I show Myself holy, And gain glory before all the people.” And Aaron was silent.
Six months ago - 4th November 2018 - the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue where 11 souls were slaughtered. When we learned about them, we also learned about how each was a supporter and a giver to their community, each in their own capacity and ability.
And now we learned about another attack, last Shabbat, which claimed the life of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, z"l, or Leah Bat Reuven. And here are a few things that were said about her:
Audrey Jacobs (on Facebook)
"Lori you were a jewel of our community a true Eshet Chayil, a Woman of Valor. You were always running to do a mitzvah (good deed) and gave tzedaka (charity) to everyone. Your final good deed was taking the bullets for Rabbi Mendel Goldstein to save his life"
Hannah Kaye (her daughter)
“Everyone was her sister, everyone was her trusted confidante,”
“Everyone was her friend.”
The Times of Israel
Lori Kaye was known to drive hours to visit a sick friend.
She bought six months’ worth of medication for someone without insurance. She left her freshly baked challah in mail boxes and on doorsteps all over town and would buy extra bagels and coffee during her morning routine to be able to give them away, her family and friends said.
Her mission was to help others enjoy life, just as she did and she gave to numerous charities.
We can understand Aharon: he says nothing, there's nothing to say face tragedy. But we can understand what God wants: actions. Small actions speak volumes about our character. Whether we visit a friend who is sick, whether we donate our time to our shul and our community, whether we volunteer to hold the torch and pass it to the next generation.
Rabbi Claude Vecht-Wolf is the one who remarked: Both of Aharon's sons and Lori died in a holy place - a Mikdash - a shul. When they were closest to God. In dying, they were sanctified to God. Lori lived 60 years among us, and we can learn by her example, both last Shabbat and in the 60 years prior.
On Thursday, we commemorated Yom Hashoah, when we lost six million of our people.
Like Aaron, we could have remained silent, and many of the survivors did, during the years immediately following their liberation, recovery and reintroduction to typical life. But after a while, in varying degrees, they chose to speak. And our people too, in the decades since the Shoah, could have decided to remain silent, but we didn't. We have chosen to remember each and every one of the victims, year after year after year.
This week, we won’t be silent when we talk about Lori - Leah bat Reuven.
One of the questions brought up in our reading is the function of the rituals of Yom Kippur, which if you looked closely, have to do with the purifying of the altar and the Ohel Moed, the tent of meeting. In verse 16, we have an interesting idea: God's presence, which reveals itself in the tent of meeting, is abiding there despite the impurities brought by the sins of the children of Israel. Actions are not merely actions, that happen and disappear. They leave energy behind, and according to the actions so is the energy. In the case of sins, we are talking about a dark sort of energy, translated into the words impurity and uncleanness, in Hebrew, Tu'mah.
Now Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav has a very interesting idea, a general overview of the essence of our souls, that I believe connects both with our difficult week and with a larger view of our purpose as Jews.
The initial reason for Creation was in order to reveal His attribute of Malkhut (Kingship). However, the illumination of <the Blessed One’s> Light was so great that nothing could contain <it>. Thus it was necessary to contract it within the worlds, <level after level until this world of corporeality>. This is the meaning of “Your kingdom is a malkhut for all OLaMim (ages)” (Psalms 145:13)—i.e., that the attribute of Malkhut <had to be> clothed within the OLaMot (worlds) in order that we might be able to receive <it>. Still, there was no one to accept the yoke of His Kingship. The souls of the Jewish people therefore <went forth>, so that they might accept upon themselves the yoke of His Malkhut, because there is no king unless there are subjects.
(יג) רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי זָהִיר בַּתַּלְמוּד, שֶׁשִּׁגְגַת תַּלְמוּד עוֹלָה זָדוֹן. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁלשָׁה כְתָרִים הֵם, כֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה וְכֶתֶר כְּהֻנָּה וְכֶתֶר מַלְכוּת, וְכֶתֶר שֵׁם טוֹב עוֹלֶה עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן:
Rabbi Shimon says: There are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood and the crown of monarchy - but the crown of a good name outweighs them all.