(16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moshe Acharei Mos Shenei Benei Aharon Be'Korvasam Lifnei-HashemVayamusu-Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharons two sons who brought an offering before Hashem and they died.”
The Parsha deals with the death of Aharon's two sons plus the Sa'er L'Azozel - The Scapegoat. There seems to be a connection between the two that is more than just the proximity of the subjects. The sacrifice made on Yom Kippur required two goats. One for Hashem the other for the Azozel. Similarly there were two sacrifices of Aharon's two sons Nadav and Avihu. In a sense they too were scapegoats in that when Moshe was comforting his brother he told him that he knew there would have to be a sacrifice of a life but he thought it would be himself and his brother. But he now sees that Nadav and Avihu were even greater than they. He said that is what Hashem meant when he said "B'Krovay Akodesh-With my close ones I will be sanctified." The words "B'Krovay Akodesh"have a numerical value of 725. The same as the words Sa'er L'Azozel.
(16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moshe Acharei Mos Shenei Benei Aharon Be'Korvasam Lifnei-HashemVayamusu-Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon’s two sons who brought an offering before Hashem and they died.”
This verse seems to be a bit redundant. Acharei Mos, means Vayamusu? It seems as though we are speaking here of two deaths. The first when the fire appeared and consumed their souls. The second is the fact they died childless. Not having anyone to carry on their heritage meant that their eternal life had come to an end.
The Parsha begins by telling us a new reason for the death of Nadav and Avihu. Before it was the strange fire here it doesn't mention this but rather the fact that they approached Hashem. The two Posukim would seem to contradict each other. R.Akiva says the contradiction is resolved by a third Posuk in Bamidbar which says “they offered a strange fire before Hashem” (26:61), this teaches us that it was the offering not the illegal entry that caused their death. The Chachomim say that the sins of Nadav and Avihu were that they didn't marry. They wanted to devote their entire life, body and soul to serving Hashem. “Bekirvasam Lifnei Hashem”. They wanted to be close to Hashem. They wanted to be separated from the normal way of life ie. marriage. But by doing this they would abstain from doing the first mitzvah of Pru Urevu. Therefore they were punished. A righteous person does not have to separate himself from the rest of the world. The Torah teaches us to elevate the physical world and make it holy.
(16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moshe- (16:2) "Vayomer Hashem el Moshe" Vayidabaer is an expression of harshness, while Vayomer is a softer expression. The first is harsh for after witnessing the punishment of death a very serious dialogue takes place. Vayomer, a softer expression is used to console Aharon after the tremendous loss of two of his sons.
The Ohr Ha'Chaim explains that there are several questions relating to the first Posuk of this Parsha. Why does the Posuk say “Shenei Benei Aaron” instead of calling them by name? What is the connection to their deaths and the fact that this week’s Parsha deals with the service of Yom Kippur? And why does it say the word “Vayamusu-and they died” after it had already said that we are speaking after the deaths of Aaron's two sons? He answers that all of this relates to the fact that Aaron was not totally forgiven for his part in the Chet of the Eigel. When Moshe prayed for Aaron the effect was that two of his son's were spared. But two of his son's were destined to die. This is why they are called Aaron's two sons. The fact that there was still a residue of Aaron's involvement with the Eigel caused that Hashem removed his protection from his pious ones enabling them to stumble. This would also explain why Aaron was not previously commanded regarding not entering the Kodshe Kodshim at any time until here. Aaron had not yet been qualified to enter the inner sanctum of Hashem until the atonement that the death of his two sons brought. This could be the meaning of the Posuk (16:3) “Bezos Yavo Aaron el-Hakodesh-With this shall Aaron enter into the Holy.” Only after removing any of the residual guilt through these deaths could Aaron now be permitted to enter the Kodshe Kodshim.
How is it that Hashem chose this day to take their lives, a day of tremendous Simcha for Klal Yisroel? It was Aaron's sin-offering on the eighth day of the consecration of the Mikdosh that was the final rehabilitation of the sin. Now there could be this connection to the Avodah of Yom Kippur which was the day that the Chet Ha'Eigel was actually forgiven.
There is a Midrash that explains how Nadav and Avuhu entered the Holy of Holies without even consulting each other. The question is why should they have had to consult each other? We don't see this by any other Mitzvah? This was actually another one of their sins. We know that when the Kohen Gadol enters the Holy of Holies he must enter alone. No one is permitted to be there when he enters. Nadav and Avuhu both entered because they did not consult one another. Neither one knew what the other was about to do. This is an important factor. They had heard what Hashem told Moshe regarding the Mishkon. They knew that Hashem wanted to sanctify His name by taking one of his closest one's. They all assumed it would be either Moshe or Aaron. In order not to lose such great leaders they both decided to give up their own lives instead. One of them would have been enough. But since they didn't consult each other they were both taken.
(16:2) “Vayomer Hashem el-Moshe Dabaer el-Aharon Achicha V’Al Yovoh B’chol-Aise el-Hakodesh.” Hashem tells Moshe to tell Aaron, right after the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, not to come into the Kodshe Kodshim whenever he wished. This is the Parsha of the Avodah of Yom Kippur. Many Siddurim have this mentioned by the prayers of Yom Kippur. There is a reason why this Avodah is brought here, by the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. It has to do with Kaporas Aveiros. But in Parshas Shimini where the incident is originally recorded it gives several reasons as to what their sin was. They did an act that was not commanded, they drank wine before bringing the Korban, they refused to get married, they decided Halacha before their Rebbe, they walked behind Moshe and Aaron saying when will these two die so that we can replace them and of course the strange fire. How can it be that two such great people, as they apparently were, could have so many Aveirous? In fact Moshe had told Aaron that this is what Hashem told me that He would be sanctified through His holy ones. Which Moshe thought was to be either himself or Aaron. But it seems that they were even greater than them! We have learned that when Moshe went up to Har Sinai Aaron and the 70 elders stayed behind. But they could remain at a level much higher than the rest of Klal Yisroel. And Nadav and Avihu were mentioned there too. So we see that they were on a very high Madrege. They experienced a certain revelation at that time which we can't even comprehend.
Perhaps we can say that what Nadav and Avihu were trying to do was to correct the original sin of Adam. Klal Yisroel had attained this level of Adam before the Chet, when they stood at Har Sinai. But the Chet of the Eigel put an end to that. Nadav and Avihu were not involved in the Chet of the Eigel. They were still on the level of Naseh Venishma, where they were compelled to act without asking. To act instinctively out of the tremendous love that flowed from their witnessing the inauguration of the Mikdosh. They wished to take Klal Yisroel to the next level. This might explain all of the above difficulties. Why they said “When will these two die so that we can replace them.” They wanted to divest their generation from the past, from a physical existence. Why they took wine - to be able to transcend the physical, and why they refused to marry.
The Chidushe HaRim explains that when a person does a Mitzvah with total devotion his soul should leave him and cleave to Hashem. The only reason that such a person should live is because Hashem commanded the Mitzvah and Hashem wants a person to live and do the Mitzvos But in this case there was no command so they had no merit with which to restore their lives. This is why the Posuk says “they brought a fire which he had not commanded.” This would also explain the meaning of “Be'Korvasam Lifnei-Hashem Vayamusu” in our Parsha.
But this is not the method that Hashem wants. Hashem does not want us to be totally in the spiritual realm. Klal Yisroel at that time was not ready for this stage. From the service of Yom Kippur we can learn a tremendous lesson about this. The Torah tells us that they had to take two goats of equal value and appearance. One was to be sacrificed on the altar, while the other was sent away to be thrown off a cliff. The cost of these two goats was taken from the communal fund. They therefore did not skimp on spending when it came to a sacrifice to atone for all of Israel. So how is it that it would be going to waste, thrown over a cliff? The answer is that there are two ways we spend money in our lifetime. One is on spiritual matters the other for physical and personal pleasures. The return for money spent on the spiritual is everlasting. But in retrospect we see that Monies spent on pleasures are usually wasted. The lesson here is that Hashem doesn't mind if we spend money for personal satisfaction. But it has to be balanced with equal spending for Tzedakah and Mitzvos too. The two goats therefor had to be equal in value.
(16:3) “B’Zos Yovo Aharon el-Hkodesh-With this Aharon may enter the Holy.” The Shem M’shmuel writes that the word “B’zos” are the letters Zayin Aleph Tof, Zayin, seven which is nature, Aleph Tof are the letters of the alphabet which is the spiritual, the letters with which the Torah was written. Aharon must only enter with a mixture of that which is physical and spiritual. He is attempting to enter the holiest place, where the binds of physical space do not apply. In the Temple we find the limits of physical space suspended in the Holy of Holies. The day which Aharon must enter there is the holiest day. He enters as a man but inside becomes angelic thus combining the spiritual and physical worlds.
(16:3) “B’Zos Yovo Aharon el-Hkodesh-With this Aharon may enter the Holy.” There is a Gemorrah in Brochos that says “Habo L’taheir M’sayin Oso-If a person wishes to better himself they aid him.” What does it mean they aid him? It should say He helps him in the singular form. But the meaning is as follows. There is a concept called Transmigration of souls (Ibur Neshamas) where the souls of previous Tzadikim are sent to accompany and assist a person attempting a worthy but difficult task. There is a story about the Arizal who once stood up for a student of his that had just entered the room. When questioned about this he responded that he saw the Neshama of Pinchas ben Yair enter the room with his student. What had happened was that this student had just finished risking his life to perform the mitzvah of Pidyan Shevuyin. Assisting him on that task was Pinchas ben Yair. The Arizal sensed this and stood up when he entered the room.
Another case of Ibur Neshamas was by Aharon H’kohein. We have a rule “Ain Kateger Nasseh Saneiger- The prosecutor may not be the defender. Aaron was not permitted to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur wearing gold because of his role in the sin of the Golden Calf. This may be true of Aaron’s role as Kohein Gadol but what about all of the future Kohanim that were not involved in the Sin of the golden calf? Why could they not enter wearing gold? The answer is that every subsequent Kohein that entered the Holy of Holies did not enter alone. The soul of Aharon accompanied them. Therefore every future Kohein Gadol entered wearing white. With this we can understand the Posuk that says “B’zos Yovo Aharon el Hakodesh-With this Aharon would enter into the sanctuary.” The word B’zos has the numerical value of 410, the exact number of years that the first Beis Hamikdosh stood. The question then is why is only the first Beis Hamikdosh hinted at and not the second? The answer is that only during the first Beis Hamikdosh was Aaron accompanying the Kohein Gadol. All subsequent Kohanim of the second Temple were not worthy and did not benefit from Aaron’s assistance.
(16:8) "Goral Echad L'Hashem V'Goral Echod L'Azazel -One lottery for Hashem and one for Azazel" We know that all of the sins of Klal Yisroel were placed upon the scapegoat and sent out alive to the dessert. What then was the purpose of the first goat L'Hashem? The Ohr Ha'chaim writes that it was to atone for unintentional sins, while the goat for the Azazel carried the more severe intentional sins. The Oznayim L'Torah writes that the services performed for the two of them complement each other and together constitute one sin offering. The reason for this is that the sin offering atones for severe symptoms as well as minor ones, for intentional as well as unintentional ones, for the entire Jewish people, as well for individuals. It would be impossible to place all of these sins on one goat and then offer it to Hashem as a sin offering, the pollution would be too overwhelming.
The Parsha continues and discusses the service of Yom Kippur. The central theme of which was the Se'or Le'Azzazel. Two identical goats were selected. One goat was to be brought to the ultimate place of Kiddusha, the other to be taken outside of Eretz Yisroel to the wilderness to a place of death and Tumeh. When a Korban Chatas was brought it was to atone for unintentional sins. Any intentional sins were considered an abhorrence to Hashem and could not be erased by this sacrifice. On Yom Kippur even sins committed intentionally were erased through this scapegoat. This is why it had to be taken outside the Holy Land. It can be better understood by means of a parable. A King examined the garments of his son and found that some of them were soiled. If the garment had a single stain the king would remove it and return the garment. But if he came across a garment which was greatly soiled he would hand it to one of his servants to launder. That servant would not mind getting his hands dirty while washing the garment. Just as the one who takes the goat to the wilderness becomes Tameh. The Ohr Ha'Chaim writes that numerous animals became bodies which housed the souls of former sinners whose souls were given an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves through another re-incarnation on earth. The chances are that the goat which was chosen by lot to be the scapegoat to carry away the sins of all of Benei Yisroel, was such an animal.
(16:21) “V’Shelach Beyad Ish Iti Hamidbarah-And send it with the designated man to the desert.” Rashi says that this man was appointed before Yom Kippur. The Chizkuni say that “Ish Iti” means the man whose time has come. That the person who was selected would die during the course of that year. But although he knew that his life would end after his mission, he did not hesitate to perform it. On the contrary he was eager to be apart of Klal Yisroel’s atonement for all of their sins. The question is why did it have to be through someone whose time had come? To answer this we must first understand how this process of atonement worked. Chazal explain that every time a person sins, a bad angel is created. If that person does Teshuvah this destructive angel departs from him, but stands aside waiting to see if the person repeats the sin. If the person does sin again, the angel returns to him to join forces with the new destructive angel created by the second offence. They then unite in their acts of sabotage and accusations.
If the person does not repeat the sin, the bad angel stays away until Yom Kippur. On that day, when the Kohen Gadol says Viduy for Benei Yisroel, all of their bad angels surround him, both the angels of the “wilful sins” and the angels that were waiting on the sidelines. So when he emerges from the Holy of Holies he is on a higher level than even the ministering angels. He then commands all of the bad angels to go onto the head of the he-goat, and they obey. This animal contains so much negativity that it is not even permitted to be sacrificed on the altar. Rather it had to be taken away to the desert. The concentration of negative was such that the only person other than the Kohen Gadol that was able to stand in such an environment was a person whose time had come, someone who had nothing to lose, who could not be sabotaged by an accusing angel.
(16:24) “ V'rochatz es-B'soroh Bamayim B'Mokom Kodesh-And he shall bathe his flesh in water in a holy place.” Rashi explains that the “holy place” where the Kohen would purify himself was a mikveh on top of the “House of Parve.” What was this place? How did it get that name? Rabeinu Chananel explains that Parve is the name of a gentile sorcerer. He so desired to see the service of Yom Kippur, that he actually dug a tunnel beneath the temple in order to view the Kohen Gadol perform in the Holy of Holies. He was captured and put to death but because of his misplaced devotion the holy place was named after him.
(16:29) "The native born and the proselyte" Why did the Torah need to mention the proselyte by the Mitzvah of Yom Kippur? The convert is obligated to all the Mitzvos? The Ohr Hachaim writes that this is a case of a newly converted and since he is newly converted he has nothing to confess. I might therefore think he need not observe Yom Kippur. The Torah is telling us that he must still keep Yom Kippur.
(17:13) “Ve'Eish Eish Mibenei Yisroel-Asher Yatzud Tzayid Chaya oh-Of Asher Yai'achel Ve'shafach es-Damo Ve'kisahu be'Afar-Every person of Benei Yisroel that traps any wild animal or fowl that is permitted to be eaten, he shall spill it's blood and cover it with earth.” We learn from here that only animals that are intended for food may be hunted. It is not permitted to hunt animals for sport.
It says “If you hunt a beast or fowl, before you eat it, you shall pour out its blood and cover the blood with dust. “When Cain killed Hevel and left the body lying on the ground unburied the birds and animals dug a hole and buried Hevel in it. For this reason they are deserving of having blood covered with earth if they should meet a violent death.