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Shabbat 18 April 2015 – Parasha Shemini

Shabbat comes in at 7.46pm & goes out at 8.53pm

In parshat Shemini, we read the story of Nadav and Avihu, Aharon’s two sons who died while presenting a “strange” fire offering to God.  Rashi comments that Aharon’s sons were either guilty of being drunk while in the Temple and/or not deferring to Moshe on a legal question posed in his presence. However, right after that, Rashi tells us that these very same sons of Aharon were actually greater than both Moshe and Aharon (based on Midrash,Vayikra Rabbah (12:2).


The resolution of this seeming contradiction may lay in the difference between the wisdom that comes from knowledge and the understanding that comes from experience. While the sons of Aharon may have been great in terms of the knowledge, they were apparently lacking in understanding and experience.


Thus, the rabbis teach that one should respect even a foolish old man, justifying this position by saying that his experience alone is worthy of respect (Kiddushin 33a).


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman

April 22, 2015