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Parashat Shmini - 5775

My friends,

This Shabbat we read the portion of Sh'mini. The preceding Torah reading Tzav concluded with the seven days of rehearsals that Aaron and his children went thru as they prepared to dedicate the Tabernacle.

Shmini relates how on the Shmini, the Eighth Day, Aaron, his sons, Moses and the entire community were gathered at the Tabernacle to witness the big event - the dedication of the Tabernacle. Moses told Aaron that if he and his children will do exactly as they have been practicing during the previous seven days, that G-d's glory will appear to the entire congregation. And that is exactly what happened. Aaron brought the various offerings and a fire came form heaven and consumed the sacrifice from the altar, and the Glory of G-d appeared to all, and the entire congregation cheered and prostrated themselves. Then Nadab and Aveehu, two of Aaron's children, entered the Tabernacle carrying each an incense burner with fire - this is something that was not part of the program. Suddenly a fire came down from heaven and killed them.

Imagine Aaron's tragic situation. This is the day that he has been preparing for, the day when he as the High Priest will demonstrate that he can bring G-d to accept Israel's offerings. This is Aaron's day of glory, yet this day is saddened by the tragic loss of two of his children. Aaron's reaction to this event was, "Vayidom Aharon". Aaron kept his peace. He was silent. No words could explain nor console this terrible tragedy that he had suffered on his day of glory.

Yesterday we observed Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Day, commemorating the biggest tragedy that ever befell our people. Next week, we celebrate Yom Ha-atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. The most important event in Jewish life during the past two millennia.

On a national and on an individual basis, life can be bittersweet. We have to be prepared for everything. That's what Aaron went thru in this week's Parasha.

May your life be filled with sweet experiences.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram