nadav and avihu post mortem

his son’s bodies still smoldering next to the altar
they came and said to aaron
this is what happens when you play with strange fire
this is what happens when you’re too cautious
this is what happens when you don’t read the instructions
this is what happens when you’re too scared to improvise
this is what happens when you look into the light
this is what happens when you walk on the dark side
this is what happens when you attempt to escape
this is what happens when you remain in the ghetto
this is what happens when you believe the kindness of strangers
this is what happens when you fear the other
this is what happens when you disobey orders
this is what happens when you go like sheep
to the slaughter

(Leviticus 10:1-3)

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3 Comments on “nadav and avihu post mortem”

  1. maxwellst says:

    A poetic description of how the facets of our community have divided into the multitude of philosophical groupings spawned by galut, the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, pogroms, the Shoa….This is what happens when you don’t have a Pope to tell you what all your disasters mean and what to do about them.

  2. Marie says:

    My ulpan teacher Mina once said to a student’s question about a point of grammar, “Eyn lama”. “There is no why”. That was just grammar. We humans hate learning that there may be no good reason for why really important things happen, because that means we are always vulnerable to danger, harm, and sadness. I love this poem for expressing this idea by taking off on one of the Torah’s most hard to explain stories-with-a–bad-ending.

  3. WOW, Rabbi, a powerful poem this week. Thank you for these words. I will want to speak more about them when I see you at Shabbat services this Friday. B’shalom.


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