Daily Chumash Tuesday Shemini: The passing of Nadav and Avihu



  • A fire came from before Hashem and consumed the offerings, the Olah and the fats. The entire nation witnessed this and praised Hashem and fell on their faces.

  1. The passing of Nadav and Avihu:
    • Nadav and Avihu took a pan with coals and incense and offered a foreign fire to Hashem, of which they were not commanded. A fire came out from Hashem and consumed them, and they died before Hashem.
    • Moshe comforted Aaron saying that Hashem had told him that his sons merited to be chosen by Hashem to have the Temple sanctified through them. Aaron was silent.
    • Moshe summoned Mishael and Eltzafan, the second cousins of Nadav and Avihu, to remove the bodies of their brothers from the Holy and remove them from the camp. They approached and removed Nadav and Avihu through their clothing to outside the camp.
    • Mourning customs: Moshe instructed Aaron and his sons Elazar and Ithamar not to let their hair grow long or tear their clothing, or leave the Ohel Moed, lest they die, and Hashem become wrathful with all the Jewish people. The Jewish people will mourn the burning that Hashem made.

  1. Not to work while intoxicated:
    • Hashem commanded Aaron that the Kohanim may not perform Avoda in the Mikdash under intoxication of alcohol, lest they die. This applies for all generations. This is necessary in order to distinguish between the holy and profane, and pure and impure and for them to instruct the Jewish people the laws of Hashem.

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