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Heeding Authority

Deference to previous generations and the need to take guidance from a mentor is part and parcel of the Torah framework. When one has a proper framework one is free to expand and develop. Without a proper framework, our minds and our emotions are without limit in what they can come up with . . . right or very wrong. 

Two sons of Aaron, the high priest, brought unauthorized offerings before Hashem in the Tabernacle. Due to their very high level of authority among the Jewish people, this infraction was dealt with severely. What led them to bring foreign offerings? 

Our sages suggest various reasons but two in particular were; One, they became intoxicated before bringing their foreign offerings (the Torah goes on to express how this is prohibited while bringing an offering before Hashem). And second, they sought authority beyond their teachers/mentors.

The Torah expresses this idea by giving us the description of "the sons of Aaron" before providing their actual names. The Torah generally gives descriptions of people after providing their names. However, here the Torah changed the order to tell us that they were moving away from the authorities/mentors in their lives. 

"The sons of Aaron, Nadav and Avihu, both took . . . " Leviticus 10:1

Based on the writing of Rabbi Immanual Bernstein,


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