The Torah is acquired b’chavrusa and b’eitzah — through companionship and advice
“…Speak to your brother Aharon, that he should not come at all times into the Kodesh…” (Vayikra 16:2)
fter the death of Aharon’s two sons, Moshe told Aharon that he shouldn’t enter the Kodesh Hakodoshim, so that he shouldn’t die like his sons. Rav Yosi Hagalili confirms that their death was due to their entry into the Kodesh Hakodoshim.
This needs explanation. If Nadav and Avihu were punished for bringing a strange fire or for being intoxicated, one could argue that they’d been warned. But there’s no hint at all that the brothers were not allowed to enter the Kodesh Hakodoshim. Why the punishment? (Rabbi Sender Haber, Out of the Loop)
I’ve always dabbled in trying to set up shidduchim, but I’ve never been successful. Then one night at 3 a.m. — a time when my best ideas always seem to come to me — it hit me. Why not create some sort of global initiative, where the whole world would say Tehillim together for shidduchim?
I was so excited, I couldn’t fall back asleep. I was raring to try out my fantastic sleep-deprived epiphany.
Usually, when those creative ideas strike in middle of the night, it’s a letdown when I get up in the morning and examine those same incredible inspirations. In the harsh light of day, they generally seem improbable at best and ridiculous in most cases.
The Midrash teaches that Aharon’s sons actually committed four sins: They entered the Kodesh Hakodoshim, they brought a strange fire, they brought the wrong sacrifice, and… they did not consult with one another. Some explain this last transgression based on the rule that only one person may enter the Kodesh Hakodoshim at any given time. Since Nadav and Avihu didn’t collaborate, they ended up coming simultaneously, and were therefore deserving of death.
But at 7 a.m., I was still pretty excited about the idea. And at 2 p.m. when I ran it by my husband, I was working up to real enthusiasm.
My husband is extremely logical and methodical, traits that are excellent counterbalances to impulsive, innovative me. I was bubbling over and waxing poetic as I described my vision. My husband listened patiently, then shot several well-aimed points that translated into practical adjustments to make my goal even more feasible.
A few days later, I was still feverishly excited about the venture, and I realized I really needed to discuss it with a mentor before venturing out. I called my rebbetzin, who heard me out and gave me some salient pointers. I then consulted a rav regarding advertising, publicity, and privacy of names submitted. I tweaked and refined the plan, and ran it by the same people again.
I think the explanation may be much simpler. Whenever we embark upon something holy, exciting, and new, we need to humble ourselves and check in with somebody else. There’s an arrogance to saying, “There’s one spot on earth that’s holier than any other, and I am going to be the first one to enter it.” It may have been a good sentiment from a good place, but Nadav and Avihu should have, at the very least, conferred with one another before taking this step.
The Torah is acquired b’chavrusa and b’eitzah — through companionship and advice. Had the brothers consulted with someone, perhaps they would have realized that only Aharon should go in, and only on Yom Kippur, and only for a minute.
This was Moshe’s message to Aharon at the beginning of this parshah. “Your sons cannot be excused for entering the Kodesh Hakodoshim on their own. You didn’t enter. You waited to discuss it with me. Now I am here as your brother to tell you that it is a good idea. This is how you should enter the Kodesh Hakodoshim….”
I set it up simply. Each member commits to saying one perek of Tehillim once a week and submits a name for tefillah. Names are kept private, said only by the moderator. Just several weeks after my sleepless night, Tehillim for Shidduchim was officially launched. Since its inception, there hasn’t been a week without any engagements — sometimes over 10 in a week! Older singles, second-timers, the mazel tovs run the global shidduch scene. I’ve seen the yeshuos myself. The very first kallah on our list was my daughter.
And then, boy did I lose sleep!
To join the Tehillim Initiative for Shidduchim, please email email@example.com
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 790)
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