Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shemini: Authenticy Cannot Be Dependent

This shiur is was given one day after Shacharis during the week of Parshas Shemini 5767 (2007).

Our Sages are very bothered with figuring out where Nadav and Avihu's approach went awry. Some say because they answered a halachic query in front of Moshe Rabeinu. Another opinion is that they were not married. The most famous reason given by Chazal is that they drank wine before they entered the Kodesh HaKadoshim (Holy of Holies).

The Rebbe suggested the following: At our own level, we understand the importance of living life joyfully, and certainly Nadav and Avihu understood how important it is to serve Hashem with a joyful heart. Concerned about the fact that their joy may not have reached the necessary quality, they sought to amplify it by drinking wine, which they intended, would liberate some extra measure of joy.

There are times when such an approach is legitimate. But going into the Kodesh HaKadoshim is tantamount to moving deeply into your person, to the very heart of who you are and is therefore contradictory to the imbibing of alcohol. The core of who you are cannot be amplified by using external means. By trying to bring something external into the most authentic part of yourself, you have brought something which is not real into a place which has to be totally real. And a joy which comes from an external source rather than an internal source is not completely real. When you go into the Kodesh HaKadoshim you have to be entirely yourself and not under the influence of something outside of yourself.

There is a time for that kind of joy, maybe on a Yom Tov. The Sages suggested that you drink wine in order to get more in touch with the joy of the Yom Tov. But in the Kodesh HaKadoshim, you can’t be anything that is not absolutely genuine.

There are certain relationships that require that kind of authenticity in order to work.

For example, if a marriage is predicted on external beauty, access to money or power or office, if the interest is exclusively or even predominantly physical, its like trying to go into the Holy of Holies with something that doesn’t belong there. Because a close relationship requires the bonding of things which are not externally amplified.

Nadav and Avihu suffered the fate that they did because part of the joy, maybe their boldness in going in, was buttressed by the introduction of something foreign into the most intimate and authentic part of themselves.

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