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    Higher than silence – Sh’mini

    Nadab & Abihu, by James Tissot

    It was tragic. It was sudden. Aaron’s two sons brought strange fire to the altar. They were summarily struck dead. Vayyiddom Aharon – “And Aaron was silent” (Lev. 10:3).

    No weeping, no wailing, no shouting out in anger or despair. Amazing self-possession and acceptance of a Divine decree.

    Few others would be capable of holding their peace at such a moment. Yet even that, according to Rabbi Shlomo HaKohen of Radomsk (d. 1868), is not the highest spiritual level. For that we have to go to King David. What was his response to suffering? L’ma’an y’zammer’cha kavod v’lo yiddom – “My soul will sing praise to You and not be silent” (Psalm 30:13).

    To be silent is amazing; to sing praise is even higher than silence.

    Aaron says to God, “Your will be done”. David says, “God, You know what You are doing”. Aaron says, “I accept Your will in love”. David says, “Even when I suffer, I praise Your name”.

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