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    Nadav & Avihu – Acharei Mot

    Nadav Avihu Nadab AbihuThe rabbis have a range of interpretations of the “strange fire” which Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, brought to the altar, earning them summary punishment from God.

    Maybe one of their worst sins was to be untrue to their names.

    The older son, Nadav, has a name that means “volunteer”. From the root n-d-v, “to impel”, also found in the name Amminadav, it suggests a person whose every instinct is to offer his services.

    A Nadav, however, does not do the first thing that comes into his head. He first asks himself whether his intention will be pleasing to God. Had Aaron’s son Nadav sought God’s approval, history would have been different.

    The other son was Avihu, which combines the Hebrew for “father” and “he”. We can read the name in two ways, “His father is He (God)”, or “He (God) is his father”.

    Like Nadav, he was ruled by instinct. He wanted to do the right thing by God, but he failed to assure himself that his proposed course of action was one which his heavenly Father was likely to approve.

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