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Shemini: The Right Thing at the Right Time

On the eighth day of the inauguration of the Mishkan, a day replete with celebration and immense joy, tragedy strikes. Nadav and Avihu, two of Aharon’s sons, have just finished assisting their father with the sacrifices for the day when they fill their fire pans with Ketores, “Va’yakrivu lifnei Hashem eish zarah asher lo tzivah osam,” and they bring a foreign fire into the Mishkan that they were not commanded to bring (10:1). Immediately, “vateitzei eish mei’lifnei Hashem, vatochal osam, vatamusu,” a Divine fire comes down and kills them (10:2).