It seems out of proportion. What did Nadav and Avihu do, after all? Was the sin so grave to truly merit a death sentence?
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch suggests the crime was that they felt any compelling reason to offer their own sacrifice at all. On the day of the Tabernacle’s dedication they should have been content with the communal offering. That they didn’t perhaps suggests they did not feel fully one with the nation, and that, for a priest or prophet, may be the greatest of offenses.
Servant leadership, we are taught, is more than a slogan. It is an internal state of mind and one where the connections to others are powerful.
Leaders, including those elected or appointed must feel a deep connection to those they serve. That is the timeless political lesson of Aaron’s sons.
Words to consider. Ideas to ponder. Politics and the parsha.
By Howie Beigelman
Howie Beigelman, formerly of Springfield, NJ, is executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities. He is a strategic communicator at the intersection of Jewish communal service and nonprofit political advocacy. Follow him on Twitter @howielb.