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Aish Tamid, Aish Zara

03/25/2022 11:42:33 AM


Rabbi Benjamin Samuels

Last week, on Shabbat morning, I spoke about the Aish Tamid - the fire that came from Heaven but had to be perpetually maintained on the mizbeach in the Mishkan. The Aish Tamid comes to symbolize dedication, consistency and endurance in our avodat ha-kodesh - our sacred service, whether it be Torah learning, daily davening, or acts of chesed and social justice. This week’s parashah introduces the idea of Aish Zara - a foreign fire. Nadav and Avihu offered a strange fire after Moshe completed the inauguration and dedication of the Mishkan. Although there is ambiguity as to their motivation - it may have been a drunken indulgence, or a sincerely motivated act of spiritual spontaneity - the framework was transgressive and bore the severest of consequences. One might come to the erroneous conclusion that spontaneity and innovation are being discouraged here. However, there is an ongoing constructive dialectic in Judaism between fixity and spontaneity, continuity and creativity. At the right times, and in the right framework, both pulses (not impulses) keep the Jewish heart beating strong!

Shabbat Shalom, Rav Benjie

Tue, September 27 2022 2 Tishrei 5783