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April 20, 2006 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-04-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TORAH PORTION

David Klein Gallery

presents

Burning. Bush
Brothers Inc.

Shabbat Mevarechim,
Parshat Shemini:
Leviticus 9:1-11:47;
II Samuel 6:1-7:17.

H

and asks why they haven't
ow do family
eaten their portion. This
businesses sur-
is a tense moment. Moses
vive and even
rebukes Aaron's remaining
thrive? No matter how lov-
sons just hours after their
ing the relationship, there
brothers
are killed. Perhaps,
are bound to be times of
as
their
uncle,
he is afraid for
tension, and more than one
their lives as well?
family has been fractured
Rabbi Daniel
The rabbis note that Moses
by troubles in the office.
Nevins
is
diplomatic
in not con-
Nevertheless, some families
Special to the
fronting Aaron directly; but
succeed in working togeth-
Jewish News
Aaron responds all the same:
er, even in times of crisis.
"After what happened
This week's portion fea-
tures a family business that is severely to me today [the death of my sons],
would the Lord have approved my eat-
tested. Their business is alternately
ing the sacrifices?!"
a travel agency, catering operation,
Aaron has a point. Indeed, later
law firm, health clinic and of course,
in the Torah (Deuteronomy 26:14)
a synagogue. Call it "Burning Bush
we learn that a priest should not eat
Brothers Inc."
sacrifices on the day of a death in his
The executives, Moses and Aaron,
family. But how did he know?
have a complicated relationship. The
Remarkably, Moses, the great
younger brother is CEO, but the older
prophet and CEO, accepts his older
brother is the company spokesman.
Their sister, Miriam, is usually a silent brother's ruling. The Torah emphasiz-
es that "it was good in his eyes." Italian
partner; but she periodically bursts
scholar Rabbi Ovadiah Seforno (1470-
into song. It is a well-run company in
1550) comments, "Moses rejoiced over
a competitive environment.
the wisdom of his brother and his
Yet this week, "BBB" is devastated
sons who discerned and taught cor-
when two of Aaron's sons, Nadav and
Avihu, are suddenly struck dead in the rectly"
Moses rejoiced in being proven
line of duty. What will happen next?
wrong by Aaron, especially on a day
Whose fault is it? How can Aaron
when his older brother was hurt-
carry on his duties with two sons
ing. That is the secret to the family's
burned alive? What can Moses say to
success. How do the Burning Bush
comfort his brother?
Brothers succeed? By caring, by criti-
Moses offers a cryptic explanation
cizing and by conceding error.
that God is sanctified by those who
May we learn the same lessons in
come close, but Aaron remains silent.
our family business: Judaism.
What is the nature of his silence?
Acceptance? Smoldering rage? Mute
grief? Fear? It is hard to know what is
Conversations
going on in Aaron's mind.
When you disagree with a
Just a few verses later, Moses criti-
spouse, sibling, parent or child,
cizes Aaron and his sons. Usually, the
what are the boundaries? How
priests were required to eat a portion
can the discussion strengthen
of the sin offering brought by the
your relationship?
people. But this time, the priests had
burned their portion rather than eat-
ing it.
Moses turns in anger to Aaron's two Daniel Nevins is a spiritual leader at Adat
Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills.
remaining sons, Elazar and Itamar,

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April 20 .2006

39

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