Enjoy the good times

In Parshat VaEra (Shmot 6:23), we are introduced to Elisheva:

“Aharon took Elisheva, daughter of Aminadav, sister of Nachshon, for a wife and she gave birth to Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar.”

We learn in the Talmud, Zvachim 102a and in the Midrash, Vayikra Rabba 20:2:

Elisheva experienced five joys more than the other daughters of Israel as she saw six of her relatives crowned on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, the day that the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was dedicated:

  1. Moshe, her brother in law was crowned as king
  2. Nachson, her brother was inaugurated as the Nasi, the prince of the tribe of Yehuda who brought the first korban (sacrifice) out of all of the Nesiim (princes). As we read in Bamidbar 7:12:

“And he that offered his offering the first day was Nachshon ben Aminadav, from the tribe of Yehuda.”

  1. Aharon, her husband was trained and sanctified to be the Kohen Gadol (High Priest).
  2. Nadav and Avihu, her sons became S’ganei Kehuna, deputy priests.
  3. Pinchas, her grandson (Elazar’s son) was chosen to be the Kohen Mashuach Milchama, the priest who was anointed to lead the army in war. We read about this role in Dvarim 20:2-4:

And it shall be when you come near to the battle, that the kohen shall approach and speak to the people, and shall say to them, Shma Yisrael, Hear O Israel, you draw near today to do battle against your enemies; let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, nor be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

Unfortunately, Elisheva’s happiness was short lived (Vayikra 10:1-2):

And Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon, took each of them his censer and put fire in it and put incense on it and offered strange fire before God which he commanded them not. And a fire went out from God and devoured them and they died before God.

Sadly, Nadav and Avihu were killed and Elisheva’s joy turned to mourning.

There is no complete happiness in this world as it says (Vayikra 16:1-2):

God spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon’s two sons, when they came near before God, and died; and God said to Moshe: Speak to Aharon, your brother- he shall not come at all times into the Sanctuary, within the Curtain, in front of the Cover that is upon the Ark, so that he should not die; for in a cloud I will appear upon the Ark-cover.

Even though Nadav and Avihu were righteous and tried to get close to God, they transgressed and in an instant, all of the joy turned to mourning.

May we enjoy the good times as we never know how long they will last.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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