Tuesday, 6 April 2010

P. Shmini - Punishment or Consequences?

OK let's start with Acharei Mot What does "v'lo yamut" imply? Here's my p'shat:

Coming into the proximity of the Qodshei Qodshim - requires protection . For Aharon - that meant a proper Q'toret - while an improper Qktoret - even b'shogeig - could have left the Kohen Gadol w/o his "radiation suit" and thereby be exposed to an overwhelming dose and risk death. Not due to a transgression, but - rather like an electician with a leaky rubber glove - the shock would be overhwelming.

Back to Nadav and Avihu. AISI they were consumed by the fire primarily because their ersatz Q'toret failed to protect them and therefore Aharon was commanded how to avoid such a similar catastrophe.

And as for Uzah - in the Haftara of Sh'mini - AISI he wasn't punished so much as overwhelmed by the Q'dusha and lacked protection.

Bottom line - AISI it's not "punishment" it's consequences. Like a kid sticking his finger in an exposed socket. Hashem is not punishing the child. We have been fixated with seeing din as punishment. Din sometimes is teva, and electicity, radiation, high places all entail physical risk.

Punishment or Consequences?


1 comment:

micha said...

I am not sure the two are different. (As we discussed on Avodah.) Isn't "punishment" just a shorthand term for a negative consequence of an action?

What's the difference between "Hashem prohibited using an improper qetores to enter the qodshei qedashim, and the punishment for violation is death" and "Hashem forewarned kohanim not to bring improper qetores because it can be fatal"?

Since Hashem not only hired the electricians, but set up the entire house wiring as well as the concept of electricity and its consequences to begin with, I think the two formulations are identical.