Can Religion Make People Go Crazy? | Shemini 5784

Our parsha feels like a crime scene.

The deaths of Nadav and Avihu, two of the sons of Ahron the Kohen Gadol, can be approached like an unsolved murder mystery. In the tenth chapter of our parsha we are told that the sons of Ahron, Nadav and Avihu, take a pan and offer a foreign fire that God did not command. Seemingly as punishment, a fire swallows both of them up.

What exactly were they punished for?

There are lots of clues, but much of the evidence seems contradictory.

The plain meaning of the text seems to suggest that they were punished for the foreign offering that they brought. But why was that punishable by death? Were they ever told not to bring such an offering?

Read the rest on Substack, and listen to the full shiur above!