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“Do not make your souls into an abomination through any creeping thing that creeps, and do not make yourselves unclean through them, so that you become completely ruined by them.” (11:43)

Horav Shimshon Rephael Hirsch Z”l notes that in this posuk the Torah implies two different forms of moral degradation in conjunction with eating prohibited food. “ofh,apb ,t umea, kt” – the term sheketz is used exclusively in reference to spiritual and mental abominations, particularly referring to idol-worship (ubmea, .ea) to describe the extent to which we should go to reject idolatry and all related concepts. These areas are antithetical to our spiritual and moral well-being. Similarly, when the eating of a food is described as sheketz, we infer that consuming the food is diametrically opposed to the development of our…

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“And Aharon was silent.” (10:3)

  Rashi explains that Aharon received a reward for his silence while accepting Hashem’s judgment. He merited that the divine word regarding the prohibition of drinking intoxicants prior to performing the priestly service was addressed especially to him. The selection of this particular edict seems peculiar. Obviously, it conveys a definite message to be applied to our daily life. The Ateres Mordechai suggests that the prohibition regarding abstinence from wine and spirits may be analogously applied to another form of intoxication – namely, life’s occurrences. Various life contents such as wealth and poverty, health and sickness, success and failure, can…

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“And the sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihhu, each took his own incense-pan… and they offered before Hashem strange fire… and then a fire came out from Hashem’s Presence and consumed them.” (10:1-2)

Rashi cites one reason for the death of Aharon’s sons to be their decision to voice halachic rulings in the presence of their teacher, Moshe. The Talmud (Eiruvin 63a) explains that they asserted the halacha about placing wood shavings on the Altar, despite the fire’s miraculous descent from heaven. The Talmud confirms that the act of rendering halachic decisions in front of one’s Rebbe is punishable by death. To illustrate this point, the Talmud quotes a story concerning a student of Rabbi Eliezer who rendered a decision in his Rebbe’s presence. Rabbi Eliezer mentioned to his wife that the student…

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“And Moshe and Aharon went into the Ohel Moed and came out and blessed the people. And the glory of Hashem appeared unto all the people.” (9:23)

Rashi cites the Safra who gives the following reason for Moshe’s accompanying Aharon into the Ohel Moed. Aharon noted that all the sacrifices had been offered and all the services had been performed. He was grieved that the Divine Presence had not yet come down to Klal Yisrael. He blamed himself for Hashem’s apparent rejection of the Jewish people’s offerings and supplications. He even felt that Moshe had put him to shame by asking him to enter the Ohel Moed alone. Therefore, Moshe immediately entered with Aharon, and together they entreated Hashem for mercy. This act of cooperation caused the…

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