Parshat Shemini


Tamar Pelleg

Since then, a lot of water has flowed in the river of my life. Today, apart from my everyday writing in my “Morning  Diary”, I write regularly on topics related to the Hebrew Bible’s portion of the week, from a psycho-spiritual perspective and on topics  related to relationships that I post on  Facebook, blog, digital story collections and recently I am engaged in writing a  book and my  dream begins to come true.



His heart was pounding fast; the first time is always exciting. The situation stressed him out a little.

He was fully present, and followed exactly the instructions, with complete intention and without distractions —   and yet he did not succeed.

He tried again and nothing happened.

Then, it seemed to him that he heard a small voice whispering from his own depths, almost inaudible:

” You will not succeed. You have no chance! This is your punishment, do you understand, Aaron? To be humiliated before the people who demanded of you to make them a God and whom you hastened to please when you created a masked calf for them “

No wonder the fire does not come down from above to the altar.

He tried to silence that voice, to keep it away. He concentrated, cleared his mind and tried again. His hands trembled uncontrollably.

The fire did not come down in the next sacrifice either.

His brother Moses saw his distress and came to his aid. He entered the tent with him on the last attempt – and then the fire finally came down. What a relief!

Other than him, no one noticed that he had failed, a thought crossed his mind, that thanks to Moses he had avoided a great disgrace.

As the fire came down from above the altar, he heard the people’s cry and saw how they fell on their faces. This time there was no dancing, nor ecstasy nor intoxication.

And a thought came to his mind: This is how one behaves when he discovers too late that he has lost the good thing he once had.

This is how one behaves, who betrays his faithful lover and chooses a temporary replacement, and only after the act grasps the depth of the loss, the intensity of the loss.

This is the reason for the great outcry.

He looked at the four-horned altar, and despite his wish, the figure of the golden calf he had made came up.

An oppressive guilt haunted him.

When he agreed to create the masked calf of the mask, he thought to himself, the “how” is less important than the “what”.

The people wanted to serve God; I will help them conserve this energy. How it will be expressed is less important, after all God is present in everything.

But he was wrong.  His understanding was not theirs. He let Moses down, and maybe God was watching over him now?

And suddenly out of the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of his sons, Nadav and Avihu, bringing fire in their censers.

What are they doing? Why are they bringing fire from below?

It does not belong! This is alien fire!

And even before the question crossed the threshold of his thoughts, the fire descended from above and burned them and all that was left of them was their clothes of the priesthood.

His voice fell silent.


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