Divrei Hayamim I – Twenty-Four: History

“And of the sons of Aaron, their divisions: the sons of Aaron [were] Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and they had no sons, and Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests (Chronicles I 24:1-2).” This verse makes me think about what isn’t being mentioned, and how often history leaves out key details. In the original story of this family, we hear the whole backstory – how Nadab and Abihu were killed by some kind of supernatural fire after making an unapproved sacrifice. But in the retelling, the pain and drama are glossed over, and their loss isn’t the central drama, but is instead the afterthought. There can be many reasons for this – everything from they died young and didn’t have sons, so therefore there was no one to promote their legacy, to during the time of the dedication of the Temple, the people didn’t want to dwell on the tragedies that happened during the dedication of the Ark. Either way, the legacy of tragedy is one that we don’t like to emphasize, but I wonder if that’s to our detriment, as we forget what brought us to where we are today.

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