We cannot allow ourselves to be taken over by ego and other false visions of grandeur. This is especially true when it comes to finding a spouse.
This week we read the double Torah portion of Acharei Mot – Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-20:27). The reading begins with a review and reminder of the death of Aaron’s two sons, Nadav and Avihu. It remains unclear why they were killed. What we do know is that they were punished for offering a “foreign fire” on the Altar. The commentaries are abound as to what a “foreign fire” means and what exactly was their sin. Let us take a look at what the Midrash (Rabbinic literature) suggests.
The Midrash teaches that their sin was symbolically connected to the verse in Psalms (78:63): “Fire consumed His young men, and His maidens had no marriage celebration.” Commenting on this verse, and the connection to Nadav and Avihu, the Midrash continues: “Why were the two young sons of Aaron consumed by fire? It was because they allowed young maidens to go unmarried.”
In other words, according to the Midrash, Nadav and Avihu were worthy of death because they did not want to get married (or it certainly was not a priority in their lives). Indeed, we are told that there were many eager young women interested in marrying Nadav and Avihu, and they just ignored them.
Who’s Good Enough for Me?
It gets better. Why did Nadav and Avihu not want to get married? The Midrash continues: “Nadav and Avihu would say to themselves, ‘Our uncle Moses is the King and our father Aaron is the High Priest! That makes us second-in-command in the Priesthood. Which woman is good enough to marry us?’”
This is why they never got married. This is why they never had children. They thought that nobody was good enough for them.
What is going on here? We’re not talking about two “average Joes.” These men were Nadav and Avihu! They were among the greatest Jews of their time! In fact, despite their sin, we are told they were otherwise righteous in every way!
Principles vs. Perfection
Many people are having trouble finding a marriage partner these days. They cannot seem to find the “right one,” their “soulmates.” We need to learn from Nadav and Avihu not to turn down a prospective spouse because we think he or she is not “good enough” for us. Make no mistake, we must not compromise on our principles when looking for a spouse, but we do have to stop looking for (demanding!) perfection. We have to realize that nobody has everything. The most important thing to look for in a spouse is personality, compatibility, attraction and the ability to run a home and raise a family in accordance with one’s beliefs.
Let us take the message straight from the messenger. We cannot allow ourselves to be taken over by ego and other false visions of grandeur. This is especially true when it comes to finding a spouse. Let us realize that we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and the best spouse is someone who will complement them.
For more insights by Rabbi Ari Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below: