Between the lines of the Bible, we glimpse the difficulties — even tragedy — of Moses, the greatest prophet in history, who sees himself losing the fealty of his people. Moses feels that he is failing to direct the Israelites toward the very goal of the Exodus: the conquest and settlement of the Land of Israel. Where has he gone wrong, and why?
Our biblical portion opens with the exalting and exultant ceremonies of the consecration of the desert Sanctuary, closely followed by a description of the tragic death of Aaron’s two eldest sons. These events lead to a fascinating halachic discussion between Moses and Aaron that has important ramifications for our religious attitudes today.