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    Nadav & Avihu – Sh’mini

    Chapter 10 of Vayikra tells us how Aaron’s sons Nadav and Avihu met their death.

    Since all the names in the Torah have a significance we wonder whether these two men had names that had a special connection with their fate. It could be that both names reflect a positive appreciation of what they did.

    Nadav means “willing”, “a volunteer”, since he stepped forward and brought “strange fire” to the altar, possibly out of extreme piety, though the sages have a range of other interpretations of the fire, including the idea that the two men gave rulings in the presence of their elders or that they refused to get married.

    Avihu probably means “He is my father”. The “He” may refer to God, allowing us to link the name with a Midrash that says that Avihu was the type of person referred to in Kohelet 7:15, which speaks of a righteous man who died in his righteousness.

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