Kohen - First Aliya - 16 p'sukim - 9:1-16
Aharon's OLAH was the ram, reminding us of AKEIDAT YITZCHAK. No sin associated with that. (Olah is not always about sin.) Our CHATAT was a goat, reminding us of our former collective sin of the selling of Yosef and deception of Yaakov with the help of the blood of a goat.
[SDT] The Kohen Gadol removes his gold garments before entering the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, because the accuser does not become the defender. Why then would we not make the same argument against Aharon's offering of a calf on the Mizbei'ach? Rashi indicates that the super-sensitivity involved here applies inside the Mikdash, but not outside (at the Altar).
Here's a general answer to this question and others. Horns from the bovine family of animals are not acceptable as a Shofar. On the other hand, look at these korbanot. The K.G. didn't enter "inward" with gold, but what greeted him inside was an ARON plated with gold, gold rings, gold covered poles, a solid gold lid, and K'RUVIM of gold. Bottom line: G-d is the Boss. If He commands us to use gold, we use it. If He says no, we don't. Calf, cow, yes, no. Fine with us. Yes AND no, just as G-d commands. Apply your own logic and do what you decide is best - WRONG. Not up to us. Halacha tells us what is appropriate.
[SDT] Many commentaries say that the Eighth Day was Rosh Chodesh Nissan. This means that the seven preparatory days began in Adar. There is, however, another possibility: The inauguration of the Mishkan began on Rosh Chodesh and the Eighth Day was the 8th of Nissan. What supports this idea is the opinion that the people who approached Moshe about their being TAMEI for the first Pesach (a year out of Mitzrayim). There is a tradition that they were Misha'el and Eltzafon who tended to the bodies of Nadav and Avihu. This could work out only if the Eighth Day was the 8th of Nissan.
The Torah spelled YADAV, his hands, without the second YUD, making the word resemble YADO, his hand. From here comes the tradition of the kohanim holding their two hands together as one during Birchat Kohanim.
Then Nadav and Avihu, two sons of Aharon (who had been assisting Aharon), took censers with fire and offered incense before G-d. The fire was their own, not that of the Altar. A Divine Fire struck them dead, consuming them from within, leaving them outwardly unmarked. Moshe's words of consolation to Aharon are met with Aharon's silence.
Moshe calls two cousins, Misha'el and Eltzafan, sons of Uziel, to remove the bodies. (That Aharon would not be allowed to become TAMEI to his sons is known from the rules of Kohein Gadol. But neither were Elazar and Itamar allowed to tend to the bodies. Although they were not kohein gadol, they had been anointed to the k'huna which gave them the status of Kohein Gadol. Hence, the cousins (who were Leviyim) had to be called.
(Almost in reaction to the terrible tragedy,) the Torah next sets down several rules (mitzvot) for kohanim to save them from endangering their lives. Kohanim may not enter the Mikdash with long hair (a monthly trim was required) , nor with torn garments . They may not leave the Mikdash while performing their sacred work . Furthermore, kohanim may not enter the Mikdash while under the influence of wine .
Violations of any of the above would be a show of disrespect to G-d.
The Written Word forbids a Kohen from doing sacred service while having recently drunk wine. Sefer HaChinuch gives a second definition for mitzva, based on the Oral Law. Namely, a halachic authority may not render a decision (psak) while under the influence of alcohol. (It seems that this prohibition does not apply to divrei Torah and the like - only to halachic decisions.)
This is NOT an example of Rabbinic extension of a Torah Law. In this case, the Chinuch is stating that the D'Orayta level of this prohibition applies beyond the written context from which the mitzva is drawn. There is a subtle point here that is easy to miss.
Look at it this way: May a psak halacha be rendered by someone who has drunk wine? The correct answer is: No, and it is TORAH LAW. But where does it say that? It's talking about a kohen in the Mikdash? The answer comes from the Oral Law.
The Chinuch, in his last paragraph of this mitzva, says that the first definition applies in the time of the Mikdash, to men and women - no one may enter the Mikdash under the influence. The second definition of the mitzva, he says, applies to men AND WOMEN WHO ARE QUALIFIED TO ISSUE HALACHIC RULINGS. It seems to be the opinion of the Sefer HaChinuch, written almost 800 years ago, that there can be women poskim (poskot). So when in our own time we see the "birth" of the concept of YO'ETZET HALACHA, that this isn't such a new-fangled thing after all.
[SDT] Two of the other "traditions" as to what Nadav and Avihu did wrong are that they decided a point of halacha on their own, in the presence of their "rebbi" (Moshe), and that they did not consult with anyone in this halachic matter. It behooves us to learn a serious, sober (purposeful choice of the word) lesson from all of the possible flaws in the actions of Nadav and Avihu. One must becareful when it comes to deciding the correct halacha for oneself and his family. Consulting a Rav is a good idea.
Moshe gets angry with Elazar and Itamar for not eating of the korbanot, as they were instructed to do. Aharon defends his sons' behavior by explaining that the loss of their brothers would make a "business as usual" attitude unacceptable in G-d's eyes. Moshe accepts Aharon's words.
Our Sages teach us to learn from Moshe Rabbeinu. Just as he was not embarrassed to admit that he did not know (or did not remember) learning a point, so should we readily admit it when we do not know something.
There is a positive mitzva to check the signs of kashrut of a mammal to determine its kashrut status . It is forbidden to eat of animals that lack one of the signs of kashrut (split hoof and cud chewing), and certainly those that lack both . The Torah names three animals that chew their cud but do not have split hooves - the camel, shafan, arnevet, and one that has a split hoof but is not a ruminent - the pig. We may not eat their meat, and handling their carcasses renders one TAMEI, ritually unclean.
Notice that Shafan and Arnevet are not translated. Rabbit and hare are from modern Hebrew and are probably not what the Torah was referring to. Coney and rock badger are popular translations, but we're not sure. Rabbi Moshe Tendler thinks that they might be the alpaca and llama. Hyrax and Jerboa are other candidates.
Some scholars explain that we can consider rabbit and hare-like mammals to be cud-chewers because the regurgitate their partially digested food and eat it again later on or excrete partially digested matter and eat their first waste. Digestion is completed this second time around. This resembles the process of chewing the cud and can conceivably be considered as such.
The positive mitzvot and prohibitions of kashrut interact as in the following example: A person goes into a restaurant for dinner and has a delicious meal. On is way out, he meets someone who asks him if the restaurant is kosher. He embarrassingly admits that he assumed it was but didn't check for a Certificate when he went in. He looks around and discovers to his relief that in fact the restaurant has a reliable hashgacha. He would be in no violation of the prohibitions, but he would be in non-fulfillment of the (spirit of the) positive mitzva to check for signs of kashrut.
With birds, the Torah lists about 20 kinds of birds (not species, families, genus, etc. - kinds) that are not kosher . All the rest of the birds are kosher. So how do know if a particular bird is in one of the forbidden families or not? Usually, the answer is TRADITION. We eat chicken etc. because we have an unbroken tradition that it is kosher.
The comment made in the preceding paragraph about kinds of birds, as opposed to the scientific classification of today's biologists was meant to raise the foillowing possibility. Let's say that OREIV means raven and crow. There could very well be a bird that of Sages would place in the raven category that scientists would not. This could be because of different criteria applied to grouping different species. The kashrut status of animals, the guidelines for which animals can and cannot be cross-bred by Jewish law, and other halachic issues are determined by halacha, and not necessarily by biology's rules of taxonomy.
Finally, the Torah specifies four types (8 families) of locust that we may eat. Checking their identities is a mitzva . All other insects are not permitted to us. We have lost the ability of identifying kosher locust, so we don't eat any of them. Those with a desire in that direction will be able to clarify the issue with a Sanhedrin of the future. Some Yemenites claim they have the necessary traditions to identify the kosher varieties, and you can find directions of preparation and recipes for locust dishes (e.g. Crispy French-fried Grasshoppers) in some kosher Yemenite cookbooks.
All of the above is meant to elevate the Jew's soul to the sanctity that G-d wanted us to attain. For us, there is a direct link between body and soul, the spiritual and the mundane. The laws of kashrut bring the point home.
Basically, explain the commentaries, Uza's "sin" was excessive familiarity with the sacred Aron. This same behavioral flaw was responsible for the demise of Nadav and Avihu in the parsha, hence the choice of this portion for the Haftara.
Rabbi Julian G. Jacobs in his A Haftara Companion makes a very astute observation. He note that Uza's father is Avinadav, a name that immediately reminds us of Nadav and Avihu. Is it possible, asks Rabbi Jacobs suggests that it is unlikely that the similarity in the names escaped those who chose the Haftara portions to match the sedras of the Torah.
INSIGHT... Rav Yaakov Moshe Poupko explains that there are two main categories of sin — being to far away from the Divine, and being too close.
The other is offered as a korban whose blood is brought into the Holy of Holies by the Kohen Gadol. The goats are supposed to be as similar to each other as is possible. But look at how different the roles they play in the Yom Kippur service.
King David, on the other hand, dances with joy before the Aron on itsreturn to Yerushalayim. His wife Michal criticizes him for his "inappropriate" behavior, but she is wrong in this case. It is not easy to find the right way of expressing one's religious fervor without overstepping one's bounds and also without underdoing things.
The Haftara also tells of the original plan for David to build the Mikdash, and then the prophetic message of Natan, that David will not, but his son Shlomo will. The House of David has a different meaning, the Davidic line.