Have Questions or Comments?
Leave us some feedback and we'll reply back!

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Phone Number)

    In Reference to

    Your Message


    The Torah in Parashat
    Bamidbar briefly
    recounts the death
    of Nadab and Abihu,
    Aharon’s two older
    sons: “Nadab and Abihu died before G-d…
    and they had no children” (3:4). The Gemara
    in Masechet Yebamot interprets this verse
    to mean that Nadav and Abihu died because
    they did not beget children. On this basis,
    the Gemara establishes that one who does
    not involve himself in Periya Ve’ribya – the
    Misva of begetting children – is liable to
    death, just as Nadab and Abihu died because
    of their refusal to have children.
    The commentators raise the question as to
    how the Gemara can attribute Nadab and
    Abihu’s death to their decision not to have
    children. After all, the Torah right here in
    this Pasuk states explicitly that they died
    on account of their irreverence toward
    the Mishkan, for bringing an unwarranted
    offering. And the Midrash gives other
    reasons for their untimely death – drinking
    wine before entering the Mishkan, and
    acting disrespectfully toward Moshe and
    Aharon. How, then, are we to understand the
    Gemara’s comment that Nadab and Abihu
    died because of their decision not to beget

    The Hatam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer of
    Pressburg, 1762-1839) explained that Nadab
    and Abihu’s refusal to have children is the
    root cause of their other sins, which all have
    to do with a lack of respect. The irreverence
    they showed toward Moshe and Aharon and
    toward the Mishkan was the result of their
    failure to cultivate proper Middot (character
    traits) – a failure which could have been
    averted if they had begotten children.
    Parenting, the Hatam Sofer says, is the most
    effective means of perfecting one’s character.
    Children look to their parents as examples to
    follow, and thus parents have no choice but
    to be careful how they speak and act. Keenly
    aware of the effect our behavior has on our
    children’s character development, we are
    forced to conduct ourselves in a dignified,
    respectful and becoming manner. Strange
    as it may seem, parenting is not only about
    building our children, but also about building
    ourselves. We perfect our characters by
    being parents, as the role forces us to conduct
    ourselves in the way we want our children
    to behave. And so, the Hatam Sofer says,
    Nadab and Abihu died because they did not
    have children. Being childless denied them
    the opportunity to develop their characters
    and their sense of humility and respect, and
    thus indirectly caused their untimely death.
    On Shabuot we read the Aseret Hadibberot –

    the Ten Commandments that Beneh Yisrael
    heard at Sinai. The Midrash comments that
    the Ten Commandments are divided into
    two sets of five, and each commandment
    corresponds to the parallel commandment
    in the other set. Thus, for example, the first
    commandment – “I am Hashem your G-d”
    – corresponds to the sixth commandment
    – murder – because murder constitutes the
    destruction of the divine image. The second
    commandment – idolatry – corresponds
    to the seventh commandment – adultery
    – because worshipping a foreign deity is
    a betrayal of G-d comparable to marital
    infidelity. Interestingly enough, according
    to this structure, the fifth commandment
    – honoring parents – corresponds to “Lo
    Tahmod,” the prohibition against envy. The
    Midrash explains that somebody who is
    envious of other people will have children
    who disrespect him and will show respect to
    other people in their lives, instead, and this
    accounts for the implied link between these
    Why are disrespectful children the
    consequence of envy?
    If children grow up around envious parents,
    who frequently speak of their desire to have
    what others have, then they, the children, will
    naturally become envious people. And it is

    then likely that they will be envious of their
    friends’ parents. If we cause our children
    to be jealous people, we may very well be
    causing them to disrespect us – because they
    will be jealous of their friends and show
    greater respect to their friends’ parents than
    to their own parents.
    Parenting is a precious privilege and
    opportunity for many reasons, and one
    reason which we should not overlook is the
    way it can help us become better people. But
    this will only happen if we remember how
    much our behavior affects our children’s
    development, that the way we act directly
    impacts upon their characters. By being
    careful how we act and speak around our
    children, we not only help them develop
    and cultivate proper Middot – but we help
    ourselves perfect our own characters, as well.