68. קָם רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר, פָּתַח וְאָמַר, וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה אַחֲרֵי מוֹת שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן וְגוֹ’. בַּפָּסוּק הַזֶּה יֵשׁ לְהִסְתַּכֵּל, שֶׁנִּרְאֶה שֶׁהוּא מְיֻתָּר, שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּתוּב אַחֲרָיו, וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה דַּבֵּר אֶל אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ. מִכָּאן רֵאשִׁית הַפָּרָשָׁה, הַפָּסוּק הַזֶּה שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מַה הוּא, שֶׁכָּתוּב וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה? מַה הוּא שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ, וְאַחַר כָּךְ וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה?
Zohar Acharei Mot
Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Elazar came to the house of Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair that came to welcome them. He kissed Rabbi Shimon’s and said, “I merited kissing the Shechina, how fortunate I am”. Rabbi Pinchas set for them fancy bed linen but Rabbi Shimon said that it is not needed. He removed the linens and sat.
Rabbi Pinchas said, before we eat, let us hear from the sage of the Torah because Rabbi Shimon reveals his words without fear from above or below. He has no fear from above because the Holy One Blessed be He agrees with him. He has no fear of those below like a lion has no fear of sheep.
Rabbi Shimon asked Rabbi Elazar, his son, to stand and reveal new Torah studies before Rabbi Pinchas and the other friends.
“וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה אַחֲרֵי מוֹת שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן בְּקָרְבָתָם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וַיָּמֻתוּ.”
“וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, דַּבֵּר אֶל-אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ, וְאַל-יָבֹא בְכָל-עֵת אֶל-הַקֹּדֶשׁ, מִבֵּית לַפָּרֹכֶת–אֶל-פְּנֵי הַכַּפֹּרֶת אֲשֶׁר עַל-הָאָרֹן, וְלֹא יָמוּת, כִּי בֶּעָנָן, אֵרָאֶה עַל-הַכַּפֹּרֶת”
“Now YHVH spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before YHVH and died;”
“And YHVH said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he dies; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.”
Rabbi Elazar says that the first verse looks unnecessary because the verse that follows also reads that YHVH spoke to Moses.
Continued in the next study
Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair was a wise man and a great Torah scholar. He was Rabbi Shimon’s father-in-law and older than him and yet, he respected him and treated him as the Shechina because Rabbi Shimon was on a high level and the Shechina was with him at all times.
Rabbi Shimon refused the special honor offered to him by his father in law because, for him, comfort would ‘grounds’ him to a lower level.
On the way up we need to be ‘Lighter’.
The practical application of this lesson is that we should focus on the goals we set to ourselves without distractions of temporary pleasures.