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It is not a coincidence that the Parashat Shemini is read on Shabat Mevarechim of Nissan. They ask, what is that eighth day that the parasha talks about after the 7 days of the miluim? It makes reference to Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The Midrash explains that on this day there was big joy in the heavens. There are many great things that happened on that day except for a difficult one. The death of Nadav and Avihu.
This article will focus on the sod of this episode. There is an insight from the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh in parashat Acharei Mot that also applies here. Meditation is all about separating the consciousness from the body. When a person goes to sleep or dies, his consciousness separates from the body at different levels. This separation also could happen at the time of meditation and this is actually the goal of meditation. To control the free separation between body and consciousness.
The death of Nadav and Avihu happened when they were at a profound state of meditation. They were not able to pull their soul back into their bodies because they went beyond their physical limits. It is of great importance that a person should have a teacher in his spiritual path. Even more so these days we need guidance from a competent rabbi. A competent rabbi would set the correct pace of growth for the person. There are certain techniques that are more open and that could be done even without a guidance, but if a person wants to take it to a different level, he should have guidance.
We should learn from Nadav and Avihu to be aware of our limits and that it is all about patience. We need to be honest with ourselves and be humble enough to be guided by a rabbi.