Parshat Shemini contains the unfortunate incident of two of Aaron’s eldest sons dying because they brought an unauthorized offering before G-d. The Passuk (verse) describes how Nadav and Avihu each brought their own pan before G-d, and the fire consumed them instead of their offerings (10:1-2). Why would the Torah have to tell us that they each took their own pan when it could have just as easily told us that they each took a pan?

Rabbi Henach Leibowitz (in his book Majesty of Man) quotes a Yalkut Shimoni (Aggadic compilation, 524:20) that helps answer our question and offers great insight into human nature. He explains that in addition to not discussing their plan with Moshe, each brother took their own pan without consulting with each other. Had the brothers conferred with each other first, they may have talked through the issues and realized that what they were about to do was wrong.

Asking for advice is not always easy, especially when pride and ego can get in the way. With social distancing measures separating us even further these days, it’s even more important to stay connected, communicate, learn from each other, and be inspired by those around us.