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Drawing by Pepe Fainberg

In her book, "On Death and Dying", Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

Parashat Shimini has its own story of grief, with the sudden death of Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron, immediately following the inauguration of the Sanctuary. After Moses turns to his brother with words of explanation and/or comfort, Aaron’s reaction is recorded in two short words: וַיִּדֹּם אַהֲרֹן

This succinct response has been translated as following:

1. And Aaron remained silent (The Living Torah by Aryeh Kaplan)
2. And Aaron was silent (JPS and Jewish Study Bible)
3. And Aaron was calmed (Silberman)
4. And Aaron held his peace (Jerusalem Bible)
5. And Aaron moaned and mourned (Baruch A. Levine)

How do these translations relate to common responses to tragedy and grief? How can we understand Aaron’s reaction within Kübler-Ross's model?

In our course Vayikra (Leviticus): A Call to Holiness, we explore these ideas and questions. 

CREDIT: Drawing by Pepe Fainberg, Jerusalem Post

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