Sung in Eichah trop
“Aaron was silent” (Lev. 10:3).
My sons. I cannot breathe, I cannot speak their names, my heart has no words, just No, I say no, this cannot be; when all that is left of my boys is ashes.
Their names folded into that fire- air, flames that sucked breath from their souls.
God, you chose me, You dressed me, you have me set aside portions of korbanot to taste, yet all I taste today is ashes. You chose me – and through me You chose my sons – for this, for this, you chose me?
You deemed their fire “zarah/strange”, yet my sons made pans of fire for Your honour. What was so strange in their fire, delicate pan-fire they made for You?
They were so young, O God, they were so young and maybe brash. They wanted to bring fire to You in Your midst, as You have brought fire to us, in our own midst.
In my mouth now, are ashes, afar, from the eish-flames You sent to lick the life from my sons.
Your fire consumed them. My boys, I will name them to You; my Nadav, my noble one and Avihu, named for my father, afar l’afar.
I don’t know when I might shape sound to leave my lips. I can only stand still in silence; my weeping well-hidden, my soul a chasm deep within.
Adonai, You chose Moshe to guide us from Mitzrayim, my brother, the one whose lips and tongue could not form words, you asked me to be his voice. Now I am voice-less, I have nothing, nothing, but emptiness, emptiness. Silence fills me, fills my mouth, fills me, I am an echo of silence within me.
I stand in this emptiness where once they stood; there is no-thing in that space, there is no-time, there is no-body and now I too am mere void.
God you are All Presence, Ein Sof and I? I am only Absence.
And you, Moshe, you come to me now, to my boys Itamar, to Elazar – and you say, ”Do not dishevel your hair, do not rent your clothes.” That we might die? That I might cause anger? My heart is rent, my life is rent – but we should not rent our garments?
You want me to make a korban? Burn it, burn it all, my tongue like yours is now burnt with coals. Such things have befallen me. Today, offer me no meat, I will only eat coal. Only eat ash. Leave me now.
And Moses, he heard this rebuke from Aaron and he said, “You are right.”
And God listened, and God taught what was tamei and what was tahor, what was to eat and what was not to eat.
And God told Aharon and Moshe – You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
And Aharon remained silent.