In the course of the Torah’s census in this week’s parasha of Bemidbar, it reminds us that Aharon’s sons Nadav and Avihu died when they brought a “strange fire,” an esh zara, somewhat strangely adding u-banim lo hayu lahem, “they did not have children.” The Talmud in Yevamot explains that if Nadav and Avihu had been parents, they would not have been put to death. Rabbi Yosef Leib Sofer in his Yalkut Sofer explains this means that sometimes God withholds punishments from parents who deserve them simply because they have children to raise in the ways of Torah.
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