"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." My Dad used to say that any time I embarrassed my mother, as he often did.

In today's Daily Office readings, we learn that Moses' brother Aaron dropped four apples. The first two, Nadab and Abihu, seemed to have inherited the qualities that led Aaron to build a golden calf. We are told they, "died before the Lord when they offered unholy fire before the Lord." Numbers 3:4. But reflecting Aaron's better days, his sons Eleazar and Ithamar served faithfully as priests.

Have you ever wondered why it feels like half the Old Testament is names or genealogies? We tend to skip over them. But to the original audience, all the names held powerful meaning. Hebrew is a beautifully structured language. Every word can be broken into "morphemes" that hold meaning and together hint at the gist of the word. The same is true of names.

With a little help from Google, you can dissect them as well as I can after picking grapefruit and learning Hebrew on a kibbutz. Nadab means "generous," and Abihu means "He is my Father." These meanings hint at virtue. But the names of the other two brothers draw a contrast. Eleazar means "my God has helped." Ithamar roughly means "moving toward the palms of the coast." Then, as now, the coast brought delight as a place where God's creative powers are unmistakable.

Eleazar and Ithamar let God's power work through them. They didn't need to be the star. Something to be learned here?
 
Pastor Kathleen Kelly,   
Interim Rector  

Illustration from 1890 Holman Bible of the consecration of Aaron and his sons.
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