Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Shemini - 5774
REWARD FOR SILENCE
In the opening verses of the laws of Kashrut the Torah states that “Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon saying to them; speak to the Children of Israel saying…” Rashi, quoting the Midrash, notes that the verb speak is in the plural. This was to indicate to Moshe that Aharon, and his children, were to share in the honor of teaching the laws of Kashrut to the People of Israel. They merited this reward for remaining silent and accepting the decree of the death of Nadav and Avihu (the two older children of Aharon).
What we must try to understand is why these teachings were specifically chosen as a reward for silence.
In several areas in the laws of Kashrut information can only be transmitted orally. For example to eat a kosher bird or grasshopper we need a Masoret-Tradition. In order to properly transmit a tradition, a name is not enough. The Rabbi, Shochet or expert in the field must have the specific living creature present, verify that this was indeed a bird he knew as Kosher, and only then it can be slaughtered and considered Kosher. Students who are present and become familiar with the species are carriers of the Masoret. A book cannot serve as a transmitter of a tradition.
Thus in the merit of their incredible silence Aharon and his children became transmitters by means of speech.