Shemini. In the Wake of Tragedy
On the day of the Mishkan’s dedication, disaster struck.
As a Divine, heavenly fire emerged and consumed the offerings on the altar, expressing God’s joyous revelation to Israel, that same fire struck and killed two young priests, sons of Aharon.
Aharon was functioning as the High Priest and his remaining two sons were the only other priests. Who else could perform the "Avoda" of the Sanctuary? Moses instructed Aharon and his sons to continue the day’s sacrificial service (10:6). The service had to be completed.
But not exactly:
"Then Moses inquired about the goat of sin offering, and it had already been burned! He was angry with Elazar and Itamar, Aharon’s remaining sons, and said, "Why did you not eat the sin offering in the sacred area? … Aharon spoke to Moses, "See, this day they brought their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, and such things have befallen me! Had I eaten sin offering today, would the Lord have approved?" And when Moses heard this, he approved." (10:16-19)
To explain, the priests had been instructed to eat the meat of the sin-offering. Instead, they burned it!
Moses responds with anger; after all, they should have followed the rule