Lamentations: Third Kinah: Stanza 2 – Line 6
“…the fire and the flaming coal that went forth from Hashem.”: Bamidbar 16:35: “A fire went out from before God and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who offered the incense.” This refers
to the 250 compatriots of Korach who rebelled against Moshe and Aharon.
Each one was convinced that they could replace Aharon, and were in fact more deserving of his position as Kohen Gadol than he was. Their intentions were to serve God. In fact, their fire pans were so holy that they were melted down and used as a cover for the altar.
We find again that we refer to the fire of God that went out against those who wanted to be closer to Him.
We are not discussing the destruction of people who wanted to rebel. We are drawing parallels between the destruction of the Temple and the fire of God that consumed those who drew close in an improper way.
This is perhaps the mightiest challenge of one who wants to draw closer to God and feels that he must do it alone because there is no one to guide him. Is it possible to know where the boundaries are? Is it still possible to draw too close and end up being consumed by the fire of God?
TB Yoma 77a: “The angel, Gabriel, although instructed to take one of the coals from the altar and drop it on the Temple to burn it, allowed the coal to cool off before dropping it in order to limit the destruction.”