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Hashem did not want to mete out any punishments at the giving of the Torah in order to not ruin the joy of the moment (Rashi to Shemos 24:11). But Hashem was fine with seemingly ruining the joy of the inauguration of the Mishkan with the deaths of Nadav and Avihu (Vayikra 10:1-2).

Why the discrepancy?

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    Targum Jonathan may address this. It essentially says that the entire nation will see such a death and Gd will be glorified. Har Sinai was a unique occurence and the foundation of the very core of the Jewish People. Service in the tabernacle was the opposite, a perpetual duty that could lend itself to abuse, intrigue, and laxness. It needed to be made clear from the get go that there were clear boundaries, and that those boundaries were not to be trifled with. No timefor actual source, so I'm leaving as comment. Someone is welcom toconvert to answer. Its the verse in which Moses comforts Aaron – Baby Seal Mar 24 '14 at 2:33
  • @BabySeal I had a thought along those lines - Yom Chasunaso vs. Yom Simchas Libo. But I'm hoping to get something more developed as an answer. – Y     e     z Mar 24 '14 at 2:35
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Awesome question! Rav Yisroel Reisman quotes Rav Schwab who asks this very question and explains that simcha is absolutely crucial for learning Torah. The Almighty couldn't have Nadav and Avihu die at this point in time. However, the Mishkan could still work without the full simcha required for kabbalas haTorah.

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