25 Shmini

וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי קָר֣א מֹשֶה לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו וּלְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

It came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel.

Shabbat

Name

Parasha

Haftora

Brit Chadasha

April 18
2020

Shmini
“Eight”

Leviticus
9:1-11:47

2 Samuel
6:1-19

Mark 7:1-23
Gal 2:11-16

 

25 ShminiParshat Shmini juxtaposes two sacrifices, both offered to God by Israelites in the desert and both summoning Divine fire, but with tragically different consequences. The first series of sacrifices was offered by Aaron and his sons and was rewarded:  the presence of the Lord appeared to all the people and fire forth from before the Lord consumed the burnt offering and the fat parts on the altar (Leviticus 9:8-24). The second, incense offered by Aaron’s sons Nadav and Avihu, come before the altar and offer “strange fire.” Without any sense of warning, a divine fire issues forth and consumes Aaron’s offspring, fire came forth from the Lord and consumed them; thus, they died (Leviticus 10:2). And Aaron was silent” (Lev. 10:1–3). Aaron response is a powerful example of mourning for the loss of his loved ones.

We learn that Moses struggles with the same issue, trying to find an explanation. He wants to offer consolation to his beloved brother, yet he takes care not to betray his responsibility as the leader who must teach the people to follow God’s teachings and instructions.

Moses consecrated the Tabernacle, the home of the Ark of the Covenant, while in the haftarah, David set out to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. The Parasha relates the highpoint of the Sanctuary in the desert, the Mishkan, opens with the initiation of the Tabernacle altar. After a seven-day period of ordination, sacrifices are commanded for the first time. Moses arranges Aaron and his sons, and tells them very specifically the nature of the sacrifices that God has commanded: “this is what the Lord has commanded that you do, so that the Presence of the Lord may appear to you”