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Parshat Shemini


5760 This week we read of how G-d punishes Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron the High Priest, for improperly entering the Holy of Holies, and how Moses …..praises them! This seems to be very confusing. First of all, why did G-d kill them; what did they do that was so bad? Second, why did Moses praise them; what did they do that was so great? And it seems that Moses agreed that they for some reason, deserved death… so why did he praise them?
5761 This week’s section tells the strange and tragic story of the death of two of Ahron’s sons. Strange, because their death was caused by their rushing into the “Holy of Holies” on its opening day... stoned drunk! (Rashi 10:2).
5762 This week's section lists the animals that Jews are forbidden to eat. Although the Torah was given some 3,300 years ago in the isolation of the Sinai Desert, it is amazingly accurate here. It informs us that The Hare the Rabbit and the Camel are the only animals in the world that chew their cuds and don't have split feet, and the Pig is the only one that has split feet and doesn't chew its cud.
5763 At the end of this week's section we read two strange sentences: "I am G-d your L-rd, sanctify yourselves and be Holy (Kadosh) because I am Holy (and don't defile yourself with crawling things)." And again in the next sentence: "I am G-d…. be holy because I am Holy" (11:44, 45)
5764 This week's section begins with the inauguration day of the "Mishkan': the portable Holy Temple that accompanied the Jews for forty years in the desert (and four hundred and forty more after they entered Israel until the First Temple was built in Jerusalem). The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that this should make us remember the Temples, regret their loss, and bring us to a tremendous yearning for the Moshiach who will build the third and final Temple.
5765 This week's section is called "Eighth" referring to the eighth and final day of the preparations for the opening of the Tabernacle in the desert. In the writings of Kabbalah and Chassidut the number 'eight' signifies 'above nature'. When we consider that this implies being above even the spiritual worlds this section must have some very high lessons.
5766 This week's section tells of the eighth and final day of the inauguration of the Tabernacle in the desert. At first glance it is not understood why it had to fall out on the eighth day. Isn't the number seven holy in Judaism? The Sabbath is the seventh day and so is the Shmita, and so is the Jubilee year.
5767 This week’s section tells of the death of Nadav and Avihu, punished by G-d for entering the Holy of Holies on the opening day of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The Torah does not praise death, or even the rewards of the afterlife.
5768 This week's Torah reading is called 'Shemini' ("Eight"), referring to the Eighth and final day of the inauguration of the 'Tabernacle' in the Desert. The Tabernacle was a quite remarkable and unique detail of Judaism. It was a large, portable 'Temple' made mostly of wood and tapestries containing; a large animal-sacrifice altar, a smaller incense altar, a seven stem candelabra, a 'Holy of Holies' room with the Tablets that Moses got on Mt. Sinai and more.
5769 This week's Torah portion tells us of the sad opening day of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) in the desert. Nadav and Avihu, the two holy sons of Aaron the High Priest, entered the Holy of Holies improperly and died.
5770 This week we read about the first day that the Holy Temple (called the 'Mishkan' and later the 'Bait HaMikdash') began to function. On this very powerful and holy day G-d was revealed and experienced in this world (in the 'Holy of Holies' room of the Mishkan) as He was at Mount Sinai!
5771 This week’s Torah portion begins with a bizarre tragedy: On the day that the Jews inaugurated the first ‘House of G-d’ ever, the Tabernacle in the desert, Aaron’s two eldest sons, Nadav and Avihu, became so infatuated with the holiness that they rushed in to the Holy of Holies and were killed by flames that entered their nostrils.
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