Parashas Shemini is the third parsha in the Book of Vayikra. It contains 91 pesukim. For the Haftora, King Dovid's bringing of the Aron is read.
 Eighth Inauguration Day
The eighth inauguration day took place on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Moshe instructed Aharon regarding the day's special schedule in the presents of the Elders, thereby conveying to them that it was by the express command of Hashem that Aharon was entering into the Kehunah Gedolah, preventing them from claiming he entered on his own accord. Aharon was to sacrifice the following unblemished animals on that day...
- Korban Chatas - an unblemished bull calf as a sin offering. This informed Aharon that Hashem had granted him atonement through this sacrifice for his role in the incident of the golden calf.
- Korban Olah - an unblemished ram as a burnt offering
- Chatas - an unblemished he goat as a sin offering
- First Olah - an unblemished calf in its first year, as a burnt offering
- Second Olah - an unblemished lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering
- First Shilamim - an ox as a peace offering
- Second Shilamim - a ram as a peace offering
- Mincha - a meal offering mixed with oil
Animals for these sacrifices were brought and placed in front of the Ohel Moed and the entire Nation gathered at this location and stood before Hashem. These unique one time sacrifices were mandatory on that day and served the special task of drawing down the Shechina into the Mishkan.
 Aharon's Services
Throughout all seven days of the investitures, Moshe had erected the Mishkan, performed its services then dismantled it daily, yet the Shechinah did not come to rest in it. This brought humiliation to the Jews who thought all their efforts to bring down the Shichina and prove they were forgiven for the sin of the golden calf had been in waste. Moshe responded that his brother Aharon was more worthy and important than him and through his offerings and services the Shechinah would descend to dwell among the Jews. Which would also prove that Aharon had been selected for the position of high priest by Hashem.
Moshe commanded Ahron in the name of Hashem to approach the altar and perform the sacrifice of his sin bull-calf (Chatas) and ram burnt (Olah) offerings, atoning for yourself and the people. Then he was to perform the people's sacrifice of the he-goat, calf and lamb and atone for them. These actions were to bring down the glory of Hashem.
Aharon was bashful and afraid to approach the altar out of humility and fear for the honor of the Shechina. Moshe ordered and strengthened him, telling Aharon that he should not be ashamed for he had been chosen to perform these tasks. He then commanded him to offer the sacrifices, which were to serve as an atonement for himself and the Nation. First Aharon offered the daily morning Korban Tomid, proceeding only after this with the other sacrifices.
 Aharon's Sacrifices
Chatas - Aharon approached the altar and slaughtered his sin offering calf. His sons collected the blood brought it to him, Aharon dipped his finger into the blood, placing some on the horns of the altar, he then poured the remaining blood at the base of the altar. He then took the fat, kidneys, and diaphragm with the liver and burnt it on the altar. Aharon then burnt the remaining flesh and hide in a fire outside the camp. This burning was an exception to the general rule of all external sin-offerings (whose blood is sprinkled on the outside altar) which are eaten by the kohanim. It was only here and by the 'ox sin-offerings' offered during the 'seven days of inauguration' that this exception was made, at the express command of Hashem.
Olah - Aharon slaughtered the burnt offering. His sons presented him the blood which he proceeded to dash around the altar. They then presented the dissected burnt offering to Aharon in pieces, including the head and he burnt these on the altar. Aharon washed the innards and the legs, and burnt them on the altar as well.
 Public Sacrifices
Mincha - Aharon brought forward the meal offering, filled his palm with it using the 'Kmitza' technique, and burnt it on the altar.
Shilamim - Aharon continued to slaughter the ox and ram, the nations's Shilomim peace offering. His sons presented him the blood and he dashed it around on the altar. They proceeded to presented him the fats from the ox and ram, including: the tail, the fat that covers the innards, the kidneys and the diaphragm with the liver. They handed Aharon the portions with the fats placed on top of the breasts, he did a Tenufa waving and then burnt them on the alter.
 Priestly Blessing
Aharon lifted up his hands towards the Jews and blessed them with the Birchat Kohanim, reciting the three pesukim of Yivarechecha,Yar and Yisa He then descended from the altar after having sacrificed the sin offerings, burnt offerings and peace offerings.
 Second Blessing
Moshe took Aharon into the Ohel Moed to teach him the procedure for burning the Ketoret incense. Additionally, Aharon saw that all the sacrifices had been offered and all the procedures had been performed, yet the Shechinah had not descended for Jews. He was distressed, blaming himself, saying the Shichinah had not descended since Hashem was angry at him. He then accused Moshe of putting him in this embarrassing predicament, having announced to all the Jews that the Shechina would descend in merit of Ahraon's services. Right away Moshe took Aharon into the Ohel Moed, where aside for reviewing the burning of the Ketoret, they also prayed for mercy that the Shechinah should descend.
Moshe and Aharon came out and blessed the Jews as a continuation of their prayers, saying; “May the pleasantness of Hashem, be upon us", meaning; "May it be Hashem’s will that the Shechinah rest in the work of your hands.”
 Descent of Shechinah
After the second blessing, the glory of Hashem appeared to all the people and a heavenly fire descended onto the Mizbeach, consuming the burnt offering and the fats upon the altar. Seeing this, the Jews sang praises to Hashem and then fell on their faces.
 Other Sacrifices
Aside from the sacrifices of Aharon and the Nation, the daily Korban Tomid was offered that day, as well as the Rosh Chodes goat offering. Additionally it was the first day of the Korban Nasim and Nachshon ben Aminadav brought his offering.
 Death of Nadav and Avihu
Nadav and Avihu offer a self-decided Ketoret incense and their souls were burnt. Moshe tells Aharon, this incident was foretold by Hashem and he accepts the ruling with silence and love. Moshe commands Mishael and Eltzaphan to remove the bodies and Elazar and Itamar to refrain from mourning.
 Foreign Fire
Excited by the divine fire that had descended, Nadab and Abihu, each took a pan with fire and placed incense upon it, bringing this foreign fire that Hashem had not commanded into the Kodesh HaKodashim section of the Mishkan.
Nadav and Avihu interpreted the command "and the sons of Aharon shall place fire on the altar" as instruction to continue and bring mundane fire despite a descent of divine fire.
Additionally Nadav and Avihu had seen the horrible reality how after all the great miracles performed by Moshe and Aharon and the awesome Receiving of the Torah, despite this the Erev Rav had risen, causing tremendous flaws. Now the Mishkan had been erected and the Shichina had descended to the Jewish Nation causing a wounderous rectification in all the Spiritual Worlds that had never happened since Creation, causing the 'Day of Inauguration' to be crowned ten times and be illuminated with the Concealed Light. Nadav and Avihu realized that this was a unique opportunity to completely uproot and eradicate the Sitra Achra to the point where evil men which manifest from the Erev Rav will no longer have any power to cause damage. Knowing that there is nothing that extracts the good from the depth of Klipot and eradicates evil like the burning of the Ketoret, they miscalculated and thought the time was right and through their personal level of great holiness they would be able to awaken the flame of Judgment in tremendous holiness, causing Evil to be burnt to a wisp of smoke. They therefore went ahead and burnt the extra Ketoret out of its proper permitted time.
Despite their good intentions, this was considered a sin for Nadav and Avihu and they were punished since they had attempted to 'push the hour' and bring about rectifications before their proper time. However since their intent was good, their death brought about great rectification and the Mishkan was sanctified through them, a position Moshe had believed would be filled by his death or that of Ahron, leading him to admit that in this element Nadav and Avihu were greater then them.
Nadav and Avihu were on an awesomely high spiritual level and were constantly in a state of complete devotion to Hashem, but according to their great level, committed a number of faults that for them were considered offences. Aside from these offences they were completely clean from faults. It is for this reason that each of the four times Nadav and Avihu are mentioned in the Torah, their offence is mentioned with them, to rebuttal any claim saying they possibly had other hidden sins.
 Ruling Before Master
A student that issues a Halachic ruling in the presents of his master, is deserving of death. Therefore, despite their calculations containing validity, Nadav and Avihu did not have the right to reach an action producing conclusion on their own, without getting a ruling from their master Moshe, who was located in the vicinity.
 Alcoholic Influence
 Entering Kodesh HaKodashim
Nadav and Avihu entered the 'holy of hollies', which even the Kohen Gadol is only allowed to enter one day a year, on Yom Kippor.
 Uncommanded Sacrifice
Nadav and Avihu innovated their own sacrifice that was never commanded by Hashem.
 Strange Fire
Nadav and Avihu took a simple mundane flame from the fireplace.
 Lack of Consul
Not only did they not seek consul from their teacher Moshe, or father Aharon, they did not seek consul from each other and carried out the act without discussing it first one with the other.
 No Marriage
Nadav and Avihu were great, awesome and holy tzadikim that were constantly in a state of devotion to Hashem in extreme happiness and joy and did want to leave this state even for a short time. Part of the tikkun of marriage is to take the misery and suffering that is generally attached to the woman and to turn it into happiness. Therefore Nadav and Avihu chose not to marry since they did not wish to lower themselves to the task of turning this misery into joy. This however was a flaw since complete happiness and holiness can only be attained when one is able to take the actual misery and sadness and turn that into joy.
Part of the rectification and unifications brought about by the Ketoret service involve raising the misery and turning it into happiness. This task of raising the holiness from the depths of the Klipot is only possible for a married individual with constant experience in raising the misery attached to his wife and turning it to joy. Since Nadav and Avihu were flawed on this aspect, they failed to properly perform the part of the meditations and service that involved raising the misery.
When someone attempts to raise elements of holiness from the depths of the Klipot and he fails to do so due to his shortcomings, then instead they strengthen and attack that individual. When Nadav and Avihu failed to raise this element of misery from the depth of the Klipot during their Ketoret ritual, they were attacked and overcome by a strengthened overwhelming misery that is an element of death. This allowed death to gain hold of them and led to their passing.
Similarly Nadav and Avihu avoided marriage as they did not desire to lower themselves from their great holiness to deal with binding the physical realms to Hashem, preferring to concentrate on binding themselves to Hashem properly without descending to raise lower elements. This was also a mistake since it is specifically the highest Tzadikim that have the ability to descend and greatly lower themselves and raise the lowest that are in even the deepest places. In fact this ability is the perfection of truly great Tzadikim, since a Tzadik that just remains aloof at all times is lacking completion.
The Ketoret is higher then all the sacrifices, yet it is specifically the Ketoret that contains the foul smelling Chelbona, a manifestation of evil, symbolizing how also the sinner of Yisroel must be raised. Showing how even the highest are only complete when they are able to descend and raise the lowest. It is specifically because of this that the Ketoret has the ability to nullify all the Klipot, since despite its own lofty emanations it also has an element that allows it to descend to the lowest levels and unify everything to Hashem allowing it to purify even the lowest places.
Nadav and Avihu had all the aspects that lined up with the lofty emanations of the Ketoret but they lacked the one element of the Ketoret that is necessary to descend and raise even the lowest places, since they had been avoiding this service their entire life. Therefore when they sacrificed the Ketoret they could not carry out the proper devotion and meditation needed for the Chelbona and the aspect of raising the low, which equivocated to the Ketoret missing one of its ingredients which brings death upon its burner. Even the Hight Priest can only do the full Ketoret offering in the Kodesh Kodashim on Yom Kipor, the day of atonement where even the lowest are drawn up and their sins forgiven and he himself must be married at the time since if he can not descend to the lower levels and raise them, he will not have the ability to properly perform the Ketoraet offering.
Nadav and Avihu never married and did not have any children since they did not consider any woman worthy for them. This was especially true considering their great yichus as their uncle Moshe held position of 'king', their other uncle from their mother's side, Nachshon ben Aminadav was the leading Nassi, their father Aharon was high priest and they themselves were deputy priests. Had there been a worthy woman it might not have required them to descend much from their level to enter the existence of marriage.
 Anticipating Leadership
When Hashem commanded Moshe and Ahron to ascend to Mount Sinai he instructed Nadav and Avihu to follow behind them. Nadav and Avihu thought in their hearts "when will these two elders pass away and me and you will gain leadership over the public" and even made a commented alluding to that.
 Eating and Drinking
On Mount Sinai during the great revelations, Nadav, Avihu and the Elders gazed too much at the Shichina and that could be comparable to eating and drinking. Accordingly they were worthy of being punished that day but Hashem did not want to spoil the celebration of the Torah, which is comparable to the marriage of His daughter. Instead Hashem deferred the punishment to the day of His personal celebration, the inauguration of the Mishkan."
 Strings of Fire
Two strings of fire emerged from the Kodesh Hakodash, splitting into four strings. Two entered the nose of Nadav and two the nose of Avihu, one string per nostril and burnt their souls, leaving their clothing and external bodies intact. As they were dying, angles pushed them out towards the Azarah, collapsing outside or close by.
 Aharon's Silence
Aharon was troubled, wondering how this sin had fallen upon himself and his sons. Moshe came to comfort him and told him how Hashem had told him earlier that he would sanctify the Mishkan through his 'chosen-honored ones', thereby glorifying Himself in front of the entire Nation. When Hashem exacts judgment upon the righteous, He becomes feared, exalted, and praised. Moshe had been certain that this was prediction of either him or Aharon passing away. Now they had retroactively found out this was a reference to Nadav and Avihu and the Mishkan had been sanctified through them, showing they were indeed greater then them. Once Aharon saw that his sons were cherished by Hashem, he accepted the decree with love and silence.
 Sanctification Through Death
 Removal and Burial
Moshe calls Mishael and Eltzaphan, Aaron's first cousins, sons of his uncle Uzziel, the brother of his father Amram, instructing them to remove the bodies of Nadav and Avehu so their death will not interfere with the joy of inauguration celebrations. Although ordinary kohanim are allowed to become impure through handling the deceased of their immediate family and it is only the kohen gadoel that is forbidden, here there was a special one time instruction that Elazar and Itamar should refrain from doing so.
Mishael and Eltzaphan approached them and carried Nadav and Avehu with the tunics that covered their bodies, outside of the camp.
 Prohibition of Drunkenness in Temple
Hashem speaks directly to Aharon revealing to him the prohibition of drinking before performing services in the Beit Hamikdash or Mishkan as well as before issuing a ruling. Ahron merited this personal prophecy as a reward for accepting the death of his children with silence and love.
 Burnt Rosh Chodesh Goat
Aharon and his two remaining sons eat the Mincha and the meat of the Shilamim offering but burnt the Rosh Chodesh goat offering. They did not want to eat it due to their state of 'Aninus' for Nadav and Avihu. Moshe become upset by this, until Aharon explains that the logic of their actions was based on the additional holiness of the Korban Rosh Chodesh that was commanded for all generations as opposed to the one time inaugurational sacrifices which were less holy and could therefore still be eaten in their state of 'Aninus'.
 Kosher Animals
It is a Mitzva to understand the differences between the permitted and the forbidden animals and this is how the Jews sanctify themselves.
Signs of a kosher animal
- Split hooves - Hooves of the animal are split reaching the bottom of its leg.
- Chews its cud - Animal swallows food, then regurgitates it and chews it once again.
Non kosher land animals include; camels, rabbits, hares, and pigs.
Signs of kosher fish are fins and scales.
Torah lists 24 non-kosher bird species basically all predatory and scavenger birds. These include; eagles...
They have four signs; four legs, thighs, additional pair of smaller legs in front of body, four wings that cover most of the body. The following species of locust are kosher for eating; Arbeh, Salam, Chargol and Chagav.
The following Shiratzim are forbidden to eat; mouse, turtle....
Shiratzim that creep on their stomach or with four or more legs are forbidden to eat.
 Laws of Purity
Carcasses of impure animal impurify a person who touches or carries them until sunset, assuming he immerses in a Mikva before then. Clothing of an impure person also turn impure and require immersion.
Carcasses of pure animals impurify a person and his clothing through eating, touching or carrying them, until sundown assuming he immerses in a Mikva before then.
Carcasses can also impurify vessels including ovens and the food inside them. Vessels or garments created from leather or wood can be purified through immersion in the mikva. Pottery can not be purified and once impure must be broken.
Streams and Mikvas can never become impure but a person sitting in them who touches a carcass, can.
Anything attached to the ground can not become impure until it is detached and becomes wet with the consent of its owner.
- ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 9|1
- ^ Rashi Vayikra 9|2
- ^ Rashi Vayikra 9|4
- ^ a b c d e Rashi Vayikra 9|23
- ^ a b c d e Rashi Vayikra 9|7
- ^ Rashi Kipshuto
- ^ Rashi
- ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 9|17
- ^ Rashi Vayikra 9|11
- ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 9|15
- ^ Rashi Vayikra 9|16
- ^ Rashi Vayikra 9|19
- ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 9|22
- ^ a b c d e Shover Zadim Parashat Shemini
- ^ Rashi Kepshuto
- ^ Rashi Kepshuto
- ^ Rashi Vayikra 9|24
- ^ a b c d Avaosanu / Vayikra Rabba 12|8A
- ^ a b Avaosanu / Yuma 53A
- ^ a b Likutay Halachos Hillchos Tarovos 5:7
- ^ a b c d Likutay Halachos, Hillchos Piryah Vrivya 3|6
- ^ Avaosanu / Vayikra Rabba 12|2
- ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 10|2
- ^ Avaosanu / Vayikra Rabba 12|5A
- ^ a b Likutay Halachos, Hillchos Piryah Vrivya 2
- ^ Avaosanu / Tanchuma Achrai Mos 7
- ^ Avaosanu / Vayikra Rabba 20|10
- ^ Avaosanu / /Safra Shimini 10|1 / Vayikra Rabba / Sanhedrin 52|1
- ^ Avaosanu / Vayikra Rabba
- ^ Avaosanu / Safra 2
- ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 10|5
- ^ Avaosanu / Sefri Naso 44A
- ^ a b c d Rashi Vayikra 10|3
- ^ Avaosanu / Safra Shemini 10|3
- ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 10|4
- ^ Avaosanu