Shemini – Eight : This is the Time of Redemption! Listen all the people of Israel- Be circumcised in both heart and flesh to enter His Holy Sanctuary.
Gather Together Ourselves and Build Zion/Jerusalem in order that the Shekinah ( i.e presence of Most High) should return to Holy Land of Israel with the help of Most Holy one of Israel.
Shemini is the Twenty-Sixth reading from the Torah and the word shemini (שמיני) means “eighth,” . In the book of Leviticus : “Now it came about on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel” (Leviticus 9:1). And also it comes from the first words of Exodus 9:1. It describe the events of the eight day after setting up the Tabernacle, a phenomenal worship service followed by a terribly incident.
It came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. -Leviticus 9:1
- Aaron and his sons follow Moses’ instructions and offer sacrifices so that God will forgive the people. ( Lev 9:1-24)
- Two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, offer “alien fire” to God. God punishes these two priests by killing them immediately. (Lev 10:1-3)
- God forbids Moses, Aaron, and his surviving sons from mourning but commands the rest of the people to do so. Priests are told not to drink alcohol before entering the sacred Tabernacle and are further instructed about making sacrifices. ( Lev 10:4-20)
- Laws are given to distinguish between pure and impure animals, birds, fish, and insects. ( Lev 11:1-47)
And Moses and Aaron went into the Mish’kan of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of HaShem appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before HaShem and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. -Leviticus 9:23-24
Zohar Writings: “And it came to pass on the eighth day” (Vayikra ; Lev 9:1). Rabbi Yitzchak opened the discussion, saying: “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy” (Iyov 38:7). Blessed are Yisrael, because the Holy One, blessed be He, has given them the Holy Torah, the joy of all, the joy of the Holy One, blessed be He, and the place where He walks…’, as is written: “And I was daily his delight” (Mishlei 8:30). The whole Torah is one holy Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. By the Torah was the world created, as it is written: “Then I was by Him as a nursling (Heb. amun).” Do not pronounce it as ‘amun’ but as “uman,” which is literally an artificer, FOR IT WAS HIS INSTRUMENT OF ART FOR THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
“And it came to pass on the eighth day.” Rabbi Yosi opened the discussion, saying: “Like the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters” (Shir Hashirim 2:2). “Like the lily among thorns” is the Congregation of Yisrael. It was explained that the Holy One, blessed be He, praises the Congregation of Yisrael and His love is for Her, to cleave to her. Therefore, he who marries a woman should praise the Holy One, blessed be He, and the Congregation of Yisrael, for we have learned that one should fulfill any COMMANDMENT WITH LOVE, as one who cleaves to his spouse and devotes his affection to her. When he comes to serve before the Holy One, blessed be He, he awakens another SUPERNAL coupling , that of the Holy One, blessed be He, for He desires to cleave to the Congregation of Yisrael. He blesses him for this and the Congregation of Yisrael blesses him.
Eight: “eighth day” of the Olam Haba – World to Come
The Name Shemini, means “the eighth,” and refers to the day on which Aaron and his sons were inducted as the priests of the Sanctuary. There is a good relationship between the numbers “seven” and “eight” in Torah. The number eight may be describe it often has to do with bringing someone or something into the spiritual realm (i.e., Circumsicion takes place on the eighth day, the Tabernacle and first Temple were dedicated on the eighth days ). The “seven days” working on the Tabernacle prepared everyone for the “eighth” day, that they experienced the presence of G- d.
Blessings of present World and World to Come:
Yeshua Words: who will not receive a hundred times over, now, in the ‘olam hazeh, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and lands — with persecutions! — and in the ‘olam haba, eternal life. – Mark 10:30
“Seven” is associated with the physical space and time in our realm and its about the “level of holiness” .
“Eight” represents a level of holiness beyond the normal confines of space and time. It is related to “being wholly united with G-d “. This is why a circumcision is done on the eighth day and also can be performed on Shabbat. Shabbat belongs to physical space and time, but circumcision belongs to the realm of the Holy. The number eight is associated with the Time of the Redemption. It is said that, The harp of the Era of the Redemption will be of eight . In the Time of the Redemption, the prophets said: “And the glory of G-d will be revealed and all flesh will see.”
On the eighth day, the baby’s foreskin is to be circumcised.-Leviticus 12:3
In the book of New Testament:
And when eight days had passed so that the boy could be circumcised, his name was called Yeshua as he had been called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. -Luke 2:21.
Moshe gave you b’rit-milah — not that it came from Moshe but from the Patriarchs — and you do a boy’s b’rit-milah on Shabbat.…. -John 7:22-23
And He gave him the covenant of circumcision. And then he begat Yitzchak, and circumcised him on the eighth day. And Yitzchak begat Ya’akov and Ya’akov begat our twelve fathers. -Acts 7:8
….. true circumcision is of the heart, ……..-Romans 2:29
Paul wanted to take this [Timothy] with him, so he took [and] circumcised him …. -Acts 16:3
Divine Mandate of Mashiach ben Yosef:
The Lord, your G-d, will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. -Deuteronomy 30:6
….. true circumcision is of the heart, ……..-Romans 2:29
Circumcise yourselves unto the Lord—remove the barriers of your hearts—O people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest My wrath go forth like fire and burn with none to extinguish [it], because of the wickedness of your deeds. –Jeremiah 4:4
Here is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘No foreigner, uncircumcised in both heart and flesh, is to enter my sanctuary — no foreigner living among the people of Isra’el. -Ezekiel 44:9
Binah ( i.e Repentance/ Above Jerusalem/ Understanding) is associated with the number “eight,” it being the eighth Sephirah from Malkut/Kingdom. The concept of “eighth” day is about beyond the perfection of the physical realm, which is itself associated with the number seven. Binah and the number eight are also associated with the festival of Shavuot.
Succot is to be celebrated for seven days. As it is written in Leviticus 23:36 : “For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work.” This extra day of eight is called Shemini Atzeret (“the eighth conclusion”). It is celebrated on the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles. On Tishrei 23, is Simcha Torah, meaning “rejoicing in the Torah”. The Jewish people celebrate Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah as one day. It is considered the eighth day of the celebration of Succot and represents Olam Haba, the time that comes after the Millennium. The eighth day is therefore, a picture of eternity and rejoicing in eternity is associated with the Torah.
The laws of Kashrut : Holiness
kosher commandments on clean and unclean food are considered “chukim” – decrees from HaShem. The Torah tells us not to eat certain foods, primarily because these foods are “spiritually unhealthy” – a detriment to holiness.
Rabbi Shaul’s words :
When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove, while he answered for himself, “Neither against the Torah of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.” -Acts 25:7-8
This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood. -Leviticus 3:17
And every person who eats what died naturally or what was torn by beasts, whether he is a native of your own country or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. -Leviticus 17:15
“… abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.” -Acts 15:20
For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off… But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. -Deuteronomy 30:11; 14
That you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our L-rd Yeshua the Messiah’s appearing, -1 Timothy 6:14
2 Samuel 6:1-19
In this Weekly Torah portion, G-d commands Aaron and his sons to make the burnt and sin offerings at the Tabernacle. When G-d accepts the offerings, the people shout with joy. G-d describes to Moses the laws of kashrut, making distinctions between land animals, birds and animals in the water. Concluding the seven days of inauguration for the Mishkan (Portable Sanctuary), Aaron, the High Priest, brings sacrifices for himself and the entire nation. Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aaron, bring an incense offering on their own initiative, and are consumed by a heavenly fire.
The trouble began as Aaron and his sons first began to minister in the newly erected Mish’kan [Tabernacle]. After they offered the preliminary offerings, it appeared that the Mish’kan “worked” – G-d indeed began to dwell among His people. As it is written: Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of HaShem appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before HaShem and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before HaShem, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from HaShem and devoured them, and they died before HaShem. -Leviticus 9:22-10:2
Fire from Heaven and the visible manifestation of G-d’s glory is there in front of everyone. According to the authors of that ancient text, the Torah mentions the deaths of Nadav and Avihu in the context of Yom Kippur in order to set up an analogy. The death of the righteous is like Yom Kippur, in that both bring atonement to the Jewish people. Thus, the story of Nadav and Avihu’s death is real on Yom Kippur, for not only does the Yom Kippur service bring atonement to the people, the death of tzaddikim brings atonement as well. It is to teach that, just as Yom Kippur brings atonement to the Jewish people, so the death of the righteous also brings atonement to the Jewish people.”
In this regard Rabbi Chaim ben Moshe ibn Attar, “Or HaChaim HaKadosh,” explains (on Leviticus 14:9) that the death of the Messiah from the line of Joseph acts as atonement for the entire generation. Or HaChaim saw in the death of the Messiah from the line of Joseph an aspect of the principle that the death of the righteous brings atonement. This concept – that “the death of the righteous atones” – is one which stands true throughout Jewish history and is not unique to the generation of the Redemption. All the same, there are things that characterize the deaths of the righteous in the generation of the Redemption.
Yom Kippur brings atonement and Death of the righteous brings atonement – Yerushalami Yoma1:1. Talmud, saying, “Just as korbanot bring atonement, so does the death of the righteous.”
Rabbi Chiya Bar Abba said: The sons of Aaron died the first day of Nisan. Why then does the Torah mention their death in conjunction with the Day of Atonement? It is to teach that just as the Day of Atonement atones, so also the death of the righteous atones. The Chatas sacrifice and the Asham for a known sin atone; Death and Yom Kipper atone with repentance. In Tal. Makkot 11b, the question is raised as to whether atonement comes from the exile of the one who committed manslaughter or from the death of the high priest. R. Abaye says, “Do you think it is exile which atones? It is the death of the [high] priest which atones.”
It is explicit in the Zohar dealing with the same issue as the Midrash, the relationship of the death of the two sons of Aharon and Yom Kippur:
Most High told Israel to set apart cities of refuge to which someone who accidentally killed another was to flee to escape vengeance. (Numbers 35:6-34) When the high priest died, anyone who had committed manslaughter was free to return home from the cities of refuge. In some way, the death of the high priest put an end to the guilt of the one who had accidentally killed another.
Rashi commented on the setting apart of the Levites (Num. 8:9) and the need for all Israel to lay hands on them: “In as much as the Levites were given as an atoning sacrifice instead of them [the whole congregation], they [the people] are to come and stand by their offering and lay their hands on them [the Levites].
In Moed Katan 28a, “R. Ammi said, ‘Why is Miriam’s death [Num. 20:1] connected with the Torah portion about the red heifer? [Num. 19] This is to tell you that even as the red heifer atones, even so the death of the righteous atones.
“R. Eleazar said, ‘Why is Aaron’s death [Num. 20:26,28] connected with the priestly clothing? Even as the priestly clothing atones [Lev. 16:4,24,32,33], so the death of the righteous atones.’” (cf. Tal. Zevachim 88b)
“R. Hiyya b. Abba said, ‘The sons of Aaron died on the first of Nisan. Then why is their death remembered on Day of Atonement? This is to teach that as the Day of Atonement brings atonement, in the same way the death of the righteous brings atonement…. And from where do we know that the death of the righteous brings atonement? Because it is written, And they buried the bones of Saul [and Jonathan his son] (II Sam. 21:14), and it is then written, After that G-d was entreated for the land.’” (Mid. Leviticus Rabbah 20:12)
There is also a case where the death of the wicked brings atonement. Most High commends Pinchas for putting to death Zimri and the Midianite woman he brought into his tent. Pinchas executed G-d’s judgment and “made atonement for the children of Israel”. (Num. 25:13, cf. Tal.Sanhedrin 82b)
The Talmud speaks about the plague that came when King David numbered the people, connecting its end with the death of someone righteous. (Num. 24) R. Eleazar said that the plague ended because of the death of Abishai. “R. Eleazar said, ‘The Holy One, blessed be He, said to the [destroying] Angel: Take for Me a great man among them, that in him many debts can be paid for them.’ …Samuel said, ‘He saw the ashes of Isaac [as though he had been sacrificed]’” (Tal. Berachot 62b)
Kol Hator writings:
“Through supplications I will bring them” (ירמיה לא’ ח). The verse alludes to Mashiach ben Yosef’s role in the return of the Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael and the nature of their return. The verse relates: “בבכי יבואו ובתחנונים אובילם”, “With weeping they will come, and through supplications I will bring them”. “בתחנונים” is gematria “566”; the same as “Mashiach ben Yosef”; this implies that, through Mashiach ben Yosef, “I will bring them”. The Zohar teaches (זהר חדש וישב דף כט) that the “weeping” and low-spirited state of the peoples return is a national atonement for the sale of Yosef, perpetrated by the brothers; the progenitors of the nation. There, Yosef wept and supplicated before his brothers, but they did not heed his cries, as it says: “ראינו צרת נפשו בהתחננו אלינו ולא שמענו”, “we saw his heartfelt anguish when he pleaded with us, and we paid no heed” (בראשית מב’ כא). Therefore, when Mashiach ben Yosef brings back the remaining exiles, they will be “weeping” and in an impoverished, anguished state, upon return.Also, “בבכי” is gematria “34”, equal to that of the word “דל”, meaning impoverished or lowly. Thus “בבכי יבואו” implies “דל יבואו”, “impoverished/lowly” they will come, when: “ובתחנונים אובילם”, I bring them through Mashiach ben Yosef
In the book of “New Testament” shown both the atonement provided by the divine Tzaddik, as well as the Kingdom set aside for the righteous ones, which is from the “foundation of the world”:
The book of Hebrews expresses that the Yom Kippur sacrifice in above Mishkan of Yeshua was superior to that of the annual animal sacrifice. Both provided forgiveness of sin, and both required faith. The difference as Hebrews explains, is that Yeshua’s work, being the shed blood of the Divine heavenly Tzaddik, effected a “permanent” atonement for those who trust in Him and walk in the way of Torah:
But, ye came to Mount Zion, and to a city of the living G-d, to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of messengers, to the company and assembly of the first-born in heaven enrolled, and to G-d the judge of all, and to spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to a mediator of a new covenant — Yeshua, and to blood of sprinkling, speaking better things than that of Abel! -Hebrews 12:22-24
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.-Revelation 13:8 .
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. -Matthew 25:34
…….. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. -1 Peter 1:18-20
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory [i.e., Kingdom], which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. -John 17:24
Paul uses the concept of “Most High smiting one Righteous man,” ( ref: Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 218a,..)
In the following passage, the Zohar elaborates on the idea of G-d selecting a righteous person to sufffer in order to obtain atonement for his generation.
Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 218a – Why is it that whenever sinners multiply in the world and punishment impends over the world, the virtuous among them are smitten for them, as we have learnt, that for the guilt of the generation the holy and righteous are seized upon? Why should this be? If because they do not reprove mankind for their evil deeds, how many are there who do reprove but are not listened to (though the righteous do humble themselves before them)? If it is in order that there may be no one to shield them, let them not die and let them not be seized for their sins, since it is a satisfaction to the righteous to see their destruction. He replied: It is true that for the guilt of the generation the righteous are seized upon, but we may explain this on the analogy of the limbs of the body. When all the limbs are in pain and suffering from sickness one limb has to be smitten in order that all may be healed. Which is the one? The arm. The arm is smitten and blood is drawn from it, and this is healing for all the limbs of the body. So men are like limbs of one body. When G-d desires to give healing to the world He smites one righteous man among them with disease and suffering, and through him gives healing to all, as it is written, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities… and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). A righteous man is never afflicted save to bring healing to his generation and to make atonement for it, for the “other side” prefers that punishment should light upon the virtuous man rather than on any other, for then it cares not for the whole world on account of the joy it finds in having power over him.
Another passage from the Zohar offers the following:
Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, 177a – AND MOSES SAID UNTO AARON, TAKE THY CENsER, ETC. R. Hiya adduced here the verse: “The wrath of the king is as messengers of death, but a wise man will pacify it” (Proverbs 16:14). ‘How careful men should be’, he said, ‘to abstain from sin and to watch their actions, for at many periods the world is judged and every day deeds are placed in the balance and examined on high and recorded before the Almighty; and when the deeds of men are not approved before the King, wrath arises and judgement is awakened. But if when the executioners of judgement are ready to strike and wrath impends, there is found in the generation a righteous man who is inscribed above, then G-d looks upon him and His wrath is mollified. He is like a king who is angry with his servants and sends for the executioner to punish them, but meanwhile the king’s friend enters and stands before him, and when the king sees him his face lights up, and when he begins to speak he is glad. So when the executioner comes and sees the king all smiling, he goes away and does not execute judgement, and then the king’s friend intercedes for his servants and procures forgiveness for them.
The Zohar writes that the tzaddik can more effectively arouse Divine mercy after his death than previously.
One who attached himself to the true tzaddikim has true faith. Mashiach is the true heavenly tzaddik. One who accepts Mashiach will receive from him pure faith, and will not have misplaced his faith.
It is certainly permissible to pray to G-d for a blessing at the gravesite of a tzaddik, in the merit of the tzaddik. In addition one may directly address the soul of the tzaddik, beseeching him to arouse mercy in heaven. The Zohar writes that the tzaddik can more effectively arouse Divine mercy after his death than previously. (See chapter 27 in Igeret Hakodesh of Sefer Hatanya) When one goes to pray at the gravesite of a tzaddik, it is as if he is entering into yechidus (“private consultation”) with that tzaddik. Thus, it is customary to recite chapter 33 in Psalms at the gravesite. This chapter begins with the verse, Ranenu tzaddikim baHashem, “May the tzaddikim rejoice in Hashem.” The verse refers to tzadikkim in the plural form, which is understood to refer to the union of the lower tzaddik — the soul of the person who comes to pray at the gravesite — and the higher tzaddik — the deceased tzaddik. When a person prays at the gravesite of the tzaddik, the two souls unite to arouse Divine mercy and to bring down blessing.
It is also taught that a deceased tzaddik continues to merit favor for those alive (even more so than when he was alive) and that it is possible to “connect” to the one “above” through prayer – even directly “to” the soul of the tzaddik:
Regarding a Hebraic opinion of the “suffering servant” of Isaiah’s text being the Messiah, and that this Messiah brings atonement in place of the (destroyed) Temple, the Zohar has this to say:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 212a – ‘The souls in Lower Paradise, on every New Moon and Sabbath day, go about and ascend to the spot called “Walls of Jerusalem”, where there are a great many chieftains and legions mounting guard, as written: “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem” (Isa. LXII, 6). They mount up as far as that spot, but do not enter it until their purging is complete. There they prostrate themselves, drink in ecstatically of the celestial radiance, and then return into Paradise. They also at times go forth, roaming about the world and viewing the bodies of the sinners undergoing their punishment. So Scripture says: “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh” (Ibid. LXVI, 24). They continue to roam about, casting their glance on those who are victims of pain and disease, who suffer for their belief in the unity of their Master. They then return and make all this known to the Messiah. When the Messiah hears of the great suffering of Israel in their dispersion, and of the wicked amongst them who seek not to know their Master, he weeps aloud on account of those wicked ones amongst them, as it is written: “But he was wounded because of our transgression, he was crushed because of our iniquities” (Ibid. LIII, 5). The souls then return to their place. The Messiah, on his part, enters a certain Hall in the Garden of Eden, called the Hall of the Afflicted. There he calls for all the diseases and pains and sufferings of Israel, bidding them settle on himself, which they do. And were it not that he thus eases the burden from Israel, taking it on himself, no one could endure the sufferings meted out to Israel in expiation on account of their neglect of the Torah. So Scripture says; “Surely our diseases he did bear”, etc. (Ibid. LIII, 4). A similar function was performed by R. Eleazar here on earth. For, indeed, beyond number are the chastisements awaiting every man daily for the neglect of the Torah, all of which descended into the world at the time when the Torah was given. As long as Israel were in the Holy Land, by means of the Temple service and sacrifices they averted all evil diseases and afflictions from the world. Now it is the Messiah who is the means of averting them from mankind until the time when a man quits this world and receives his punishment, as already said. When a man’s sins are so numerous that he has to pass through the nethermost compartments of Gehinnom in order to receive heavier punishment corresponding to the contamination of his soul, a more intense fire is kindled in order to consume that contamination. The destroying angels make use for this purpose of fiery rods, so as to expel that contamination. Woe to the soul that is subjected to such punishment! Happy are those who guard the precepts of the Torah!
The Hebrew sages traditionally viewed Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David (the one who comes to lead Israel into the Millennial Kingdom) as two different roles, the texts of the New Testament teach that the same individual fulfills both roles, or more precisely, the resurrected Messiah ben Joseph returns as Messiah ben David.
Furthermore, the Stone Edition Chumash, in its comments to Parsha Acharei(Leviticus 16:1-18:30), ties the death of Nadab and Abihu to Yom Kippur and atonement, and brings in the element of “trust” in a fashion similar to how the New Testament speaks of Yeshua:
The Torah introduces the Yom Kippur service by saying that G-d spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, which implies that there was a connection between that tragedy and the Yom Kippur service … Why is the death of the righteous (i.e., Nadab and Abihu) mentioned in conjunction with the chapter of the Yom Kippur service? Because just as Yom Kippur brings atonement, so the death of the righteous brings atonement (Yerushalmi Yoma 1:1) … When a righteosu person such as Nadab and Abihu dies and his soul ascends to the world of souls, the other righteous souls in Heaven rejoice at his coming. This good feeling above can inspire a spirit of forgiveness and atonement to the righteous person’s survivors on earth. This is the connection to Yom Kippur. However, and this is crucial, both Yom Kippur and the death of the righteous bring atonement only on one condition. Yom Kiippur atones only for people who recognize it as a holy day and treat it as such; those to whom it is merely a day of refraining from food and work, but without a spiritual dimension, do not find atonement on Yom Kippur. Similarly, those who do not honor the righteous in life do not benefit from their ascent to Heaven in death.
Talmud, Mas. Sukkah 52a – What is the cause of the mourning [mentioned in the last cited verse]? — R. Dosa and the Rabbis differ on the point. One explained, The cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, and the other explained, The cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination. It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, since that well agrees with the Scriptural verse, And they shall look upon me because they have thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son –Zechariah 12:10
At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in THE BOOK – Daniel 12:1
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Most High; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. -Revelation 20:12
Shemini -— Studies from Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
Our portion tells the chilling story of the disaster that struck on the very day of one of the great summits of human history: the inauguration of the proto-Temple Sanctuary in the wilderness by Moses and Aaron.
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer, and put fire in it and laid incense upon it, and offered strange fire before G-d, which He had not commanded them. And a fire came forth from before G-d and devoured them, and they died before G-d” (Leviticus 10:1-2).
The two crown princes of the priestly line of Aaron the High Priest had no children, and thus were extirpated in a moment. Directly after this terrible decree, God commanded Aaron:
“Drink no wine or strong drink, you and your surviving sons, when you enter the Tent of Meeting, in order that you should not die. And so that you may distinguish between the holy and the ordinary, and between the unclean and the clean; so that you may teach the Children of Israel all the statutes which G-d has told them through the hand of Moses.” (Lev. 9:10-11).
The simple implication of the text is that the reason why Nadab and Abihu incurred this severest of penalties was because they were intoxicated when they made their offering. Wine or some other strong substance distorted their faculty of proper judgment, causing them to err gravely in determining what service God wanted from them. They offered “strange fire”, eliciting G-d’s consuming fire to destroy them.
The priests are the spiritual leaders of the community, with two main functions: (1) To offer the people’s sacrifices (leadership in the aspect of prayer, our offerings to G-d); (2) To educate the people in G-d’s Torah (the teachings G-d gives to us). Both functions involve intense concentration of the spiritual leaders’ mental and all other faculties to ensure proper balanced focus on the task in hand, be it leading the people in prayer and devotion or providing sound guidance and true judgment.
“Wine rejoices the heart of man” (Psalms 104:15): God has created wine and other varieties of amazing life-enhancers – including even coffee, tea and other herbs etc. – that when properly used in moderation at appropriate times may help temporarily lift the human heart out of the cyclical heaviness and depression to which so many are prone. There may be a place for some of the life-enhancing substances that exist in creation. But when it comes to our spiritual affairs – our prayers to G-d, our study of His Torah – and particularly when community leaders and governments must pass judgments on proper laws and their applications in actual life situations – the state of mind that is required is one of sobriety, level-headedness and clear judgment.
But just as on a dark night, a drunkard or drug-taker or even simply a frightened child may see a terrifying ogre lurching towards them when all that stands there is a great tree, likewise those who are intoxicated by false beliefs fueled by lies and slanders may see a given group, people or country as a terrible ogre when the truth is nothing of the kind.
Today’s sophisticated mass media, concentrated in the hands of the world’s power barons, are masters of the art of mental manipulation through spinning all their output and “information” in their own desired direction. All over the world in different ways, disinformation, subtle smears and slanders enter and intoxicate people’s minds, attitudes and opinions, leading them in directions that are putting the future of humanity in dire peril.
The grim story of the extirpation of Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron the High Priest, through intoxication teaches the extreme care needed to keep our mental faculties intact and balanced in life situations that require focus and clear judgment. Not only must dangerous mind-changing substances be rejected completely, but so must mind-shackling poisonous lies and slanders that have no less a power to lead people to the worst kinds of destruction.
– Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
Haftarat Shmini – Eight – II Samuel 6:1-19
This week’s Torah portion is found in Leviticus 9:1-11:47. Aaron’s sons, apparently overtaken with zeal at seeing the glory of G-d, took it upon themselves to add a little to the worship experience and were instantly consumed.
This week’s haftarah found in II Samuel 6:1-19 is the account of the death of Uzzah. Here is how it begins:
Again David gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the Ark of G-d, whose Name is called by the Name, HaShem of Hosts, Who dwells between the cherubim. So they set the Ark of G-d on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of G-d; and Ahio went before the Ark. Then David and all the house of Israel played music before HaShem on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the Ark of G-d and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of HaShem was aroused against Uzzah, and G-d struck him there for his error; and he died there by the Ark of G-d.
– 2 Samuel 6:1-7
A perfect Scripture portion to tie to this week parasha from Leviticus and this week’s haftarah from II Samuel and also in the context of New Testament in the chapter of Acts 5:1-11 and the account of Ananias and Sapphira.
But there was a man named Hananyah who, with his wife Shappirah, sold some property and, with his wife’s knowledge, withheld some of the proceeds for himself; although he did bring the rest to the emissaries. Then Kefa said, “Why has the Adversary so filled your heart that you lie to the Ruach HaKodesh and keep back some of the money you received for the land? Before you sold it, the property was yours; and after you sold it, the money was yours to use as you pleased. So what made you decide to do such a thing? You have lied not to human beings but to G-d!” On hearing these words, Hananyah fell down dead; and everyone who heard about it was terrified. The young men got up, wrapped his body in a shroud, carried him out and buried him. – Acts 5:1-6.
After the death of Uzzah, we read: David was afraid of HaShem that day; and he said, “How can the Ark of HaShem come to me?” So David would not move the ark of HaShem with him into the City of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. -II Samuel 6:9-10
The Ark of HaShem remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months. And HaShem blessed Obed-Edom and all his household. Now it was told King David, saying, “HaShem has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the Ark of G-d.” David went and brought up the Ark of G-d from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness.
-II Samuel 6:11-12
G-d’s holiness is what brings the blessings and David brought blessings to all Israel
So they brought the Ark of HaShem, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before HaShem. And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the Name of HaShem of hosts. -II Samuel 6:17-18
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living G-d, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to G-d the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Yeshua the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”…
Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve G-d acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our G-d is a consuming fire. -Hebrews 12:18-29.
May You be blessed, our Rock, our King, and Redeemer and Creator of holy ones, may Your Holy Name be praised forever and ever.
Blessed are You, Most High, Who sanctifies Your Name among the Nations.
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .
We will Welcome the son of David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
[ Ha Khadosh Baruch Hu – Baruch HaBa B’Shem Adonai ] – Gaddi, President, BeitYaaqov International.
Gaddi – President