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Shemini ~ 5773 ~ שמיני
On the very first day after the week of celebration that consecrated Aaron and his sons as the Priests, the newly installed Priesthood are commanded to bring their first sacrifices: a sin-offering and a burnt offering for themselves, as well as a sin-offering and burnt-offering for the Israelites. Aaron brings the meal offerings and the Peace offerings complete with the myriad of ritual wavings, blood dashings, and fat burnings as commanded in earlier chapters of Leviticus. Afterwards, Aaron blesses the People with the Kohanic Benediction, and G-d’s presence rested upon all Israel. The fire to consume these sacrifices came directly from G-d, which was so startling that the people fell and trembled before G-d. Nadav and Avihu, Aaron’s two eldest sons, commit a most grievous sin and G-d executes them. Aaron and his family are forbidden to mourn them. The Priests are warned never to attempt to officiate their office when intoxicated. The place of eating the various offerings and sacrifices are given by G-d through Moses. The breasts of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offerings were to be eaten in a “clean place.”
Moses severely rebukes Eleazar and Itamar, the officiating sons of Aaron, for not eating the sin-offering. Aaron defends their actions as an act of piety and humility. So appropriate their motives that Moses was more than satisfied. The permitted kosher animals are enumerated here. Land animals must have split hooves and chew their cud, fish must have fins and scales. Fowl cannot be predators or carrion eaters, insects must have jointed legs above the feet.
Furthermore, the dead carcasses of these animals impart ritual impurity to those who touch them. If the carcass (or any part thereof) falls into an earthen pot with kosher food, the pot must be broken and the food not eaten. Water can transfer this impurity. If the volume of water is great (in excess of 24 cubic feet) and naturally collected, a forbidden carcass does not affect it. These laws are to make the Israelites holy.
MAFTIR Leviticus 11:45-47 ~ page 454
HAFTARAH: II Samuel 6:1-7:17 ~ page 454-458
King David gathers 30,000 of his best men and prepares to move the Ark from the house of Abinadav, where David had been keeping it safe, to its proper resting place in Jerusalem.
Uzah reaches out to prevent the Ark from falling off the wagon and is instantly killed by G-d because he touched the Ark. Terrified with the what happened, David leaves the Ark for three months at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.
After those three months, we are told that “the Eternal blessed him (Obed-Edom) and all his family” (6:12), so David decides to try bringing the Ark to Jerusalem a second time.
After it reaches its destination, David bemoans the fact that it resides in a temporary dwelling, and not in a permanent Temple. That night, Nathan receives a prophecy in which G-d praises David’s good faith, but denies him permission to build the Temple. After David’s eventual death, G-d promises, David’s son will build the Temple and G-d will establish David and his line as royalty forever.