This week in Torah

Parashah 26 Shemini

March 30, 2019 – Shemini (Eighth) – Parshat 26

  • Torah: Leviticus 9:1-11:47
  • Haftara: Ezekiel 36:16-38
  • Brit Chadasha: Matthew 3:11-17

וַיְהִי֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁמִינִ֔י קָרָ֣א מֹשֶׁ֔ה לְאַהֲרֹ֖ן וּלְבָנָ֑יו וּלְזִקְנֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

Vayehi bayom hashmini kara Moshe le-Aharon ulevanav ulezikney Yisra’el.

On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel.

The death of the Tzadik: Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD meant when He said: Through those near to Me I show Myself holy, And gain glory before all the people.” And Aaron was silent. [Leviticus 10:3]

This week we see, after the ordination of Aharon and his sons, the dedication of the Mishkan, and the mysterious and concerning description of the death of Nadab and Abihu. During the excitement and euphoria of the moment the elder sons of Aharon entered into the presence of HaShem with strange fire, unannounced and unbidden. Their death brought glory to Adonai because it revealed to all Israel that HaShem is powerful and must be approached in only reverent fear. The Talmud says “a calamity also befell the people, as Nadav and Avihu died.” (TalmudMegillah 10b:9) The tragedy was not that Adonai consumed them like the offering, but that they had been warned.

“The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who says that the command for the priests to sanctify themselves is referring to the separation of Nadav and Avihu, this is the meaning of that which is written after their death on the eighth day of the inauguration of the Tabernacle: “Then Moses said to Aaron: This is it that the Lord spoke, saying: Through them that are near to Me I will be sanctified…and Aaron held his peace” (Leviticus 10:3). Nadav and Avihu had already been warned not to draw too close: “Lest the Lord break forth upon them.” (TalmudZevachim 115b:11)

Concerning the heart or intent of the two, they were zealous for Adonai, and their desire was to honor Him, but they let excitement overcome the holy fear that Moshe had in the presence of the Shekinah, and while Adonai sanctified himself thru their death, He relayed to Aharon that they were beloved thru His prophet Moshe.

“The Holy One, Blessed be He, said this statement to Moses, but Moses did not know its meaning until the sons of Aaron died. Once the sons of Aaron died, Moses said to him: Aaron, my brother, your sons died only to sanctify the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He. When Aaron knew that his sons were beloved by the Omnipresent, he was silent and received a reward, as it is stated: “And Aaron held his peace [vayidom].” (Talmud – Zevachim 115b:13)

And again we see: “Why is the death of the righteous [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.” (y.Yoma 1:1)

The principle brought forward from the Talmud above, underscores the thought in Rabbinic scholarship, that indeed the righteous may impute righteousness to the unrighteous. Or as clearly stated the death of Nadab and Abihu made atonement for unrighteous by bringing glory to God. Their zealous desire to draw near, made a way for all their brethren to do the same.

“Just as the deaths of Nadab and Abihu glorified God, the death of the Master Yeshua also sanctified and glorified the Ava’s name. Yeshua prayed “It was for this very reason that I have come to this hour. I will say this: “Father, glorify your name!” (Yochanan 12:27b-28) The Death of the Master Yeshua fully made atonement for us. He willingly offered Himself as an atoning offering for us all, and thru His sacrifice revealed the heart of the Father YHVH to the whole world. His death brought forth Glory, and continues to bring it forth even unto today. The fathers response to Yeshua? “At this a Bat-kol came out of heaven, :I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again!” Use us to do Just that Avinu! Amen!

Ahav V’shalom Mish’pachah love and peace to our family in Messiah from Beth Hallel Lodi