Shabbat Shalom Hanegev!
Parsha Shemini is a pretty happenin’ one! First things first, 40+ offerings were brought to God, overseen by Aaron. Aaron and Moses then blessed the nation after Aaron had finished his standard priestly blessing. Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, actually die in the process of giving the offering to God (because there was a fire that consumed them), which obviously devastated the other members of their family.
Here comes the plot twist though…God told Aaron and his two remaining sons NOT to grieve over Nadav and Avihu in the usual way! (This is where we get the laws about tearing Kriyah and mourners not cutting their hair.) After this new version of mourning, Moses tells Aaron and his sons to continue the blessing they had started before the deaths of his other sons.
We offered God tons of food, and in return he gave us the laws of Kashrut! Shemini instructs on the basic laws of what is classified as kosher or traif.
Last, but definitely not least, we get the basic laws of purity and impurity. Apparently “pure” and “impure” are not necessarily equivalent to “good” and “bad”. The whole thing is actually about life and death and viewing God and life with a positive, optimistic point of view.
To give you a little more insight into the laws of Kashrut, brought to us from our very own God, here is The Kosher Cow.
Hope you all enjoyed learning a little somethin’ about parsha shemini:)
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