This Week’s Torah Portion: Shmini

Name: Shmini

Reading: Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47

Haftara Samuel 1 20:18 – 20:42

Parsha Summary – Shmini

Tzav ended with Moses sending Aaron and his sons into the Tent of Meeting for a full week.

God Accepts the Offerings

Moses calls Aaron, his sons, and the elders of Israel. He tells Aaron to take a bull-calf as a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, and to bring them as sacrifices. He then tells them how to instruct the Israelites how to bring offerings, which they do. Aaron and his sons make the offerings in the way described in the previous chapters, and Aaron blesses the nation.

Nadav and Avihu

Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, create their own sacrifices and offer them, unsolicited. God sends forth fire which consumes them. Moses orders their bodies to be removed, then commands the priests to stay within the sanctuary.

God commands Aaron not to drink and to know the difference between the holy and the mundane. Moses relays more instructions regarding the sacrifices to Aaron and the priests.

The Laws of Kashrut

God talks to Moses and Aaron and gives them the laws of Kashrut:

You may eat from beasts which have a cloven hoof and chew the cud. Don’t eat animals that only have one of those two characteristics. The forbidden list includes camels, badgers, hares, and pigs.

You may eat fish that have both fins and scales, but may not consume shellfish or those lacking one trait.

All the forbidden birds are listed. Insects are forbidden, with the exception of locusts. Other forbidden animals are listed.