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Parashah 26: Sh’mini (Eighth) 9:1–11:47
9 On the eighth day, Moshe called Aharon, his sons and the leaders of Isra’el, 2 and said to Aharon, “Take a male calf for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without defect, and offer them before Adonai. 3 Then tell the people of Isra’el, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering and a calf and a lamb, both a year old and without defect, for a burnt offering, 4 and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before Adonai; also a grain offering mixed with olive oil — because today Adonai is going to appear to you.’” 5 They brought what Moshe had ordered before the tent of meeting, and the whole community approached and stood before Adonai.
6 Moshe said, “This is what Adonai has ordered you to do, so that the glory of Adonai will appear to you.” 7 Moshe told Aharon, “Approach the altar, offer your sin offering and burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and the people. Then present the offering of the people and make atonement for them, as Adonai ordered.” 8 So Aharon approached the altar and slaughtered the calf of the sin offering which was for himself. 9 The sons of Aharon presented the blood to him; and he dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; then he poured out the blood at the base of the altar. 10 But the fat, the kidneys and the covering of the liver of the sin offering he made go up in smoke on the altar, as Adonai had ordered Moshe. 11 The meat and the skin were burned up completely outside the camp.
12 Next he slaughtered the burnt offering; Aharon’s sons brought him the blood, and he splashed it against all sides of the altar. 13 They brought him the burnt offering, piece by piece, and the head; and he made them go up in smoke on the altar. 14 He washed the inner organs and the lower parts of the legs and made them go up in smoke on top of the burnt offering on the altar.
15 Then the people’s offering was presented. He took the goat of the sin offering which was for the people, slaughtered it and offered it for sin, like the earlier sin offering. 16 The burnt offering was presented, and he offered it in the prescribed manner. (ii) 17 The grain offering was presented; he took a handful of it and made it go up in smoke on the altar, in addition to the morning’s burnt offering. 18 He slaughtered the ox and the ram, the people’s sacrifice as peace offerings; Aharon’s sons brought him the blood, which he splashed against all sides of the altar, 19 and the fat of the ox and of the ram — the fat tail, the fat which covers the inner organs, the kidneys and the covering of the liver. 20 They put the fat on the breasts, and he made the fat go up in smoke on the altar. 21 The breasts and right thigh Aharon waved as a wave offering before Adonai, as Moshe had ordered.
22 Aharon raised his hands toward the people, blessed them and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 Moshe and Aharon entered the tent of meeting, came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of Adonai appeared to all the people! (iii) 24 Fire came forth from the presence of Adonai, consuming the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
10 But Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon, each took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and offered unauthorized fire before Adonai, something he had not ordered them to do. 2 At this, fire came forth from the presence of Adonai and consumed them, so that they died in the presence of Adonai. 3 Moshe said to Aharon, “This is what Adonai said:
‘Through those who are near me I will be consecrated,
and before all the people I will be glorified.’”
Aharon kept silent.
4 Moshe called Misha’el and Eltzafan, sons of ‘Uzi’el Aharon’s uncle, and told them, “Come here, and carry your cousins away from in front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” 5 They approached and carried them in their tunics out of the camp, as Moshe had said.
6 Then Moshe told Aharon and his sons El‘azar and Itamar, “Don’t unbind your hair or tear your clothes in mourning, so that you won’t die and so that Adonai won’t be angry with the entire community. Rather, let your kinsmen — the whole house of Isra’el — mourn, because of the destruction Adonai brought about with his fire. 7 Moreover, don’t leave the entrance to the tent of meeting, or you will die, because Adonai’s anointing oil is on you.”
8 Adonai said to Aharon, 9 “Don’t drink any wine or other intoxicating liquor, neither you nor your sons with you, when you enter the tent of meeting, so that you will not die. This is to be a permanent regulation through all your generations, 10 so that you will distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; 11 and so that you will teach the people of Isra’el all the laws Adonai has told them through Moshe.”
(iv) 12 Moshe said to Aharon and to El‘azar and Itamar, his remaining sons, “Take the grain offering left from the offerings for Adonai made by fire, and eat it without leaven next to the altar, because it is especially holy. 13 Eat it in a holy place, because it is your and your sons’ share of the offerings for Adonai made by fire; for this is what I have been ordered. 14 The breast that was waved and the thigh that was raised you are to eat in a clean place — you, your sons and your daughters with you; for these are given as your and your children’s share of the sacrifices of the peace offerings presented by the people of Isra’el. 15 They are to bring the raised thigh and the waved breast, along with the offerings of fat made by fire, and wave it as a wave offering before Adonai; then it will belong to you and your descendants with you as your perpetual share, as Adonai has ordered.”
(v) 16 Then Moshe carefully investigated what had happened to the goat of the sin offering and discovered that it had been burned up. He became angry with El‘azar and Itamar, the remaining sons of Aharon, and asked, 17 “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the area of the sanctuary, since it is especially holy? He gave it to you to take away the guilt of the community, to make atonement for them before Adonai. 18 Look! Its blood wasn’t brought into the sanctuary! You should have eaten it there in the sanctuary, as I ordered.” 19 Aharon answered Moshe, “Even though they offered their sin offering and burnt offering today, things like these have happened to me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have pleased Adonai?” 20 On hearing this reply, Moshe was satisfied.
11 (vi) Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, 2 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘These are the living creatures which you may eat among all the land animals: 3 any that has a separate hoof which is completely divided and chews the cud — these animals you may eat. 4-6 But you are not to eat those that only chew the cud or only have a separate hoof. For example, the camel, the coney and the hare are unclean for you, because they chew the cud but don’t have a separate hoof; 7 while the pig is unclean for you, because, although it has a separate and completely divided hoof, it doesn’t chew the cud. 8 You are not to eat meat from these or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
9 “‘Of all the things that live in the water, you may eat these: anything in the water that has fins and scales, whether in seas or in rivers — these you may eat. 10 But everything in the seas and rivers without both fins and scales, of all the small water-creatures and of all the living creatures in the water, is a detestable thing for you. 11 Yes, these will be detestable for you — you are not to eat their meat, and you are to detest their carcasses. 12 Whatever lacks fins and scales in the water is a detestable thing for you.
13 “‘The following creatures of the air are to be detestable for you — they are not to be eaten, they are a detestable thing: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey, 14 the kite, the various kinds of buzzards, 15 the various kinds of ravens, 16 the ostrich, the screech-owl, the seagull, the various kinds of hawks, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the horned owl, the pelican, the barn owl, 19 the stork, the various kinds of herons, the hoopoe and the bat.
20 “‘All winged swarming creatures that go on all fours are a detestable thing for you; 21 except that of all winged swarming creatures that go on all fours, you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, enabling them to jump off the ground. 22 Specifically, of these you may eat the various kinds of locusts, grasshoppers, katydids and crickets. 23 But other than that, all winged swarming creatures having four feet are a detestable thing for you.
24 “‘The following will make you unclean; whoever touches the carcass of them will be unclean until evening, 25 and whoever picks up any part of their carcass is to wash his clothes and be unclean until evening: 26 every animal that has a separate but incompletely divided hoof or that doesn’t chew the cud is unclean for you; anyone who touches them will become unclean. 27 Whatever goes on its paws, among all animals that go on all fours, is unclean for you; whoever touches its carcass will be unclean until evening; 28 and whoever picks up its carcass is to wash his clothes and be unclean until evening — these are unclean for you.
29 “‘The following are unclean for you among the small creatures that swarm on the ground: the weasel, the mouse, the various kinds of lizards, 30 the gecko, the land crocodile, the skink, the sand-lizard and the chameleon. 31 They are unclean crawling creatures; whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean until evening. 32 Anything on which one of them falls when dead will become unclean — wooden utensil, article of clothing, leather, sacking — any utensil used for work; it must be put in water, and it will be unclean until evening; then it will be clean. (vii) 33 If one of them falls into a clay pot, whatever is in it will become unclean, and you are to break the pot. 34 Any food permitted to be eaten that water from such a vessel gets on will become unclean, and any permitted liquid in such a vessel will become unclean. 35 Everything on which any carcass-part of theirs falls will become unclean, whether oven or stove; it is to be broken in pieces — they are unclean and will be unclean for you; 36 although a spring or cistern for collecting water remains clean. But anyone who touches one of their carcasses will become unclean. 37 If any carcass-part of theirs falls on any kind of seed to be sown, it is clean; 38 but if water is put on the seed and a carcass-part of theirs falls on it, it is unclean for you.
39 “‘If an animal of a kind that you are permitted to eat dies, whoever touches its carcass will be unclean until evening. 40 A person who eats meat from its carcass or carries its carcass is to wash his clothes; he will be unclean until evening.
41 “‘Any creature that swarms on the ground is a detestable thing; it is not to be eaten — 42 whatever moves on its stomach, goes on all fours, or has many legs — all creatures that swarm on the ground; you are not to eat them, because they are a detestable thing. 43 You are not to make yourselves detestable with any of these swarming, crawling creatures; do not make yourselves unclean with them, do not defile yourselves with them. 44 For I am Adonai your God; therefore, consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy; and do not defile yourselves with any kind of swarming creature that moves along the ground. (Maftir) 45 For I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.
46 “‘Such, then, is the law concerning animals, flying creatures, all living creatures that move about in the water, and all creatures that swarm on the ground. 47 Its purpose is to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.’”
Haftarah Sh’mini: Sh’mu’el Bet (2 Samuel) 6:1–7:17 (A); 6:1–19 (S)
Suggested readings for Parashah Sh’mini from the B’rit Hadashah: Mark 7:1–23; Acts 5:1–11; 10:1–35; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Galatians 2:11–16; 1 Kefa (1 Peter) 1:14–16