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Parashat Shemini

Updated on April 14, 2018

Parashat Shemini Synopsis

Eight days after the start of their ordination process, Aharon and his sons begin their careers as the priests (kohanim). Several sacrifices were made and a fire comes from יהוה consuming the offerings given.

Aharon had two sons, Nadav and Avihu, who offered an unauthorized fire; one contrary to what had יהוה commanded. Aharon’s two sons died immediately; however, Aharon remains silent regarding the deaths of his two sons. There is a disagreement between Mosheh and Aharon regarding the law of the offerings of which Mosheh later concedes to Aharon acknowledging that Aharon was right in his (Aharon’s) actions.

The commands regarding clean and unclean animals are given and distinctions are made between such clean and unclean animals. There are also laws given regarding the purification of water. Thus, the Yisra’el-ites are told how to differentiate between those things that are pure and those things are impure.

What does this mean for the Believer and Follower of Yeshua ha-Meshiach today?

Have you ever wondered about all the rules and regulations that are found in Vayyiqra/Leviticus, and even other parts of the Tanak (Old Testament) and/or ha-Berit ha-Chadashah (New Testament)?

My son, Jackson, is not a young man that I would describe as a rule-keeper, or, at the very least, he does tend to walk his own path, knowing full well that there will be consequences to the bad decisions that he makes.

But, you know what? There are times when I negate the rules as well, and choose to walk down a path of my own making. In these moments, I am reacting with my feelings, instead of responding to what is commanded by יהוה.

In the Gan Eden (Garden of Eden), ha-ish ve ha-isha (the man and the woman) were given but one command, “Eat of every tree of the garden, but do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it you shall certainly die.” (Bereshit/Genesis 2:16-17). And, though she was tempted, ha-isha chose her own path in that situation based on a reaction to what she felt, not based on an obedient response. By the time the Torah is completed, there are six hundred thirteen (613) commands, and we still cannot not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because we choose our own paths by reacting to feelings instead of staying on the true path in obedient responses.

In remembering that יהוה sets up clear instructions for us, we must also remember that His motive is protection and provision, not to look down on us and laugh because we cannot follow simple instructions. But, when His instructions become negated by our own selfish desires and wants, consequences will be had. Sometimes immediately, as in the case Nadav and Avihu and likewise to Yehoshua and the seventy men with him when they dared to touch the ark of יהוה to find out what the ark contained (read the Haftarah Shemini text of Shemu’el Aleph/1 Samuel 6:1-7:17). Sometimes, the consequences do not come immediately; but, the consequences will still be had, whether days, months, or years later (read the Haftarah Shemini text of Shemu’el Aleph/1 Samuel 20:18-42); this involved the sovereign Sha’ul (Saul), his son, Yehonathan, and young David.

There were times in my youth when I did something wrong and my mother knew it right away, and I was punished right there and then (e.g.-being caught in a lie). There were other times when I made bad- stupid really –choices as a youth and my mother never found out about them until many, many years later, and though there were never punishments from my mother, there were still consequences to my actions (e.g.-my divorces did not just effect me and an ex-husband, they also affected and still affect my children). Likewise, my son, Jackson, will often make a wrong choice that will receive an immediate consequence (e.g.-back talking me or his dad), and there have been some bad choices that Jackson has made that had no immediate consequence but later consequences (e.g.-staying the night with a friend and doing something that he knew I wouldn’t like and then when I do find out about it, usually a few days later, he gets a good talking to and a punishment).

The point is, יהוה tells us to walk in set-apartness because He is set-apart (Vayyiqr/Leviticus 11:44); He wants us to know that He will protect us and provide for us, but we have to stay within the boundaries that He has set up for us, for our protection and provision. Sometimes, like Nadav and Avihu, when you step outside of those boundaries, there will be an immediate consequence; sometimes the consequences do not come for a long time after the wrong deed is done, but the consequence will come eventually … eternal separation from יהוה on the Day of Judgment.

Tas’loniqim Bet/2 Thessalonians 1:3-12 …

We ought to give thanks to Elohim always for you, brothers, as it is proper, because your belief grows exceedingly, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing,

So that we ourselves boast of you among the assemblies of Elohim for your endurance and belief in all your persecutions and afflictions which you are bearing,

Clear evidence of the righteous judgment of Elohim, in order for you to be counted worthy of the reign of Elohim, for which you also suffer,

Since Elohim shall rightly repay with affliction those who afflict you,

And to give you who are afflicted rest with us when the Master יהושצ is revealed from heaven with His mighty messengers,

In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know Elohim, and on those who do not obey the Good News of our Master יהושצ ha-Meshiach,

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Master and from the esteem of His strength,

When He comes to be esteemed in His set-apart ones and to be admired among all those who believe in that Day, because our witness to you was believed.

To this end we always pray for you that our Elohim would count you worthy of this calling, and complete all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of belief with power,

So that the Name of our Master יהושצ ha-Meshiach is esteemed in you, and you in Him, according to the favor of our Elohim and the Master יהושצ ha-Meshiach.

Haftarah Shemini

Shemu'el Aleph/1 Samuel 6:1-7:17


Shemu'el Aleph/1 Samuel 20:18-42


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