Shemini- Shared Reading
Torah Portions 3.3: Shemini (Wayyiqra) [Leviticus] Chapters 9:1-11:47
Hebrew Word/Phrase of the Week: Shemini
This week’s Torah Portion is called Shemini (ynyms), which is “Eighth.“ On the eighth day, YHWH gives more details on the laws and instructions, telling us what’s clean and unclean.
Chapter 9: On the eighth day, Moshe called Aharon, his sons, and the elders of Yashra’el to tell them to bring their offerings because YHWH was going to appear to them that day. So they prepared their offerings and Aharon baruk (blessed) the people. Then Moshe and Aharon went into the Tent of Meeting, and came out and blessed the people together. And the esteem of YHWH appeared to all the people and fire came out and consumed their burnt offering and also the fat on the altar. The people saw this and cried aloud and fell on their faces.
Chapter 10: And Nadab and Abihu (the sons of Aharon), brought strange fire before YHWH, something YHWH did not command them to do. So fire came out from YHWH and consumed the two of them. Moshe called to the sons of Uzzi’el (the uncle of Aharon), and told them to take their brothers from the set-apart place to outside of the camp. Then Moshe told them not to take off their hats or tear their garments because of the fire, but to let all the house of Yashra’el mourn for them. As kohen (priests), they could not leave the tent of meeting boundaries because of the anointing oil of YHWH being on them. YHWH goes on to tell Aharon that he and his sons(the ones that were still left) were not to drink wine or strong drink when they go into the Tent of Meeting, and that was a law forever throughout all generations. Then Moshe spoke to Aharon and his sons who were left, to take the left over grain and eat it without leaven beside the altar, because it was theirs by law and their sons’ by law. They were to also eat their portions of the meat offerings in a clean place, and that this too was theirs by law.
Chapter 11: Then YHWH spoke to Moshe and Aharon explaining the living creatures that they could eat among all the beasts (land animals) that are on the earth: Whatever has a split hoof completely divided, chewing the cud.
Fun Fact: A camel for example, would be unclean because it chews the cud but does not have a split hoof. Or, a rabbit, because it chews the cud but does not have a split hoof.
YHWH also said not to eat the unclean animals, and not to touch their carcass. Then he explained what they could eat from the waters: Anything that has fins and scales in the seas or in the rivers. But if it doesn’t have fins and scales in the seas or in the rivers, they are an abomination to you. Definitely not for eating.
What about birds? Don’t eat these!
The eagle, vulture, black vulture, hawk, falcon after its kind, raven after its kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, seagull, hawk after its kind, the little owl, fisher owl, the great owl, white owl, pelican, carrion vulture, stork, heron after its kind, hoopoe, and the bat.
What about insects?
Well YHWH said that all flying insects that creep on all fours is an abomination. But you can eat of every flying insect that creeps on all fours, if it has jointed legs above their feet to leap with. This means the locusts, crickets, grasshoppers. But all other flying insects which have four feet is an abomination.
This is the Torah of the beasts and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth, to make a distinction between clean and unclean, and what could be eaten and what couldn’t be.
Fun Fact: A giraffe is a clean animal for food, although laws protect them from human consumption. But, it does have a split in it’s hoof and chews it cud.
Want to know more? Join us next time and we continue to read through Wayyiqra (Leviticus)!