Shemini

Leviticus chapter 8 left us with the fact that the High Priest and his sons were not to leave the entrance of the Tent of Meeting (8:33). The initiation period had to be seven days. On the eighth day Aharon and his sons were going to be authorized to function as priests. The eighth day is, like day of circumcision, the day of the Messiah. The connection with the priestly functioning of these representatives of Israel, Aharon and his sons, is clear.

Messiah, mashiach, means anointed. Anointing is done with oil, the substance of heavenly touch. Oil in Hebrew is: shemen. And the number eight is in Hebrew: shemoneh. The oil is the sign of the crowning of the Deliverer of the eighth day. And the priests of Israel, in particular the High Priest, is the symbol of the Messiah and therefore of Hashem himself.

Hashem is represented by Yeshua as the Son. Like we read in Proverbs 30 verse 4, Who ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who gathered the wind in his fists? Who bound the waters in a garment? Who established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son. You know it, don’t you! And like Hashem is represented by Yeshua as His Son, Aharon as symbol of the Messiah and of Hashem, was represented by his sons.

When two of Aharon’s sons died, see chapter 10, Aharon was forbidden to have his hair hang loose and to tear his clothes as signs of mourning. Because these two sons, Nadav and Avihu, had performed wrong acts. But when G-d’s Son died Hashem mourned. And He was allowed to do so, because His Son had not performed any wrong acts. The signs of G-d’s mourning was the tearing of the parochet, the veil of the Temple, read Matthew 27:51.

In chapter eleven we learn about kashrut, the rules of what is considered food and what is not. It is always funny to hear people who seem to understand the reasons as to why Hashem has given these specifics concerning which animals are pure and which are not. For a pig that might be true. But on the day of my bar mitzvah the chazzan who had taught me to chant the Torah portion taught the people in my synagogue that it is for the same reason we cannot consider pork as food that we cannot consider camel as food. And that reason is: because G-d says so.

There is no health reason not to eat camel ribs. If we try to find it we even circumvent the reason why Hashem has given us these kashrut rules. And that reason is: we need to relearn to obey Hashem. These laws, like all the others, are given to bring more holiness in our lives. And holiness brings more spiritual understanding of Torah means. It is like when we listen to forbidden sounds, e.g. music which is too loud and harms our ears, that we are not able to hear the good sounds anymore.

Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Lion S. Erwteman, Rosh Kehillah of Beth Yeshua
Amsterdam, Holland