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Parashat Hashavua - Parashat Shimini

PARASHAT SHMINI

At the beginning of the Parsha, the Torah tells us that on the eighth day of installation of Aharon and his sons to the service of Kehuna in the newly erected Mishkan, Moshe Rabeinu summoned Aharon, and his sons and the elders of Bnei Yisrael.  We may ask, why did Moshe Rabeinu call the elders of Yisrael on that day, when they had no task at all in the in the services of the new Mishkan?

Rabbi Akiva answers this in Medras Vayikra Raba (11:8) saying that Bnei Yisroel are compared to a bird. Just as a bird cannot fly without wings, so Bnei Yisrael cannot exist without their elders.  This Medrash signifies the greatness of Moshe Rabeinu, HIs Derech Eretz and his devotion to his people. He wanted Bnei Yisrael to ask thier questions to the elders and not to him.  Therefore, Moshe Rabeinu invited the eminent elders of this festive occasion.

This Parsha is called Shmini since it began with the description of the eighth day of installation when the Kohanim assumed their new role.  This day fell on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, when the Mishkan was erected, in the second year after Yetzias Mitzraim.  From then on the Shechina, the Divine Presence, rested in the camp of Bnei Yisrael.  Our Sages (Megillah 6) tell us that on that day, Hashem's joy was as great as the day He created Heaven and Earth.

 

Ten significant events occured on Rosh Chodesh Nisan: It was the first day of creation; the first in the order of the months; the first day that the leaders of the Tribes brought Korbonos in honor of the new Mishkan; the first day that the Kohanim performed the Kehuna; the beginning of the regular sacrificial service including the Communal Offerings; the first day that the Heavenly fire burned the Offerings on the Mizbeach; the first day that sacrificial meat was eaten, since during the seven days of Moshe Rabeinu's Kehuna, the animals were burned completely; the first day that it was forbidden to bring offerings on private alters,  'Bamos'; the first day that the Schechina rested upon Bnei Yisrael, indicating that the Schechina would rest upon them only when they had the Mishkan; and the first day that Bircas Kohanim was pronounced upon Bnei Yisrael. (Seder Olam, Shabbos 87a)

 

Our Sages ask: Why does the Torah stipulate at the beginning of the Parsha: On the eighth day, Moshe summoned Aharon, his sons and the elders of Yisrael?  It is well known that Aharon, his sons, and the elders came to Moshe Rabeinu every single day to learn Torah from him and to then teach it to the rest of Bnei Yisrael.

According to Rashi, Moshe Rabeinu called to Aharon and his sons and the elders of Yisrael to make them hear that by His express word Aharon entered and served in the High Priesthood and that they should not say that by himself he entered (Tanchuma)

 

Moshe Rabeinu was afraid that there would be those among Bnei Yisrael who would object to Aharon's appointment as Kohen Gadol in the Mishkan which was newly erected.  Therefore Moshe Rabeinu took the initiative and called all the prominent leaders of the Tribes, to inform them that Aharon did not take this post of his own free will, but it was instructed to him by Hashem.

 

At the beginning of the Parsha, the Torah tells us that on the eighth day of installation of Aharon and his sons to the service of Kehuna in the newly erected Mishkan, Moshe Rabeinu summoned Aharon, and his sons and the elders of Bnei Yisrael.  We may ask, why did Moshe Rabeinu call the elders of Yisrael on that day, when they had no task at all in the in the services of the new Mishkan?

Rabbi Akiva answers this in Medras Vayikra Raba (11:8) saying that Bnei Yisroel are compared to a bird. Just as a bird cannot fly without wings, so Bnei Yisrael cannot exist without their elders.  This Medrash signifies the greatness of Moshe Rabeinu, HIs Derech Eretz and his devotion to his people. He wanted Bnei Yisrael to ask thier questions to the elders and not to him.  Therefore, Moshe Rabeinu invited the eminent elders of this festive occasion.

This Parsha is called Shmini since it began with the description of the eighth day of installation when the Kohanim assumed their new role.  This day fell on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, when the Mishkan was erected, in the second year after Yetzias Mitzraim.  From then on the Shechina, the Divine Presence, rested in the camp of Bnei Yisrael.  Our Sages (Megillah 6) tell us that on that day, Hashem's joy was as great as the day He created Heaven and Earth.

 

Ten significant events occured on Rosh Chodesh Nisan: It was the first day of creation; the first in the order of the months; the first day that the leaders of the Tribes brought Korbonos in honor of the new Mishkan; the first day that the Kohanim performed the Kehuna; the beginning of the regular sacrificial service including the Communal Offerings; the first day that the Heavenly fire burned the Offerings on the Mizbeach; the first day that sacrificial meat was eaten, since during the seven days of Moshe Rabeinu's Kehuna, the animals were burned completely; the first day that it was forbidden to bring offerings on private alters,  'Bamos'; the first day that the Schechina rested upon Bnei Yisrael, indicating that the Schechina would rest upon them only when they had the Mishkan; and the first day that Bircas Kohanim was pronounced upon Bnei Yisrael. (Seder Olam, Shabbos 87a)

 

Our Sages ask: Why does the Torah stipulate at the beginning of the Parsha: On the eighth day, Moshe summoned Aharon, his sons and the elders of Yisrael?  It is well known that Aharon, his sons, and the elders came to Moshe Rabeinu every single day to learn Torah from him and to then teach it to the rest of Bnei Yisrael.

According to Rashi, Moshe Rabeinu called to Aharon and his sons and the elders of Yisrael to make them hear that by His express word Aharon entered and served in the High Priesthood and that they should not say that by himself he entered (Tanchuma)

 

Moshe Rabeinu was afraid that there would be those among Bnei Yisrael who would object to Aharon's appointment as Kohen Gadol in the Mishkan which was newly erected.  Therefore Moshe Rabeinu took the initiative and called all the prominent leaders of the Tribes, to inform them that Aharon did not take this post of his own free will, but it was instructed to him by Hashem.

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