Sunday, April 22, 2012

Parshat Sh'mini, 5772/2012 thoughts (a tad belated)

You can read the basics of Parshat Sh'mini ( Leviticus 9:1–11:47) here.

  • The deaths of Nadav and Avihu
A long-ago former rabbi of ours once told the tragic true story of some congregants memorialized on a plague in the sanctuary--trying to save her two sons from a fire, the mother had flung open the door to their bedroom, and the room had exploded, killing the mother and both sons instantaneously.  He thought that the same thing had happened with Nadav and Avihu--a sudden influx of oxygen near a fire had caused an explosion that had pulled all the air out of their lungs, with death cause by suffocation rather than burning.   His proof was that, as had happened with the deceased congregants, Nadav and Avihu had died while still fully clothed--as it's written in Sh'mini/Leviticus, chapter 10, verse 5, their cousins carried them out "in their tunics."  See dust explosion, and remember that the Ohel Moed was made not only of flammable curtains that might have allowed a sudden influx of oxygen, but also, that much wood-carving for the support beams could have left wood dust in the air.

  • My husband's d'var Torah/words of Torah, Hillel-style (standing on one foot)
Why are there both sacrifice readings and laws of kashrut included in this parshah?  His theory is that the Jewish sacrificial laws distinguished Jews from pagans in the days of the Bet HaMikdash/Holy Temple, with human sacrifice being forbidden for Jews but a frequent occurrence among pagans, and that since the destruction of the Bet HaMikdash, it's the laws of kashrut that have distinguished Jews from non-Jews.

See also my Parshat Shemini:  You don't mess with Moses (Saturday, March 26, 2011).


Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>