June 14, 2024
Parashat Shemini and Shabbat Mevarchim

When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. This week I learned about Parashat Shemini (שְּׁמִינִי‎), the 26th weekly Torah portion in the annual cycle of Torah readings.

According to Wikipedia, Shemini (שְּׁמִינִי‎), Leviticus 9:1 through 11:47, contains 4,670 Hebrew letters, 1,238 words, 91 verses and makes up 157.

Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on this week’s Torah reading, Shemini:

“It seems that we are always counting- perhaps this explains why so many famous Sages and great mathematicians and physicists are Jewish. We are in the time of the year when we count a new night of the Omer as we march from Passover to Shavuot. The Torah portion begins with the number eight which was the number of days that the Kohanim needed to prepare themselves for the beginning of ritual sacrifices. Later in the Sedra, we are enumerating those animals which are Kosher and those which are not. Why so much concern with counting?

Perhaps we should be more concerned about making each day count by making every moment that we are alive more of a reason to celebrate than to regret. We are told that the reason Hashem gave us 49 days from exiting Egypt to the revelation of the 10 Commandments on Sinai was to allow us time to prepare to elevate our level of holiness and commitment and to shed the idolatry and mental slavery that we suffered from.

History, unfortunately, records that perhaps 49 days weren’t enough to overcome 410 years of being subject to slavery and subjugation. Likewise, Aaron’s sons Nadav and Avihu were unprepared to take the mantle of leadership given to them by G-d and perhaps being overwhelmed by the daunting task ahead, drank strong beverages which rendered them unholy and caused them to lose their lives.

The major lessons to be gleaned from these events is to approach life with enthusiasm but also to not to be overwhelmed by upcoming events because it may cause us to lose focus. Focus on the counting but also try to work steadily and steadfastly toward a positive outcome with G-d’s help.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Among those animals that are not Kosher are the pig, the camel, and the rabbit. Why are they unkosher even though they meet one of the criteria?
  2. What are the modern contexts of the word Kosher as applied to business dealings?
  3. Why was Aaron silent upon the tragic death of his two sons?
  4. How does Moses act in the wake of the tragedy? 

Rabbi Michael D. Klein

Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track and received his shicha from Yeshiva Adath Wolkowisk and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.

Choose Shabbat; choose to celebrate, to light candles, sing songs and learn a little Torah.

This moment of Jewish Learning is brought to you by the Florida Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC). We are part of a confederation of over 200 Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods representing over 20,000 members across the United States, Canada, Latin America, and beyond. Learn more about how your Jewish Men’s Club or Brotherhood can affiliate with the FJMC at: https://www.fjmc.org/content/affiliating-fjmc.

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