Shemini-Humility and Higher Consciousness
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Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we read the portion of Shemini.
The word Shemini means eighth and the portion begins with the
special instructions which Moshe gave Aharon on the eighth day
of the consecration of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Although the
Mishkan had been consecrated for seven days, Hashem’s presence
had not been felt. On the eighth day, special sacrifices were
offered and the Fire of Hashem’s glory appeared and consumed the
offerings. The experience was so intense that everyone fell to
the floor in amazement and praised Hashem.
The number eight has a special connection to
the revelation of Hashem. The Brit is done on the eight day. On
Yom Kippur, all of the offerings in the Holy of Holies were in
the number eight. The world was created in seven days. Eight
represents the step beyond nature. In service of Hashem this
teaches us that to reach Hashem’s infinite presence we have to
transcend our own nature.
Thereafter, two of Aharon’s children, Nadav
and Avihu, brought an offering that was forbidden. A fire
consumed them and they died. The death of Nadav and Avihu
teaches us that Hashem must be served as He wants, in the
manners prescribed in the Torah. If we seek to have a spiritual
experience outside the parameters of Torah, we are not serving
Hashem, but rather ourselves. As such we are embracing death
instead of life. The reason this occurred shortly after the
revelation of the fire of Hashem’s glory is because their egos
grew when Hashem accepted their offerings. Recognition by Hashem
must increase our humility, not our ego. The Torah continues
that Aharon was silent, because he accepted the decree of
Hashem. His acceptance was pure self nullification, the
antithesis of their error. Aharon’s silence was their Tikkun,
the correction for their error and the healing for their souls.
Thereafter the Torah teaches at length about
the Kosher laws. This comes in sequence to the revelation of the
Divine presence because by sanctifying our bodies through
keeping Kosher we allow Hashem’s presence to dwell within us.
The Torah teaches us that by eating non kosher food we defile
ourselves and chase away the divine presence.
Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai told his students
before his passing that their fear of Heaven should be as strong
as their fear of flesh and blood. A deeper perspective in his
words is that we should be as concerned with the health of the
soul as we are with the health of our flesh and blood. When a
product is found to be tainted, it is recalled. Until there is
clarity which exact product, and from which factory it came,
people remove all products that might be tainted from their
homes and tables. This applies whether the tainting causes
fatality, injury or occasional injury. Even when clarity is
reached, we are wary. We should treat our souls with the same
respect. Instead of eating and then asking, (or not asking), we
should be positive that this food is suitable for our soul.
Eight (Shemini) is a very special number in
connection with Moshiach. The harp in the Temple had seven
strings, whereas the harp in Moshiach’s time will have eight.
Let us pray that we will merit this Shabbat to again see the
revelation of the Divine presence and hear the harp of Moshiach.
Dedicated in reverent memory of Naomi Wilzig. May her soul find
perfect bliss in Gan Eden and may her entire family have only
blessings from now forward.
A project of Chabad of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd.
Great Neck NY 11024
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