Parashat Shemini (Eighth) Leviticus 9:1-11:47
Haftarah: 2 Samuel 6:1-7:17
The first thing that one learns when reading this week’s Torah portion is that the service of the Kohanim (Priests) begins. It is significant that the service begins on the eighth day, as the number eight relates to new beginnings. In fact, the number eight is also related to the Kingdom and the concept of redemption. The sacrificial service that began in the Tabernacle was so important that it is relayed to the reader with these words,
“And Moses said, ‘This is the thing which HaShem commanded you should do’ and appeared unto them the glory of HaShem.” Leviticus 9:6
Although it is obvious that “the thing” which the verse is referring to is the work of the Kohanim, what is connection between their work and the glory of the L-rd appearing unto them? The answer to this question is found in the next verse. There, Moses instructs Aharon to come near to the Altar and to perform the work of the sin offering (See verse 7). The atoning for sin is absolutely necessary in order that the relationship between Israel and HaShem is healed and once again G-d’s presence i.e. the glory of the L-rd, can be experienced by His people.
It is most significant that the emphasis of the sin offering is the blood. Beginning in verse 9 we are told that the priest brought the blood to Aharon and he dipped his finger in the blood and placed the blood upon the horns of the Altar and on its foundation; in other words, on the very top of the Altar and on its bottom. The intent of this statement is to imply the whole Altar, even though only these two places are mentioned.
This reminds me of what is said concerning Yeshua shortly before He laid down His life. Yeshua had come to Bethany and there John’s Gospel informs the reader that Miriam (Mary) took costly ointment and anointed the feet of Yeshua, foreshadowing His burial (See John 12:1-3). However, in Matthew and Mark the emphasis is on Yeshua’s head (See Matthew 26:6-9 and Mark 14:3-5). It is through the complete picture which is laid out in the Gospels that one learns that Yeshua was giving His whole body as the atonement for sin.
The blood of the numerous sacrifices that were offered first in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple, only pointed to the All Sufficient Sacrifice for sin, the blood of Yeshua.
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