Parashat Shemini (Eighth) Leviticus 9:1-11:47
Maftir: Numbers 19:1-22
Haftarah: Ezekiel 36:16-38
Shabbat Parah- The Red Heiffer
This is a special Shabbat as we read two readings that are connected to the time of the year. Because it is after Purim, but before the month of Nisan, the sages wanted to remind people of the necessity to be pure in order to go up to Jerusalem and offer the Passover Lamb. The strongest form of impurity is caused by contact with death; therefore the section concerning the law of the Red Heiffer is read.
In the regular Torah reading there is the prohibition to Aaron, and to all priests, not to drink alcohol when serving in the tabernacle. The text is most specific that alcohol effects one’s ability to discern and thereby making it impossible to teach HaShem’s decrees to the people (see Lev. 10:10). As believers we need to give serious thought not just to what is permissible, but to HaShem’s best. The book of Hebrews makes it clear that we are by faith recipients of a greater covenant. In one sense every believer is a priest. The difference is we serve not in a Temple made by human hands that is located in Jerusalem, but our call is at all times and at every location.
Therefore we need to give strong consideration to those things that can influence our judgment or cause others to reject the things we say. There are those that see great significance in the fact that this section dealing with alcohol follows the portion of Scripture where Nadav and Avihu offered a strange fire and were slain by G-d. Perhaps the reason for the strange fire was because Nadav and Avihu were intoxicated?
I wonder how many times, because I was under the influence of pride, anger, or some other sin, did I fail to discern something properly and an opportunity was lost or I caused someone to move further away from the Gospel. Nadav and Avihu did not get a second chance or an opportunity to correct their sin. Maybe this is what tomorrow is—a chance to set right something wrong that we’ve done?
Why not pray today that Yeshua makes known to you something that you can repair and set right?
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