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5 Facts About Parshat Shemini That (Maybe) You Didn't Know

Published on Wednesday March 27th, 2019

Discover and learn every week, "5 Facts" written on the weekly Parsha that you can share at your Shabbos table.


וַיְהִי֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁמִינִ֔י קָרָ֣א מֹשֶׁ֔ה לְאַהֲרֹ֖ן וּלְבָנָ֑יו וּלְזִקְנֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

On the eighth day, Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel.

1. Who is the unique person who did not contribute to the Mishkan?

  • Everybody, except Moshe, contributed to the building of the Mishkan.


וַתֵּ֤צֵא אֵשׁ֙ מִלִּפְנֵ֣י ה וַתֹּ֙אכַל֙ עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּ֔חַ אֶת־הָעֹלָ֖ה וְאֶת־הַחֲלָבִ֑ים וַיַּ֤רְא כָּל־הָעָם֙ וַיָּרֹ֔נּוּ וַֽיִּפְּל֖וּ עַל־פְּנֵיהֶֽם׃

Fire came forth from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat parts on the altar. And all the people saw, and shouted, and fell on their faces.

2. What other miracles took place in the Temple at this time?

  • In addition to the miracle of the fire, there was miraculously room for everyone in the Temple to fall on their hands and knees despite the small space in which they were located. They also received Ruach HaKodesh/Divine Inspiration at that moment and started singing praises and thanks to Hashem.


וַיִּקְח֣וּ בְנֵֽי־אַ֠הֲרֹן נָדָ֨ב וַאֲבִיה֜וּא אִ֣ישׁ מַחְתָּת֗וֹ וַיִּתְּנ֤וּ בָהֵן֙ אֵ֔שׁ וַיָּשִׂ֥ימוּ עָלֶ֖יהָ קְטֹ֑רֶת וַיַּקְרִ֜בוּ לִפְנֵ֤י ה֙ אֵ֣שׁ זָרָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹ֦א צִוָּ֖ה אֹתָֽם׃

Now Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu each took his fire pan, put fire in it, and laid incense on it; and they offered before the LORD alien fire, which He had not enjoined upon them.

3. Who was Avihu reincarnated into?

  • Avihu was reincarnated several times: in Aviha ben son of Yeravam ben Navat, Eliyahu, Zecharyahu son of Yevarcheyu HaCohen, Shmuel Hanavi, and Shimshon. He also had some of the soul of Cain and Adam.

4. What were they thinking, trying to replace Moshe?

  • Nadav and Avihu thought that they would be the ones to replace Moshe and Aaron when they die. Their intention in bringing the incense was to save them from dying.


וַתֵּ֥צֵא אֵ֛שׁ מִלִּפְנֵ֥י ה וַתֹּ֣אכַל אוֹתָ֑ם וַיָּמֻ֖תוּ לִפְנֵ֥י ה׃

And fire came forth from the LORD and consumed them; thus they died at the instance of the LORD.

5. How did Nadav and Avihu die?

  • From here we learn, that Nadav and Avihu’s bodies were not burned, but rather, they died in a manner similar to natural death in which the body remains intact. Others say, that they were indeed burned (though their clothes remained intact).

  • Others say, that four beams of fire suddenly emerged and entered their nostrils, causing their souls to burn. Their bodies remained completely intact.


Eytan Yéhouda DZIKOWSKI - © Torah-Box Account

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