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The Eighth [Day]

On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel. - Leviticus 9:1

  • Aaron and his sons follow Moses' instructions and offer sacrifices so that God will forgive the people. (9:1-24)
  • Two of Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, offer "alien fire" to God. God punishes these two priests by killing them immediately. (10:1-3)
  • God forbids Moses, Aaron, and his surviving sons from mourning but commands the rest of the people to do so. Priests are told not to drink alcohol before entering the sacred Tabernacle and are further instructed about making sacrifices. (10:4-20)
  • Laws are given to distinguish between pure and impure animals, birds, fish, and insects. (11:1-47)

When do we read Sh'mini?

2016 Apr 2 /23 Adar II, 5776
2017 Apr 22 /26 Nisan, 5777


  • By Robert Tornberg

    This week's parashah, Sh'mini, consists of three distinct parts that do not appear, on the surface, to relate directly to one to another. Let's begin by looking at a summary of each of these parts.

    The first section of this portion appears to be a continuation of the previous two parashiyot. Vayikra and Tzav, deal in great detail with how the various sacrifices were to be offered at the Tabernacle (and later, the Temple), and end with a description of the dedication of the Tabernacle and the ordination of the priests (kohanim). Sh'mini opens on the eighth day of the ordination ceremony. Moses instructs Aaron and his sons to bring specific animals for a burnt offering (olah), a sin offering (chatat), an offering of well-being (zevach sh'lamim), and a meal offering (minchah), to atone for any sins they or the people may have committed.

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