Parshat Shmini

(Leviticus: 9:1- 11:47)
Parshat Parah
(Numbers: 19:1-22)
(Haftara: Yechezkel 36, 16-38)

1. [Parshiot Para, Hachodesh and Hagadol] We read Parshat Para to remind us that we have to purify ourselves as a preparation for Pesach. We read Parshat Hachodesh to remind us that Pesach is approaching and we read Parshat Hagadol to remind us that Pesach is very close. The other festivals do not have so many reminders in the synagogue that the festival is approaching. Why is there this emphasis on preparing for Pesach?

2. [36:26] “I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”. What specific changes will happen to the individual and then to the nation as a whole, when this prophecy is realized?

3. [Parshat Para] Even though we no longer have the Passover lamb sacrifice, we read Parshat Parah before the month of Passover in order to give us a feeling of purity. Parshat Parah tells how one becomes purified from contact with the dead. Why is a feeling of purity suitable for the festival of Passover?

4. [Parshat Para] We read Parshat Parah before the month of Passover in order to give us a feeling of purity. In the days of the Temple, we had to be ritually pure in order to eat the Passover sacrifice. We didn’t have to be ritually pure in order to hear the shofar or to sit in the sukkah. Why did someone have to be ritually pure in order to do the commandments of Passover properly?

5. [Haftara: Ezekiel 36:36] “The nations will know …that I, God, have built the destroyed places, and planted that which was desolate… ” Apparently, people will rebuild everything, but the nations will know that this is a miracle from God. If they see that people did the work and the reconstruction, how will they recognize that it is really a miracle from God?


[9:1] “And it was [Vayehi] the eighth day…”

Wherever the Torah says “vayehi”, it means something bad or painful. What is painful about setting up the mishkan (the Temple in the desert?

The answer is that the existence of the mishkan itself is a painful fact. At first, God wanted His mishkan to be built in the heart of every Jew. However, after the sin of the golden calf, He was forced to limit His dwelling-place in this world to a physical tent.

–R. Yisrael of Rizhin (a major Chassidic Rebbe)

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker
And to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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