Updated: Oct 11
[31 March - 6 April 2024]
Theme of the Book of Leviticus:
Life as a priest.
Meaning of "shmini" = "the eighth day"
This week's Torah portions:
Sunday: Leviticus 9:1-16
Monday: Leviticus 9:17-23
Tuesday: Leviticus 9:24-10:11
Wednesday: Leviticus 10:12-15
Thursday: Leviticus 10:16-20
Friday: Leviticus 11:1-32
Shabbat: Lev 11:33-47 & 2 Samuel 6:1-7:17
Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:
Portions read in the week of Pesach (2-8 April 2023):
Portions read in this week (9-15 April 2023):
Last week week, we took some time "off" from the Torah readings as it was Pesach and the Feast of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits (this week). And now we are back to our weekly readings. This will be our third portion from the book of Leviticus.
The word "shmini" means "the eighth day." And all throughout Scripture, we have this concept of the eighth day - that's almost a little mysterious as not much is said about it in direct detail.
When we look at the Biblical festivals - they all actually have an eighth day - "a day beyond the normal week" like the late Gerrit Nel from Kol Kallah refers to.
The number 8 has the connotation of going beyond the natural.
In this portion, Aaron and the priests take up their roles in the tabernacle, and the whole of Israel gathers at the tabernacle. Where they could see and experience the presence of God.
From this portion we can learn that if we don't take up our responsibilities, we cannot expect to enter the presence of God - much less live in His presence like we are called to do.
The Israelites had to do their part and the priest had to take up their responsibility before they were able to experience His presence amongst them. The same applies to our lives today!
After the Israelites had gathered, Aaron then did some sacrifices and he also blessed the nation with the words we read in Numbers 6. In this prayer there is this continual blessing spoken that God will make His face shine upon you. His face is His presence, it's Who He IS! And thus what Aaron said when he blessed them, is that may they continuously live in God's presence. May they live so close to Him that it will be visible in their physical being for others to see. Aaron was praying that they will see God and get to know Him for Who He is.
When we apply the layout of the tabernacle to our lives...
The outer court represents us laying our lives down. Living a sacrificial life of dying to ourselves. About making the choice to trade in our ways for His.
The inner court / holy place - it's about us taking up our responsibility. We are doing our part as we move closer to Him and His presence. Just like the holy place is moving closer to the Most Holy in the tabernacle from the outer court inwards.
When we get to the Most Holy Place, we get to experience and live life in His presence. We get to live from the Mercy Seat.
If been following the Torah Readings for the past few years now, and for the first time heard this golden nugget! God is in the details WOW! The Hebrew word that was used for the "Mercy" Seat is the same Hebrew word that's used for a woman's "womb." And thus it carries this symbolic meaning of living from a place that brings forth life! When we live from His presence, we live from a place of bringing forth life. And do you remember that the theme of Genesis was about choosing life! That's why we are placed on earth. Then when we got to Exodus, we read about the three concepts of life, light and the continual concept of sowing and reaping - living in the rhythm. Dying to ourselves and rising with Yeshua (life). The light of the menorah, which represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit - we have to be a light unto the world through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And living in this rhythm that God has put in place.
Then Aaron placed the sacrifices on the altars. We then read how two of his sons (also priests) brought incense to the altars, which they were not ready to do - and they were consumed by the fire which God sent down onto the altars.
Aaron was silent when this happened. Which many would find odd, considering that two of his sons just died in front of him. Moses ended up almost in a dispute with Aaron for not mourning his sons the way a person normally would. But in the same breath, Moses also told them not to mourn the traditional way - since Aaron and his other sons had to continue their service in the tabernacle. If they had mourned the traditional way, they would have been considered unclean and would not have been able to serve in the temple for a certain period.
What we often fail to see in the shadows of Aaron's reaction - is that he actually knew that if he had said something or acted in a certain way - he knew that his words, thoughts and actions might have defiled him. And therefore he kept quiet. Aaron knew the weight of his responsibility as high priest. Later on in the portion, Moses acknowledged that Aaron handled the situation correctly - despite the fact that he (Moses) initially thought it was strange for his brother to not mourn the loss of his sons.
In the end of this portion, we also read how God gives them the instructions about Kosher (clean) eating.
We are obviously no longer under the law like the Israelite were. And we can do a whole series of blogs regarding Biblical clean eating. But what we have to understand is that clean eating in the Bible is not about sin and death.
You won't go to hell for having a piece of bacon. It's not a salvation matter, but a holy making matter.
The foods which were listed in the Bible as unclean foods were all created by God and thus they are not bad or from the enemy. But those that are listed as unclean are all scavenger animals. Meaning that they eat unclean things.
And what God basically said when He gave them the rules regarding kosher eating, was that He said to the Israelites that they shouldn't consume things that were bad for them and would make them unclean and defiled. What you eat is what you will become. And that applies to our spiritual lives as well! The things which we consume and keep ourselves busy with will affect our lives.
We have to be honest with ourselves - if we say that we will lay down our lives and take up our responsibility as priests - it means that we can't defile ourselves with unclean things.
When we abide in God's presence, it's not intended to be something that only lasts a short while. Abba's heart is for us to continuously live in His presence. And that requires that we have to continuously pursue this clean lifestyle. What we feed ourselves, what we see, smell, taste, heart, touch, etc - it matters. And this goes far beyond the natural into the spiritual.
We need to make the choice to spiritually feed on what is "kosher" / deemed clean in our spiritual walk. When we do that, we will be able to live His modern day tabernacle and abide in His presence as a lifestyle and not something we enter in temporarily and leave again after a short while.
This lifestyle should become who we are, not only part of who we are. When we live from His presence, we live from a place of life and we will be His representatives on earth! Once again linking to the fact that we have to be a light unto the world.
The theme of this weeks portion is the reminder that there is an eighth day. There is something beyond the natural. There is a spiritual message behind the natural of what we read in the Bible on face value. There is a life to be lived beyond ourselves. We have to live life from His presence, where we will truly get to experience LIFE from His presence and display it to the world for others to see Him through our lives as well!
This comes with a responsibility. We can only live from His presence when we do our part and keep ourselves clean and undefiled. The more we pursue this lifestyle, the more we will grow into the image of Yeshua.
If you are new here, you can follow the Torah portions with us every week!
(Simply click on the one you want to read)
Portion 25: Shmini (This blog you are reading now)