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Parashat Shmini

Updated: Apr 19

26th Portion

[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

Apostolic Writings:

Hebrews 8:1-6

Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:

Isaiah 17-24

Proverbs 3-8

Acts 20-25

In the 2022/2023 reading cycle, this portion was read the week after we have celebrated Pesach, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. This year / reading cylce - they harvest year consists of 13 months (not 12 like 2022/2023) - and therefore these feasts will only take place 3 weeks from now.

This is 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.

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. Remember that the theme of Genesis was all 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, hear, 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)

  1. Portion 1: Bereshit

  2. Portion 2: Noach

  3. Portion 3: Lech Lecha

  4. Portion 4: Vayera

  5. Portion 5: Chayei Sarah

  6. Portion 6: Toldot

  7. Portion 7: Vayetzei

  8. Portion 8: Vayishlach

  9. Portion 9: Vayeshev

  10. Portion 10: Miketz

  11. Portion 11: Vayigash

  12. Portion 12: Vayechi

  13. Portion 13: Shemot

  14. Portion 14: Vaera

  15. Portion 15: Bo

  16. Portion 16: Beshalach

  17. Portion 17: Yitro

  18. Portion 18: Mishpatim

  19. Portion 19: Terumah

  20. Portion 20: Tetzaveh

  21. Portion 21: Ki Tisa

  22. Portion 22: Vayakhel & Pekudei

  23. Portion 23: Vayikra

  24. Portion 24: Tzav

  25. Portion 25: Shmini (This blog you are reading now)

  26. Portion 26: Tazria / Metzora

  27. Portion 27: Achrei Mot / Kedoshim

  28. Portion 28: Emor

  29. Portion 29: Behar / Bechukotai

  30. Portion 30: Bamidbar

  31. Portion 31: Nasso

  32. Portion 32: Beha'alotcha

  33. Portion 33: Sh'lach

  34. Portion 34: Korach

  35. Portion 35: Chukat / Balak

  36. Portion 36: Pinchas

  37. Portion 37: Matot / Masei

  38. Portion 38: Devarim

  39. Portion 39: Vaetchanan

  40. Portion 40: Eikev

  41. Portion 41: Re'eh

  42. Portion 42: Shoftim

  43. Portion 43: Ki Teitzei

  44. Portion 44: Ki Tavo

  45. Portion 45: Nitzavim / Vayeilech

  46. Portion 46: Ha'Azinu

  47. Portion 47: Vezot Haberakhah

Portions read in the week of Pesach (2-8 April 2023):

Isaiah 36-39

Proverbs 25-28

Acts 25-27

Revelations 19-21

Portions read in this week (9-15 April 2023):

Isaiah 40-43

Proverbs 29-31

Job 1

Acts 28

James 1-3

Revelations 22

Matthew 1-3

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