Hi fifth grade families.
This week we studied Parashat Shemini. In this parashah we hear some of the major rules for Kashrut and the Kohanim begin the sacrifices on the Mizbeach. They spent a week learning what to do and now on the eighth day (yom ha-Shemini) they are ready to begin their jobs. At first things are going well and then we are told that two of Aharon’s sons bring an “esh zara” (a strange fire) to the mishkan and the fire becomes very hot and they die. This is a mysterious passage that is difficult to understand. Immediately afterwards Hashem tells Moshe to tell the Kohanim not to drink alcohol when they come to work in the Mishkan. To further understand what is happening here we read two commentaries.
Rashi (who lived 1000 years ago in France) explains that Avihu and Nadav had been drinking and their behavior was not fitting for the Mishkan.
Rashar Hirsh (who lived in Germany 150 years ago) said that what happened to them is a warning to us to follow the rules and not to try to add to the Torah. We need to learn it and draw meaning from it, but not add to it.
The main idea that comes through this parashah is that we need to have respect for our Torah and for holy places and be sure to act appropriately.
Morah Donna and Morah Yiska