Parashah Roundup: Shemini 5768

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by Steve Brizel

Life Lessons

  • R. Zvi Sobolofsky reminds us that the lessons of the incident of the death of Aharon HaKohen’s sons and Hilchos Maachalos Assuros is to teach us what is permissible and what is not in all aspects of life: link
  • Moshe Rabbeinu’s Encouragement to Aharon HaKohen

  • The Baal Shem Tov, as quoted by the Degel Machaneh Efraim (as prepared by R. Eliezer Kwass), shows us that Moshe Rabbeinu assured Aharon HaKohen that he was the proper person to serve as the Kohen Gadol precisely because Aharon HaKohen was concerned about his role in the Episode of the Golden Calf: link
  • R. Yaacov Haber (Torahlab) demonstrates how the roles of both Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohen were indispensable to Jewish unity: link
  • Click here to read moreThe Actions of Nadav and Avihu

  • R. Mayer Twersky suggests that the actions of Nadav and Avihu are symbolic of Rabbanim of a lesser Halachic stature who deem themselves worthy of answering Halachic inquiries that were historically reserved for Gedolei Talmidie Chachamim Poskim: link
  • R. Yissachar Frand examines the roles of Elazar and Isamar as examples of survivors of traumatic events and their responsibilities: link
  • R. Yitzchak Etshalom investigates the actions of Nadav and Avihu in light of a halacha in the Rambam (Bias Mikdash 1:3) and the role defined by the Rambam for Kohanim in that Halacha: link
  • Aharon HaKohen’s Reaction to the Death of His Two Sons

  • R. Berel Wein contrasts the reactions of Aharon HaKohen and Iyov in dealing with personal tragedies: link
  • R. Asher Brander posits the difference between an active and quiet silence: link
  • The Interplay Between Moshe Rabbeinu, Aharon Hakohen, Elazar and Isamar

  • R. Ezra Bick examines the assumptions and discussions after the death of Nadav and Avihu: link
  • Tefillah, Birkas Kohanim and Karbanos

  • R. Herschel Schachter, based upon an idea developed by Rav Solveitchik zt”l in a Yahrtzeit shiur, explores the relationship between Tefillah and Karbanos and that we ask that our Tefilos should be considered as if we offfered a Karban and why Birkas Kohanim is recited at the end of Chazaras HaShatz: link
  • Kashrus

  • R. Jonathan Sacks suggests that the halachos of Kashrus represent a Divine Message that although man rules over the animal kingdom, not all animals are permitted for human consumption: link
  • R. Ephraim Buchwald explores many reasons given by the Commentators for the Halachos of Kashrus and suggests that these detailed Halachos are a means of unifying the Jewish People on both an individual and communal level: link
  • R. Baruch Simon, in his weekly shiur, explores why the Torah chose various halachos and animals were designated as signs of Tumah and Taharah: link (audio)
  • R. Shalom Rosner (may he have a successful aliyah and klitah in Israel!) discusses the Halachos and Hashkafa of Bishum Akum: link (audio)
  • R. Gedalia Hochberg discusses the requirement of Masores in identifying a kosher bird: link
  • R. Shlomo Riskin proves that Kashrus, because of its nature as a Chok, demonstrates that God is the ultimate arbiter of what is proper and improper: link
  • Parshas Parah Department

  • R. Aharon Lichtenstein emphasizes that Parshas Parah , like all Chukim and many mitzvos, teaches us that we cannot make adherence to mitzvos based on what seems like a rational basis that can be challenged on empirical evidence: link
  • R. Yaakov Haber (formerly of RIETS) explains why the Parah Adumah is an atonement for the Episode of the Golden Calf: link
  • R. Moshe Stav (KBY) explores the common denominator between Parshas Parah and Karban: link
  • R. Ari Waxman discusses the special powers of the Parah Adumah: link
  • About Gil Student

    Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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