Texts: Leviticus 12:1 – 13:59 & Leviticus 14:1 – 15:33 || II Kings 4:42-5:19; II Kings 7:3-7:20
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavours to search for and accentuate the Torah Messages contained in the Parashot as applicable to the main Theme of Tanach of the Return of the House of Israel, i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes of Northern Israel and their Reconciliation with Judah to form the reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel.
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DISCLAIMER – The authors whom we quote from for this Commentary are not associated with KOL HA’TOR and need not agree with our views expressed herein or in our other publications. While we publish their views for its relative value to the interpretation of the Parashah, KOL HATOR does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these authors.
The following extracts from Rabbinic commentaries on Parashat Tazriah & Metzorah have been compiled into a comprehensive Commentary by Kol HaTor with our own comments and insights between [brackets].
There are 54 separate Torah portions in the annual Jewish Torah reading program. In non-leap years there are only 50 Sabbaths. For this reason some Torah portions are combined and read together for one week. This week Parashot Tazria and Metzora, which are two of the least popular portions for modern Jews, are combined. [For detailed weekly Torah Reading specifications for every year in advance, refer to: www.hebcal.com/sedrot/ ].
For this week we have selected Rabbinic commentaries which not only link onto our last Parashah, with the amazing Message protruding from the death of Nadav and Avihu in the Tabernacle, but also bring a sequence of these ‘dry” and uninteresting, legalistic Parashot into exciting perspective. Come share once more in the life-giving experience that Rabbinic insight gives to the written Word that is so often skimmed over or even excluded by readers of the Bible.
Before setting out on this exciting spiritual high-ride, we need to make mental notes of key Hebrew terms that not only underlie this commentary and much of the main theme of the Bible, but should also form part of the sincere Bible searcher’s future vocabulary:
- Tahor – undefiled, clean, pristine (noun tehorah – pure, undefiled).
- Tahmei – impure, defiled (noun: tumah – defiled, unclean).
- Tzara’at – defilement, skin disease akin to leprosy
- Metzorah – someone afflicted by tzara’at.
Summary of this week’s double Torah portion: After last week’s portion regarding tumah (spiritual defilement) resulting from dead animals, Parshat Tazria introduces the various categories of tumah emanating from human beings. A woman after giving birth is ritually impure for a certain period of time prescribed for her to stay away from the Tabernacle or Temple. The rest of the portion describes in great detail the varying and numerous manifestations of a skin disease called tzara’at – the physical manifestation of a spiritual malaise, a punishment from G-d for the sin of speaking evil speech, amongst various other anti-social transgressions. A metzorah, (someone afflicted by a tzaraat-like skin disease) is subject to a series of examinations by a Cohen (priest), who declares the patient to be either tahor (pure) or tamei (impure). If tamei, he is isolated outside of the camp, an appropriate punishment for someone whose foul tongue caused dissension amongst others. After the period of defilement, the formerly afflicted person offers sacrifices before being declared ritually pure again by the High Priest.
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The second, parashat Metzora, further deals with treatment for tzara’at. Metzora also contains the first mention of ritual immersion of a person in water for spiritual purification from a physical impurity (‘baptism’).
In parashat Shemini last week we read about Aaron’s two righteous sons, Nadav and Avihu, bringing “alien fire” into the Holy of Holies, a service which only the High Priest was permitted to perform once a year on Yom Kippur. They paid with their lives for their excessive zeal based on their advanced thinking on matters Divine. We considered this as a cautionary reprimand for today’s reawakening Ten Tribers who are so greatly blessed with discovering and restoring Hebraic Truths which were hidden to them while in exile amongst the nations. Many of these non-Jewish restorers of ancient Hebraic Truths become unteachable, considering their ‘discoveries’ as exclusive Divine gifts and privileges. It is not strange for these restorers to “barge in where Angels fear to tread” with their hasty and often shallow condemnations, judgments, conclusions and rejection especially, of Eabbinic guidance, formulated during the ‘life-long’ extensive period of 3500 years, tight back from the time of Moses himself!.
Let us now embark on this week’s Parashot as the wisdom of Rabbinic insight instills ‘life’ into an otherwise dormant seeming portion of legalistic Scripture.
Rabbi Reuven Mann of Mesorah.org observes as follows (www.mesora.org):
“According to the Rabbis these phenomena [of sin-induced skin diseases] are no longer in existence, for we are not on a high enough level to warrant this degree of Divine Providence. We must therefore be even more careful about the type of speech we indulge in. The Torah regards cleanliness of speech as essential to a life of holiness. The words we utter can have profound consequences not only on others but on ourselves as well. We should always be cognizant of the temptation and danger of slanderous speech and take all the necessary precautions to avoid it.”
Rabbi David Silverberg from Virtual Beyt Midrash (www.vbm-torah.org):
“Parashat Tazria introduces us to the laws of tzara’at, a type of skin-disease which renders the patient tamei (ritually impure). Throughout the ages, scholars have uncovered for us the symbolism underlying this institution and its particular laws, showing how the procedures for dealing with tzara’at reflect the proper approach towards spiritual defilement in general. These analyses generally take into account the prominent role of the kohen throughout this process. The kohen was the only one who could formally declare the presence of tzara’at. A non-kohen, no matter how proficient he may be in the relevant laws, cannot establish tum’at tzara’at [skin defilement]. Only once the kohen determines the presence of tzara’at does the patient become ritually impure.
Similarly, as the Torah outlines in the beginning of Parashat Metzora, the kohen is the one who conducts the metzora’s [individual defiled person] process of purification. The kohen’s role is often seen as symbolic of the function served by the spiritual guides and leaders in “purifying” the community from their spiritual ills.
“The Midrash attributes tzara’at to the “drying of a fountain”. Leaving aside the physiological issue of to what exactly this Midrash refers, let us address the more crucial question: what does this represent in terms of tzara’at and its symbolic meaning?
“Rav Stollman suggests that Chazal teach us in this passage that impurity results from a “drained fountain”. The process of defilement does not take place in a vacuum, it does not occur suddenly without reason. A person or community becomes “tamei” when its authentic fountains of spirituality are drained, when the “hairs” begin to “drink” from alternative sources of “life” rather than their traditional teachings. Tum’a thus means the detachment from one’s source, from one’s origins.
[This is a condition that the 10 Northern Tribes of Israel in exile amongst the nations have been facing for the last 2800 years, being Divinely banned from the Land of Israel. The modern phenomenon of the world wide Hebraic Roots Restoration Movement is bringing awareness of their Hebrew Roots to millions of these lost and scattered sheep of the House of Israel, drawing them to Torah observation and a desire to return to the Promised Land. This all in fulfillment of the Main Theme of Biblical Prophecy; refer: Bible Confirmations of the Return of the Tribes of Israel for a comprehensive extract of all these Divine Promises in Scripture].
“The kohen’s role, symbolic of the responsibility assigned to the religious leaders of every generation, is to identify this detachment, to check and see whether or not the people draw their values and ideals from the “fountain” of tradition. They must carefully study both the tradition and the current reality to determine whether or not there exists a parity between the two. Should they determine the presence of tum’a, that the fountain has indeed dried, then they must lend the metzora a hand as he undergoes the process of purification, the process of refilling the wellsprings with the spiritual waters of our traditions, enabling him to reenter the Jewish [Hebrew]people and recommit himself to the teachings of our heritage.
Rabbi Waxman presents a very broad perspective, linking several Scripture sections together and serving as a continuation of our discussions on Nadav and Avihu in Parashat Shemini last week.
“Immediately after the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, Moshe received an important communication from G-d regarding the appropriate conditions for entering the holiest part of the Mishkan.
“Leviticus 16:1, ‘And HaShem spoke to Moshe after the death of the two sons of Aharon, who died when they drew too close to the presence of HaShem. And HaShem said to Moshe: Tell Aharon your brother that he should not come at will into the Holy Place within the curtain in front of the covering upon the ark, lest he die, for I appear in the cloud over the cover. Thus only shall he enter the holy place.’ “
“This passage is, of course, the opening of Parashat Acharei Mot [two Parashot further on].
“Strangely enough, the Torah does not place this passage in textual sequence with the death of Nadav and Avihu. Despite the apparent chronological sequence implied by the subject matter, the issue of entering into holy space and the possibility of death, the Torah only presents the parasha of Acharei Mot a full five chapters after the death of Nadav and Avihu. Despite the near synchronicity with the death of Nadav Avihu implied by the term “after” (see Ramban 16:1), the Torah chooses to delay the parasha of Acharei Mot, literally “after the death,” until after the corpus of Chapters Eleven through Fifteen.
“This intervening bulk, primarily consisting of the parashiyot of Tazria and Metzora and the laws of “tzara’at” [defilement], can be categorized as the laws of tum’a and tahara [defiled and undefiled]. All of its component parts relate to the concepts of “clean” and “unclean,” or perhaps more accurately, “pristine” and “defiled.” A quick sketch of the structure of this intervening segment should demonstrate the point. The overall segment breaks down as follows.
|Topic||Verses||Sample mention of “tamei” and “tahor”|
|Section 1- Permissible and Forbidden Animals||11:1-47||11:4-8, 24-38, 47|
|Section 2- The laws of the postpartum women||12:1-8||12:2, 4-8|
|Section 3.1- Tzara’at (lesions) of the body and tzara’at upon garments||13:1-59||13:3, 6-8, 11-14, 46, 51, 55, 58-59|
|Section 3.2- Purification from tzara’at- the post tzara’at procedure||14:1-32||14:1, 4, 7-9, 11, 19-20, 31-32|
|Section 3.3- Tzara’at of the house-home||14:33-57||14:36, 40, 48, 53, 57|
|Section 4- The laws of male and female discharges and menstruation||15:1-33||15:2-6, 13-14, 16-18, 19, 25-26, 29-31|
“If so, we face an obvious problem. Why does the Torah choose to “interrupt” the natural flow of the narrative from the death of Nadav and Avihu (10:1-20) to the laws for Aharon’s entrance into the holy area (16:1-34) with the laws of tum’a and tahara (11:1-15:33)? Alternatively, we may prefer a reverse formulation of the problem, one that focuses more on the central topic of the “code of tum’a and tahara,” the strange phenomenon of tzara’at. In other words, why does the Torah place the laws of tzara’at, and the overall code, in close juxtaposition to the death of Nadav and Avihu?
“Quite possibly we may have already done much of the conceptual work necessary to answer these questions. The answer may well lie in connecting the two concepts, “tum’a and tahara” and “entrance into a holy place,” discussed until this point.
“In describing the purification period of the postpartum women, the Torah states the following.
“Leviticus 12:4 [our Parashah] ‘She shall remain in a state of purification from her blood for thirty-three days, she shall not touch any consecrated thing (kodesh), nor enter the sanctuary (mikdash) until her period of purification is completed.’
“Given that she is “tamei” and has not yet reentered the pristine, pure and holy state of “tahara,” the postpartum women is banned from contact with sanctified objects and sanctified space. Or to phrase this a little bit differently, the sanctified personal state of “tahara” constitutes a necessary condition for contact with the holy.
“This mutual exclusivity of holiness and tum’a is also present as a theme in the other segments of the overall section outlined above. The sufferer of tzara’at lesions is banned from the camp, whose center consists of the abode of G-d. This is not only alluded to by the text of Vayikra [Leviticus](see 13:46), but stated explicitly in Bemidbar [Numbers], during the arrangement of the camp.
“Bemidbar 5:2-3 “And the Lord spoke to Moshe, saying: ‘Instruct the Israelites to remove from the camp anyone with tzara’at lesions; put them outside the camp so that they do not defile the camp of those in whose midst I dwell.’ “
“Likewise, in summing up the laws of discharges, section four of the overall code of tum’a and tahara, the Torah reiterates the tension between a state of tum’a and the sanctuary, and mandates the death penalty for the improper mixing of the two.
“Vayikra [Leviticus] 15:31, ‘And you shall warn the Children of Israel regarding uncleanness, lest they die through their uncleanness by defiling My Mishkan which is among them.’
“Moreover, the verse of Bemidbar partially quoted above also mandates the expulsion of the zav and the zava, those suffering from emissions, from the camp.
“Finally, this connection, or perhaps need to disconnect, between tum’a and sanctity can be located not just in sections, two, three, and four of the code, but even in section one, the laws of permitted and forbidden animals. In closing out the segment, G-d informs Israel that he has high expectations:
“Va’yikrah 11:44-45, ‘For I HaShem your G-d: you shall sanctify yourselves and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not make yourselves unclean through (eating) any swarming thing ‘For I am HaShem – you shall be holy for I am holy.’
“Sacredness does not end at the borders of the sanctuary nor even at the borders of the camp. The category of the holy extends to the very person of each and every individual member of Israel. As members of the holy nation, another type of mobile sanctuary, another method of encapsulating G-d’s presence in the world, the Israelites are enjoined from improper mixing of the sacred and profane, of contacting or ingesting certain kinds of animals.
“To put this all together, the common denominator of Chapters Eleven through Fifteen, the laws of tum’a and tahara, consists not just of the categories of tum’a and tahara but also of the need to separate between the tamei and the holy. Whether in the context of the sanctuary itself, the camp within which it resides, or the people within whose camp G-d resides, holiness demands special care, and particular conditions for encountering and preserving it.
“This brings us back to the sin and death of Nadav and Avihu. They died because of lack of care for the details of “hilkhot kodashim,” the laws for the proper treatment of sanctity and approach to sanctified space. They entered the sanctuary and G-d’s space when not commanded. It is no wonder, then, that in between the story of their death (10:1-20) and the story of the proper conditions for entering the holiest space (16:1-34), the Torah teaches the full corpus of “hilkhot kodashim,” the laws of sanctity and relation to holiness (11:1-15:33).
“Alternatively, we may wish to link the “laws of tum’a and tahara” (11:1-15:33) to the death of Nadav and Avhihu in a slightly different, albeit related fashion. At the close of the laws of permitted and forbidden animals, section one above, the Torah teaches the following:
“Va’yikrah 11:46-47 [of our Parashah], ‘This is the Torah of the beasts, and of the birds, and of every living creature – to distinguish between the unclean (tamei) and clean (tahor), between the living things that may be eaten and the living things that may not be eaten.’
“The phrase ‘to distinguish between the unclean and clean’ should bring to mind the immediate aftermath of the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. As mentioned, the Torah follows the story of the deaths with a code of priestly conduct. The latter part of the code consists of two imperatives:
“Va’yikrah 10:10-11, ‘And you must distinguish between holy and unholy and between unclean and clean. And you must teach (lehorot) the Children of Israel [all 12 Tribes] all the laws which HaShem has imparted to them through Moshe.’
“While these two imperatives are linguistically and conceptually distinct, they are nevertheless practically intertwined. The priests carry a special responsibility both for differentiating between the sacred and non-sacred, between the tamei and the tahor, and for the teaching of those very laws to the Children of Israel. However the obligation to teach and enforce the laws stems from more than just their general Torah-teaching role. The custodians of the sanctuary and the laws of “differentiation” cannot guarantee the integrity of the sanctuary and the sanctified status of the sanctuary, camp and people unless the laws of sanctity are observed by all.
“All of this should explain the juxtaposing of at least section one of the larger “laws of tum’a and tahara” with the death of Nadav and Avihu. The death serves as the occasion for defining the role of the priests. This definition is followed by the actual laws of “differentiation” entrusted to the priests, and for which they bear special responsibility.
“In fact, this theme easily can be expanded to cover the remaining segments of the laws of tum’a and tahara. Like section one, section three, the corpus of the laws of tzara’at, ends with an echo of the priest’s code of Chapter Ten. After a summary of the various types of tzara’at (14:44-46), the Torah states the following:
“Va’yikrah 14:57, ‘To teach (lehorot) when it is unclean and when it is clean, this is the Torah of tzara’at.’
“While this verse may refer to the Torah’s purpose in expounding upon the laws of tzara’at at length, it most probably refers to the role of the priests in making the determination as to whether a particular lesion is clean or unclean. After all, the Torah elaborates upon this role extensively throughout the one hundred and sixteen verses of the laws of tzara’at (13:1-14:57).
“Moreover, the linguistic parallel to the terms “teaching,” “unclean” and “clean” found in the code of priestly conduct (10:10-11), and the apparent fusing of the concepts into a montage of teaching, ruling and governing the arena of tum’a and tahara, further strengthens the connections outlined above. If so, like section one, section three provides a corpus of “differentiation laws” that the priests are charged with guarding and teaching.
“In a similar vein, it is Aharon the priest, along with Moshe, who is charged with “warning” the children of Israel regarding their uncleanness and the possibility of death in section four, the laws of emissions (see 15:1, 31). Finally, regarding section one, the laws of the postpartum women, it is the priest who plays the key role in restoring her state of “tahara” (see 12:6-7), guides her in her passage from tamei to tahor and facilitates her approach to the sanctuary.
“In sum, the placement of the “laws of tum’a and tahara” in the middle of the narrative of Nadav and Avihu’s death stems from more than just the concern of both of these parts of the Torah with “hilkhot kodshim,” the rules for the treatment of sanctity. The juxtaposition also stems from the definition of the role of priests in the aftermath of the death of Nadav and Avihu. It stems from the overarching concern of both segments with the role of priests, their job description and their special responsibility for the ‘laws of differentiation.’
“While the dual theory outlined above more than handles the problem of the structure of the middle part of Sefer [book of] Vayikra, I would nevertheless like to try to elaborate on some additional literary and philosophical connections between the “laws of tum’a and tahara” and the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. Let us begin by taking a look at the treatment given to one who manifests tzara’at upon his body.
“Va’yikrah 13:45, ‘And the leprous man whom the lesion is upon, his clothes shall be rent, his head shall be left bare and he shall cover his upper lip, and shall cry, ‘Unclean, unclean.’
“The four actions required of the “metzora,” the sufferer of tzara’at, can all be thought of as connected to disgrace and shame. The rending of the garments and baring of his head constitute symbols of dishevelment and disgrace, similar to the baring of the head of the women suspected of adultery (see Bemidbar 5:18). Similarly, the covering of the upper lip, probably done by the garment worn upon the upper body (see Ibn Ezra 13:45), involves the covering of the metzora’s mouth and his silencing. Having been visited by an affliction from G-d, the metzora stands speechless in front of divine retribution. He possesses no explanation and no rationale for his behavior and affliction. He is like the false prophets of Mikha 3:7 who “shall be put to shame” and “cover their lips.” Having been afflicted by a divine plague, the metzora can do no more than proclaim his own disgrace and utter, ‘Unclean, unclean.’
“However, some of these actions symbolize not just shame, disgrace and self-negation, but also the related phenomenon of mourning. This brings us back to the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. Right after the deaths, Moshe tells Aharon, Elazar and Itamar:
“Va’yikrah 10:6, ‘Do not bare your heads and do not rend your clothes, lest you die. But your brothers, all the house of Israel shall bewail the burning that G-d has wrought.’
“Aharon and his sons are forbidden from mourning. They cannot express their pain and anguish nor demonstrate physically the impossibility of continuing normal existence as if nothing has occurred. Consequently, they cannot bare their heads nor rend their clothes.
“If so, the acts of the metzora resemble acts of mourning; they resemble the response of one visited by death.
“In fact, tzara’at itself is connected with death numerous times throughout the Torah. The term “nega,” translated as “lesion” above, constitutes the Torah’s standard term for tzara’at affliction and appears innumerable times throughout the laws of tzara’at. Interestingly enough, the term literally means “touch” and is used in the contexts of Bereishit [Genesis] and Shemot [Exodus] to connote a plague from G-d, the concrete manifestation of the metaphorical “finger” or “hand” of G-d (see Bereishit 12:17, Shemot 11:1). Shemot 11:1 uses the phrase “od nega echad,” one more touch/plague, to herald the plague of the firstborn, the visitation of death upon the Egyptians. In other words, visitation by a “nega,” the touch or hand of G-d, logically results in death.
“This connection between nega-tzara’at and death is further strengthened by both the story of tzara’at found in Sefer Bemidbar and the phenomenology of tzara’at.
“Upon speaking ill of Moshe and being chastised by G-d, Miriam is stricken with tzara’at (Bemidbar 12:1-10). At this point, Aharon, who had been party to the slander, beseeches Moshe not to hold a grudge against them and to pray for Miriam’s welfare.
“Va’yikrah 12:11-12, ‘And Aharon said to Moshe: Please my master, account not to us the sin which we committed in our folly. Let her not be as one DEAD, who emerges from his mother’s womb with half his flesh eaten away.’
“Apparently, tzara’at symbolizes death. The appearance of tzara’at resembles the appearance of a grisly miscarriage or stillborn baby. The death of the flesh in tzara’at comprises a harbinger and portent of the ultimate punishment soon to be visited upon the sinner. No wonder the metzora responds to his tzara’at as one responds to death. In a last-ditch effort to stave off his fate, he proactively mourns his soul and his impending doom.
“This connection between death and tzara’at should help shed some light on the topics contained within the latter parts of the “laws of tum’a and tahara,” the subject matter of Parashat Tazria and Parashat Metzora.
“As has often been pointed out, death defiles. The corpse constitutes the “father of all tumot.” Similarly, the shadow of death, the affliction of tzara’at, defiles. But the metzora is not the only one in these sections of the Torah who has encountered death and had its shadow cast upon him. The people mentioned at the end of Parashat Metzora, those suffering from emissions, have also encountered the shadow of death. The menstruating women faces the loss of potential life implicit in her bleeding, and zav and zava the “loss of life” implicit in their diseases and consequent inability to procreate.
“Similarly, the postpartum woman, mentioned at the beginning of Parashat Tazria, has passed through the harrowing and life-threatening experience of childbirth. Within her experience of birthing life, she has encountered the shadow of death. If so, the topics of Tazria and Metzora are united by their connection to death and the consequence of defilement.
“But this is not all that unites the postpartum women, the metzora and the sufferer from emissions. In general, the texts focus not just on the cause of the defilement, but also on the process of return, the means of restoring a state of tahara. Each parasha depicts the process of “passing through,” not so much the encounter with death, but the return from its touch, the approach to the sanctuary and the bringing of offerings (see 12:6-8, 14:1-20, 15:13-15, 28-30).
“Putting this all together and linking up with the story of the deaths of Nadav and Avihu yields something rather interesting. The dynamic implicit in the legal material of Tazria and Metzora parallels the dynamic implicit in the narrative frame of the text, the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu. From the perspective of narrative, the text is about Aharon, a father who at his very moment of triumph has suffered a devastating loss. In his own words: “Such things have befallen me” (10:19). Due to his sacred status he is even forbidden from explicit mourning (10:6-7). Yet somehow he must pass through, he must continue through death, return to the sanctuary and perform the divine service. Likewise and in keeping with the implicit theme, the legal material is about “passing through death” and approaching the sanctuary.
“But this is not all. In a striking parallel to the story of Nadav and Avihu, a story of the “eighth day” (see 9:1, 9:23-10:2), each of these “passing through” or “purification” passages contains a reference to a period of seven days and a climactic eighth day. The postpartum woman who bears a male is tamei for seven days. On the eight day her son is circumcised (12:2-3). After a seven day waiting period outside his own tent upon his return to the camp, the metzora brings his climactic offering, approaches the sanctuary and achieves “tahara” on the eighth day (14:8-11). Likewise the zav and the zava count seven days and only then, on the eighth day, bring their offerings, approach the sanctuary and reenter a pristine and undefiled state (15:13-15, 28-30).
“Is the eighth day some sort of magic number in Sefer Vayikra? Maybe. But perhaps there is something more here. The eighth day of the miluim ceremony was intended to be the day of G-d’s descent to the Mishkan, the day when the very source of all being, of life itself, came and dwelt amongst the people. The death of Nadav and Avihu on the eighth day not only constituted a tragedy in its own right, but a staining of the essence of the eighth day, an undercutting of the status of the Mishkan and G-d’s presence. The day of G-d’s arrival and His very presence are now associated with death and mourning in the consciousness of Israel.
“Upon the death of Korach and his cohorts, the Children of Israel gave vent to this exact sentiment:
“Bemidbar 17:27-28, ‘And the Children of Israel said to Moshe: Behold we die, we perish, we all perish! Everyone who so much ventures near the Lord’s Mishkan dies. Alas, we are doomed to perish!’
“If so, we may formulate yet one more reason for the juxtaposing of Tazria and Metzora with the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu. The “passing through” stories of the postpartum woman, the metzora, the zav and the zavaserve as a counterweight to the death of Nadav and Avihu. The dynamic of passing through death and returning upon the eighth day to the sanctuary and G-d’s presence, to full and pure life, reverses the linkage between the eighth day and death in the story of Nadav and Avihu.
“The legal material reminds the Children of Israel of the ideal relation between G-d’s presence in the sanctuary and the categories of life and death. Rather than holiness causing death, death causes distance from the presence of G-d. The transcendence of death and affirming of life finds its concrete expression in approaching the sanctuary and entering into G-d’s presence.
“May it be the will of the Almighty that we merit to pass through the shadow of death that hovers over us these days and return to full and holy life in the presence of G-d.”
(End of Quote)
We referred to this concept of “The eighth Day” also in our previous Parashat Shemini, quoting from Rabbi Tzwei, Torah.org:
“The number eight [the title of this Parashah, named after the introductory words of this Scripture portion] Kabbalistically refers to the World to Come and therefore is used to define the events of the day of the erecting of the Tabernacle, “bayom hashemini” [on the eighth day], for on this day a new world order was initiated.”
[We are also reminded of this New World Order of the Kingdom of G-d in the metaphoric depiction by the Succot Festive period, of the future Kingdom dispensation. The 7 days of Succot (depicting the Marriage Festivities, as at Sinai, between G-d and His Bride, are followed by “the eighth day”, the conclusion of the Torah annual cycle with all its New World Order ‘symbolism].