Parsha Shemini is the twenty-sixth portion in the annual reading and the third in Leviticus (Vayikra) וַיִּקְרָא . Shemini is translated as “eighth”. I have found three ways to spell it – “Shemini”, “Sh’mini”, or “Shmini”. They are all correct.
Parsha Shemini Summary
For about a half of year, Israel as a whole, were constructing the tabernacle (mishkan). In parsha Shemini, we pick up after the seven days of installing the priesthood; it is now the eighth day. Therefore, it is time for Aaron and his sons to inaugurate the first service. We see the first offerings given. Then tragedy hits, Nadav and Avihu is struck down for offering an inappropriate gift. The next events deals with this issue and finishing and complete the “sin” offering. The remainder section is dealing with the laws of animals that may be consumed by the children of Israel.
Shemini שְּׁמִינִ֔י is the third word and in the Hebrew text (see text below).
א וַֽיְהִי֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁמִינִ֔י קָרָ֣א מֹשֶׁ֔ה לְאַֽהֲרֹ֖ן וּלְבָנָ֑יו וּלְזִקְנֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
Parsha Shemini Readings
Torah: Leviticus 9.1-11.47
Halftorah: II Samuel 6.1-19
Brit Hahagaddah: Hebrews 7.1-19
Parsha Shemini Aliyah
First reading — Vayikra (Leviticus) 9.1–16
Second reading — Vayikra (Leviticus) 9.17-23
Third reading — Vayikra (Leviticus) 9.24-10.11
Fourth reading — Vayikra (Leviticus) 10.12-15
Fifth reading — Vayikra (Leviticus) 10.16-20
Sixth reading — Vayikra (Leviticus) 11.1-32
Seventh reading — Vayikra (Leviticus) 11.33-47
Parsha Shemini Stats
- Hebrew letters – 4,670
- Hebrew words – 1,238
- Pesukim (sentences) – 91
- Lines in a Torah Scroll- 157
- Double Count – 2
- Scribal Practices -2
- See Hebrew text for Parsha Shemini
- Number of Mitzvot in Parsha Vayikra – 0 (17)
- Maimonides says: 0
- Positive – 0
- Negative – 0
- Sefer ha-Chinuch says: 17
- Positive – 6
- Negative – 11
Parsha Shemini Scriptures
Leviticus (Vayikra) 9.1-16 (Parsha Shemini, Aliyah 1)
Lev 9:1 And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;
Lev 9:2 and he said unto Aaron: ‘Take thee a bull-calf for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD.
Lev 9:3 And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying: Take ye a he-goat for a sin-offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt-offering;
Lev 9:4 and an ox and a ram for peace-offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meal-offering mingled with oil; for to-day the LORD appeareth unto you.’
Lev 9:5 And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tent of meeting; and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.
Lev 9:6 and Moses said: ‘This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do; that the glory of the LORD may appear unto you.’
Lev 9:7 And Moses said unto Aaron: ‘Draw near unto the altar, and offer thy sin-offering, and thy burnt-offering, and make atonement for thyself, and for the people; and present the offering of the people, and make atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.’
Lev 9:8 So Aaron drew near unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin-offering, which was for himself.
Lev 9:9 And the sons of Aaron presented the blood unto him; and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the base of the altar.
Lev 9:10 But the fat, and the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver of the sin-offering, he made smoke upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses.
Lev 9:11 And the flesh and the skin were burnt with fire without the camp.
Lev 9:12 And he slew the burnt-offering; and Aaron’s sons delivered unto him the blood, and he dashed it against the altar round about.
Lev 9:13 And they delivered the burnt-offering unto him, piece by piece, and the head; and he made them smoke upon the altar.
Lev 9:14 And he washed the inwards and the legs, and made them smoke upon the burnt-offering on the altar.
Lev 9:15 And the people’s offering was presented; and he took the goat of the sin-offering which was for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.
Lev 9:16 And the burnt-offering was presented; and he offered it according to the ordinance.
Leviticus (Vayikra) 9.17-23 (Parsha Shemini, Aliyah 2)
Lev 9:17 And the meal-offering was presented; and he filled his hand therefrom, and made it smoke upon the altar, besides the burnt- offering of the morning.
Lev 9:18 He slew also the ox and the ram, the sacrifice of peace-offerings, which was for the people; and Aaron’s sons delivered unto him the blood, and he dashed it against the altar round about,
Lev 9:19 and the fat of the ox, and of the ram, the fat tail, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver.
Lev 9:20 And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he made the fat smoke upon the altar.
Lev 9:21 And the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved for a wave-offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded.
Lev 9:22 And Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people, and blessed them; and he came down from offering the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering, and the peace-offerings.
Lev 9:23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and came out, and blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.
Leviticus (Vayikra) 9.24 (Parsha Shemini, Aliyah 3)
Lev 9:24 And there came forth fire from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offering and the fat; and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
Leviticus (Vayikra) 10.1-11 (Parsha Shemini, Aliyah 3)
Lev 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.
Lev 10:2 And there came forth fire from before the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
Lev 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron: ‘This is it that the LORD spoke, saying: Through them that are nigh unto Me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’ And Aaron held his peace.
Lev 10:4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them: ‘Draw near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.’
Lev 10:5 So they drew near, and carried them in their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said.
Lev 10:6 And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons: ‘Let not the hair of your heads go loose, neither tend your clothes, that ye die not, and that He be not wroth with all the congregation; but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.
Lev 10:7 And ye shall not go out from the door of the tent of meeting, lest ye die; for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you.’ And they did according to the word of Moses.
Lev 10:8 And the LORD spoke unto Aaron, saying:
Lev 10:9 ‘Drink no wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tent of meeting, that ye die not; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.
Lev 10:10 And that ye may put difference between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean;
Lev 10:11 and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.’
Leviticus (Vayikra) 10.12-15 (Parsha Shemini, Aliyah 4)
Lev 10:12 And Moses spoke unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left: ‘Take the meal-offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar; for it is most holy.
Lev 10:13 And ye shall eat it in a holy place, because it is thy due, and thy sons’ due, of the offerings of the LORD made by fire; for so I am commanded.
Lev 10:14 And the breast of waving and the thigh of heaving shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee; for they are given as thy due, and thy sons’ due, out of the sacrifices of the peace-offerings of the children of Israel.
Lev 10:15 The thigh of heaving and the breast of waving shall they bring with the offerings of the fat made by fire, to wave it for a wave- offering before the LORD; and it shall be thine, and thy sons’ with thee, as a due for ever; as the LORD hath commanded.’
Leviticus (Vayikra) 10.16-20 (Parsha Shemini, Aliyah 5)
Lev 10:16 And Moses diligently inquired for the goat of the sin-offering, and, behold, it was burnt; and he was angry with Eleazar and with Ithamar, the sons of Aaron that were left, saying:
Lev 10:17 ‘Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin-offering in the place of the sanctuary, seeing it is most holy, and He hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?
Lev 10:18 Behold, the blood of it was not brought into the sanctuary within; ye should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.’
Lev 10:19 And Aaron spoke unto Moses: ‘Behold, this day have they offered their sin-offering and their burnt-offering before the LORD, and there have befallen me such things as these; and if I had eaten the sin-offering to-day, would it have been well-pleasing in the sight of the LORD?
Lev 10:20 And when Moses heard that, it was well-pleasing in his sight.
Leviticus (Vayikra) 11.1-32 (Parsha Shemini, Aliyah 6)
Lev 11:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them:
Lev 11:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: These are the living things which ye may eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
Lev 11:3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is wholly cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that may ye eat.
Lev 11:4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that only chew the cud, or of them that only part the hoof: the camel, because he cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, he is unclean unto you.
Lev 11:5 And the rock-badger, because he cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, he is unclean unto you.
Lev 11:6 And the hare, because she cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, she is unclean unto you.
Lev 11:7 And the swine, because he parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, but cheweth not the cud, he is unclean unto you.
Lev 11:8 Of their flesh ye shall not eat, and their carcasses ye shall not touch; they are unclean unto you.
Lev 11:9 These may ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them may ye eat.
Lev 11:10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that swarm in the waters, and of all the living creatures that are in the waters, they are a detestable thing unto you,
Lev 11:11 and they shall be a detestable thing unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, and their carcasses ye shall have in detestation.
Lev 11:12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that is a detestable thing unto you.
Lev 11:13 And these ye shall have in detestation among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are a detestable thing: the great vulture, and the bearded vulture, and the ospray;
Lev 11:14 and the kite, and the falcon after its kinds;
Lev 11:15 every raven after its kinds;
Lev 11:16 and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the sea-mew, and the hawk after its kinds;
Lev 11:17 and the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl;
Lev 11:18 and the horned owl, and the pelican, and the carrion-vulture;
Lev 11:19 and the stork, and the heron after its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat.
Lev 11:20 All winged swarming things that go upon all fours are a detestable thing unto you.
Lev 11:21 Yet these may ye eat of all winged swarming things that go upon all fours, which have jointed legs above their feet, wherewith to leap upon the earth;
Lev 11:22 even these of them ye may eat: the locust after its kinds, and the bald locust after its kinds, and the cricket after its kinds, and the grasshopper after its kinds.
Lev 11:23 But all winged swarming things, which have four feet, are a detestable thing unto you.
Lev 11:24 And by these ye shall become unclean; whosoever toucheth the carcass of them shall be unclean until even.
Lev 11:25 And whosoever beareth aught of the carcass of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
Lev 11:26 Every beast which parteth the hoof, but is not cloven footed, nor cheweth the cud, is unclean unto you; every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.
Lev 11:27 And whatsoever goeth upon its paws, among all beasts that go on all fours, they are unclean unto you; whoso toucheth their carcass shall be unclean until the even.
Lev 11:28 And he that beareth the carcass of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even; they are unclean unto you.
Lev 11:29 And these are they which are unclean unto you among the swarming things that swarm upon the earth: the weasel, and the mouse, and the great lizard after its kinds,
Lev 11:30 and the gecko, and the land-crocodile, and the lizard, and the sand-lizard, and the chameleon.
Lev 11:31 These are they which are unclean to you among all that swarm; whosoever doth touch them, when they are dead, shall be unclean until the even.
Lev 11:32 And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherewith any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; then shall it be clean.
Leviticus (Vayikra) 11.33-47 (Parsha Shemini, Aliyah 7)
Lev 11:33 And every earthen vessel whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean, and it ye shall break.
Lev 11:34 All food therein which may be eaten, that on which water cometh, shall be unclean; and all drink in every such vessel that may be drunk shall be unclean.
Lev 11:35 And every thing whereupon any part of their carcass falleth shall be unclean; whether oven, or range for pots, it shall be broken in pieces; they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you.
Lev 11:36 Nevertheless a fountain or a cistern wherein is a gathering of water shall be clean; but he who toucheth their carcass shall be unclean.
Lev 11:37 And if aught of their carcass fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it is clean.
Lev 11:38 But if water be put upon the seed, and aught of their carcass fall thereon, it is unclean unto you.
Lev 11:39 And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die, he that toucheth the carcass thereof shall be unclean until the even.
Lev 11:40 And he that eateth of the carcass of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even; he also that beareth the carcass of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
Lev 11:41 And every swarming thing that swarmeth upon the earth is a detestable thing; it shall not be eaten.
Lev 11:42 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all fours, or whatsoever hath many feet, even all swarming things that swarm upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are a detestable thing.
Lev 11:43 Ye shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarmeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
Lev 11:44 For I am the LORD your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am holy; neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of swarming thing that moveth upon the earth.
Lev 11:45 For I am the LORD that brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God; ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
Lev 11:46 This is the law of the beast, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that swarmeth upon the earth;
Lev 11:47 to make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the living thing that may be eaten and the living thing that may not be eaten.
II Samuel 6.1-19 (Parsha Shemini, Haftarah)
2Sa 6:1 And David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.
2Sa 6:2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him, from Baale-Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whereupon is called the Name, even the name of the LORD of hosts that sitteth upon the cherubim.
2Sa 6:3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart.
2Sa 6:4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was in the hill, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.
2Sa 6:5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD with all manner of instruments made of cypress-wood, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with sistra, and with cymbals.
2Sa 6:6 And when they came to the threshing-floor of Nacon, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen stumbled.
2Sa 6:7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
2Sa 6:8 And David was displeased, because the LORD had broken forth upon Uzzah; and that place was called Perez-uzzah, unto this day
2Sa 6:9 And David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said: ‘How shall the ark of the LORD come unto me?’
2Sa 6:10 So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David; but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.
2Sa 6:11 And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months; and the LORD blessed Obed-edom, and all his house.
2Sa 6:12 And it was told king David, saying: ‘The LORD hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God.’ And David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with joy.
2Sa 6:13 And it was so, that when they that bore the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.
2Sa 6:14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
2Sa 6:15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the horn.
2Sa 6:16 And it was so, as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out at the window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
2Sa 6:17 And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in its place, in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before the LORD.
2Sa 6:18 And when David had made an end of offering the burnt-offering and the peace-offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
2Sa 6:19 And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, both to men and women, to every one a cake of bread, and a cake made in a pan, and a sweet cake. So all the people departed every one to his house.
Hebrews 7.1-19 (Parsha Shemini, Renewed Covenant)
Heb 7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
Heb 7:2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.
Heb 7:3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
Heb 7:4 See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils!
Heb 7:5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham.
Heb 7:6 But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.
Heb 7:7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.
Heb 7:8 In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives.
Heb 7:9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham,
Heb 7:10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
Heb 7:11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?
Heb 7:12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.
Heb 7:13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar.
Heb 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
Heb 7:15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek,
Heb 7:16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.
Heb 7:17 For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”
Heb 7:18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness
Heb 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
- Covenant & Conversation Commentary – Rabbi Sacks book on Amazon. Parsha Shemini contains a total of four different articles on pages 127 – 149.
- Leviticus: A Book of Ritual and Ethics a Continental Commentary – Jacob Milgrom
- The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon – One of the most used Hebrew and English Lexicons among serious Bible students.
- Vayikra – 24th Parsha – Le. 1.1 – 5.26
- Tsav – 25th Parsha – Le. 6.1 – 8.36
- Shemini – 26th Parsha – Le. 9.1 – 11.47
- Tazria – 27th Parsha – Le. 12.1 – 13.59
- Metzora – 28th Parsha – Le. 14.1 – 15.33
- Acharei Mot – 29th Parsha – Le. 16.1 – 18.30
- Kedoshim – 30th Parsha – Le. 19.1 – 20.27
- Emor – 31st Parsha – Le. 21.1 – 24.23
- Behar – 32nd Parsha – Le. 25.1 – 26.2
- Bechukotai – 33rd Parsha – Le. 26.3 – 27.34
WSB SHOW PODCAST
- Hebrew in Israel – Torah Portion Shmini – Yoel HaLevi’s teaching series Learn Torah on Parsha Vayiqra
- Hebrew in Israel – Haftarah Portion Shmini – Yoel HaLevi teaching series Learn Torah on the Haftarah on Parsha Shmini- II Samuel 6.1-19
- Torah Pearls #26 – Shemini – Nehemia Gordan’s teaching on Parsha Shemini
- Prophet Pearls #26 – Shemini – Nehemia Gordan’s teaching series on the Haftarah for Parsha Shemini – II Samuel 6.1-19
- Covenant and Conversion – Rabbi Sacks Video teaching in 5771 on Shmini.