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The Chiastic Structure of the Conclusion of Tzaw and the Beginning of Sh’mini

March 24, 2014

1. Aaron and his sons are commanded to eat the sacrificial foods at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and they are commanded to burn the leftovers. (Leviticus 8:31-32)

2. Aaron and his sons are commanded to stay at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for seven days, so that they not die. They do as he commands. (8:33-36)

3. Moses gathers the people for the purpose of conducting a ceremony, as per God’s command, so that God’s glory should appear to the people in the Tabernacle. (9:1-22)

4. “The glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.” (9:23)

5. “A fire came out from before the Lord, and consumed the offerings.” (9:24)

6. Nadav and Avihu offer “an alien fire before the Lord, that He did not command them.” (10:1)

7. “A fire came out from before the Lord, and consumed them.” (10:2)

8. And Moses said to Aaaron, “that is what the Lord said, ‘I shall be sanctified through those close to Me, and I shall be glorified in the presence of the all the people’!” (10:3)

9. Moses ensures that the ceremony not be interrupted, and tries to let everything continue as per God’s commands. (10:4-6)

10. Aaron and his surviving sons are commanded to remain a the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, so that they not die. They do as he commands. (10:7)

11. Aaron and his sons are commanded to continue eating the sacrificial foods according to the Law, and Moses scolds the sons for burning some of the leftovers. (10:8-20)

Note that  Nadav and Avihu’s error is the turning point of the story, and that Moses’s prophecy concerning the revelation of God’s glory came true in a way no one had imagined, a way much more horrifying. The lesson stayed well with the priests, who forever more did not need warnings to stick to God’s commands when serving in the Sanctuary. Thus, the sages said that the “the priests are punctilious,” and the sages never saw fit to institute rabbinical prohibitions concerning their performance of the divine service.

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From → parasha

One Comment
  1. This post has been included in this week’s edition of the Haveil Havalim Jewihs-Israeli Blog Round-up!

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