Parshas Shemini-Summary of the Parsha

This article is an excerpt from our Sefer

   Buy now on

Parshas Shemini

Pesukim: 91 [Siman:עבדיה ]

Haftorah: Shmuel 2 6/1-19[1]

Number of Mitzvos:

There are a total of seventeen Mitzvos in Parshas Shemini; Six positive commands and Eleven negative commands. The following are the commands in the chronological order that they are brought in the Parsha.


A. Positive:

1. Mitzvah 153/Positive 68: To know and check the Kashrus signs of an animal.[2]

2. Mitzvah 155/Positive 69: To know and check the Kashrus signs of fish.[3]

3. Mitzvah 158/Positive 70: To know and check the Kashrus signs of locust.

4. Mitzvah 159/Positive 71: That the eight Sheratzim listed in the Torah impurify a person.

5. Mitzvah 160/Positive 72: To guard the laws of impurity of food and drink, as required by Torah law. Such as that all produce that is detached from the ground, becomes susceptible to impurity upon it becoming wet.

6. Mitzvah 161/Positive 73: That the Niveila impurifies a person and one act in accordance to its laws.

B. Negative:

1. Mitzvah 149/Negative 82: The prohibition for the Kohanim to enter the Mikdash with long hair.

2. Mitzvah 150/Negative 83: The prohibition for the Kohanim to enter the Mikdash with torn clothing.

3. Mitzvah 151/Negative 84: The prohibition for the Kohanim to leave the Mikdash during their Avoda.

4. Mitzvah 152/Negative 85: Not to enter the Mikdash, or give Torah rulings, while under the influence of wine or alcohol.

5. Mitzvah 154/Negative 86: Not to eat impure/non-Kosher animals.

6. Mitzvah 156/Negative 87: Not to eat impure/non-Kosher fish.

7. Mitzvah 157/Negative 88: Not to eat impure/non-Kosher fowl.

8. Mitzvah 162/Negative 89: Not to eat insects that crawl on the ground.

9. Mitzvah 163/Negative 90: Not to eat insects that grow in fruits and legumes while attached to the ground.

10. Mitzvah 164/Negative 91: Not to eat water insects.[4]

11. Mitzvah 165/Negative 92: Not to eat insects of spontaneous generation, created from rotting produce.


  1. The order of the eighth day of inauguration:
  • On the eighth day Moshe summoned Aaron, his sons, and the elders of Israel and commanded them the order of sacrifices for the day of inauguration.
  • Aaron’s offerings: Aaron is commanded to take a calf for a Chatas, and a ram for an Olah and to offer it to Hashem.
  • The offering of the people: The Jewish people are commanded to take a he-goat for a Chatas, and a calf and sheep in their first year for an Olah, and a bull and ram for a Shelamim, and a Mincha mixed with oil. The Jewish people brought all the offerings and came to the front of the Ohel Moed.
  • Moshe tells the Jewish people that through doing the above service the Shechina will be seen.
  • The meat offerings: Aaron is told to offer the Chatas and Olah and atone for himself and for the nation. He is then to offer the Karbanos of the nation. Aaron did as he was told and slaughtered his calf Chatas sacrifice and he dipped his finger in the blood and placed it on the Mizbeiach. The fat, kidneys, and diaphragm of the liver of the Chatas was offered to the Mizbeaich. The meat and skin were burnt outside the camp. The Olah was then slaughtered and its blood was sprinkled around the Mizbeiach. The limbs and its head were offered to the Mizbeiach. The innards and legs were offered. The Chatas of the nation was slaughtered similar to the first Chatas. The Olah of the nation is offered.
Calves 2 calves [One for Chatas for Aaron, and one for an Olah of the Jewish people]
Rams 2 rams [One for Olah for Aaron, and one for Shelamim of Jewish people]
Goat 1 Goat [For Chatas for Jewish people]
Sheep 1 Sheep [For an Olah of the Jewish people]
Ox 1 Ox [For a Shelamim of the Jewish people]
Mincha 1 Mincha


  • The Mincha: The Mincha of the nation was offered. He filled his hand from it and offered it onto the altar.
  • The Shelamim: The Shelamim bull and ram of the nation was slaughtered and offered. The sons brought Aaron the blood and he threw it upon the Mizbeiach, all around. The fats of the bull and the ram, and the tail and the kidneys and the diaphragm of the liver were brought. The fats were placed on the breasts and were then offered on the altar. The breast and the right thigh were waved by Aaron before Hashem.
  • Birchas Kohanim: Aaron raised his hands towards the nation and blessed the Jewish people, and then descended from [the altar after] having performed the offerings.
  • Hashem appears: Moshe and Aaron finished blessing the Jewish people and the Shechina appeared before the nation.



  • A fire came from before Hashem and consumed the offerings, the Olah and the fats. The entire nation witnessed this and praised Hashem and fell on their faces.
  1. The passing of Nadav and Avihu:
    • Nadav and Avihu took a pan with coals and incense and offered a foreign fire to Hashem, of which they were not commanded. A fire came out from Hashem and consumed them, and they died before Hashem.
    • Moshe comforted Aaron saying that Hashem had told him that his sons merited to be chosen by Hashem to have the Temple sanctified through them. Aaron was silent.
    • Moshe summoned Mishael and Eltzafan, the second cousins of Nadav and Avihu, to remove the bodies of their brothers from the Holy and remove them from the camp. They approached and removed Nadav and Avihu through their clothing to outside the camp.
    • Mourning customs: Moshe instructed Aaron and his sons Elazar and Ithamar not to let their hair grow long or tear their clothing, or leave the Ohel Moed, lest they die, and Hashem become wrathful with all the Jewish people. The Jewish people will mourn the burning that Hashem made.
  1. Not to work while intoxicated:
    • Hashem commanded Aaron that the Kohanim may not perform Avoda in the Mikdash under intoxication of alcohol, lest they die. This applies for all generations. This is necessary in order to distinguish between the holy and profane, and pure and impure and for them to instruct the Jewish people the laws of Hashem.


  1. The eating of the Karbanos:
  • Moshe instructed Aaron and his surviving sons Elazar and Isamar to eat the leftovers of the Mincha offering as Matzah, as it is a Holy of Holies. It is to be eaten in a holy area because it is your portion from the Karbanos of Hashem.
  • Eating the Shelamim: The breast and thigh [of all Shelamim sacrifices] are to be eaten in a pure area by the sons and daughters of the Kohanim. The breast and thigh are to be waved with the fats before Hashem.


  1. The goat sin offering is burnt and not eaten.
    • Moshe discovers the goat offering was not eaten: Moshe questioned why the male goat offering was completely burnt and not eaten. He became angry with Elazar and Isamar, the remaining children of Aaron, asking them why they did not eat the Chatas which was given to atone for the congregation, in a holy area. “Its blood was not entered into the Kodesh, and hence you should have eaten it in the holies as I instructed.”
    • Aaron’s explanation: Aaron replied to Moshe that it is not befitting in the eyes of G-d to eat the offering on a day like this when these tragedies occurred to me [i.e. the death of Nadav and Avihu]. Moshe approved of this response.



  1. The Kashrus laws:
    • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, tell the Jewish people the following laws of Kashrus:
    • Signs of Kosher animals: You may eat the following animals from amongst all the animals on earth: Any animal that has completely split hooves and chews their cud [regurgitates their food], may be eaten.
    • The non-Kosher animals: The following you may not eat amongst those who chew their cud or have split hooves: The camel, hyrax and rabbit, as although they chew their cud they do not have split hooves. Likewise, the pig may not be eaten as it has split hooves but does not chew its cud. You may not eat their flesh, and if their corpse is touched one becomes impure.
    • Kosher fish: All fish that have fins and scales may be eaten. All fish that do not have fins and scales are not Kosher and are considered an abomination for you.
    • Non-Kosher birds: The following [20] birds are not Kosher and are considered an abomination to eat [the identification of these birds from the original Hebrew is mostly unknown]: 1) Eagle; 2) Peres; 3) Ozniah; 4) Daah; 5) Ayah; 6) Raven; 7) Bas Hayaanah; 8) Tachmos; 9) Shachaf; 10) Netz [i.e. sparrow hawk]; 11) Kos; 12) Shalach [i.e. seagull] 13) Yanshuf [i.e. owl] 14) Tinshemes; 15) Kaas; 16) Racham; 17) Chasidah [i.e. stork]; 18) Anafah; 19) Duchifas [i.e. wild rooster]; 20) Atalef [bat].
    • Insects: All flying creatures that walk on all four legs is an abomination to you.
    • Locusts: The following insects may be eaten: Those locusts who walk on four legs and have an additional two jumping legs which they use to jump upon the earth, of these the following may species be eaten: Arbeh; Salam; Chargol; Chagav.
  1. Laws of Tuma:
    • The following carcasses cause one to contract impurity if they are touched or carried. If one touches them he becomes impure until evening and if he carries them he and his clothing become impure, and he is to wash his clothing.
    • Animal carcasses who give off impurity: The carcasses of all animals that do not have completely split hooves and do not chew their cud are impure, and whoever touches them becomes impure. All animals that walk on their paws are impure to you and whoever touches their carcass is impure until evening.
    • Creeping animal carcasses which give off impurity: The following creeping creatures give off impurity: 1) Choled [i.e. weasel]; 2) Achbar [i.e. rat]; 3) Tzav [i.e. turtle]; 4) Hanaka [i.e. porcupine] 5) Koach; 6) Letaah [i.e. lizard]; 7) Chomet [i.e. snail]; 8) Tinshemes [i.e. mole]. One who touches their dead bodies is impure until evening.
    • Vessels becoming impure: If the above carcasses fell on a garment of leather, or sackcloth, or on a vessel, it must be immersed and remains impure until evening.



  • Earthenware vessels: An earthenware vessel that becomes impure due to a carcass falling in it must be broken.
  • Food: All food that contacts liquid [after being detached from the ground] can become impure. Likewise, liquids can become impure.
  • A Mikveh: A spring or well is pure.
  • Carcasses of Kosher animals: The carcasses of Kosher animals likewise give off impurity if one touches them.
  1. Prohibition to eat insects:
  • All creeping creatures on the ground are forbidden to be eaten. Whatever walks on its belly, on four legs, or with many legs is an abomination for you and may not be eaten
  • Do not abominate your souls by eating these creatures, as I am Hashem your G-d and you shall be holy, for I am holy.


[1] So is followed by Sepharadi and Chabad communities. However, Ashkenazi communities read until verse 7:17

[2] This Mitzvah is listed by the Rambam, although according to the Ramban it is not included as one of the 613. See Chinuch ibid

[3] This Mitzvah is listed by the Rambam, although according to the Ramban it is not included as one of the 613. See Chinuch Mitzvah 153

[4] This Mitzvah is listed by the Rambam, although according to the Ramban it is not included as one of the 613. See Chinuch ibid

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.