In a leap year, the Parsha read usually after Pesach is אחרי מות, which also speaks of the passing of נדב ואביהוא. The number of pesukim in Parshas שמיני is ninety one, and the סימן given is עבדיה. The truth is, the concept of שמיני and of עבדיה are opposites, the eighth being עולם השכר or ימות המשיח, and עבד- יה is the work needed to get there. Parshas שמיני is usually the Parsha taking us into the month of אייר, whose מזל is שור- an ox, and associated with the יששכר שבט, who is compared with a חמור- donkey. Both the ox and the donkey, although one is kosher and one is not, and they are not allowed to be ploughed together, are animals used for hard work. Both of these animals the חז”ל use in describing עבודת ה”. The שור לעול is that a yid should serve the Almighty like an ox, with a heavy load on its neck, and the חמור למשא is the donkey with a heavy load on its back. Nisan has a מזל of טלה, a baby lamb, that doesn’t work and has all its needs given to it. This refers to Pesach, when the Almighty brought us to the highest levels- התערותא דלעלה, w/o the yidden doing very much, like the baby lamb. After Pesach we were taken down from this high level of שער נ, in order for us to climb back and elevate ourselves during theימי הספירה . Then, primarily in the month of אייר, we have to work hard, like an ox or a donkey, to elevate ourselves. Parshas שמיני has both the concept ofפסח , where even a maidservant saw and experienced great heights, and ימי הספורה when we work hard to elevate ourselves.
The combination of Hashem’s name for the month of Iyar is derived from the pasuk יתהלל המהלל הסכל וידעי, hinting that Iyar is a month of ידיעה, which is the concept of הבדלה – אם אין דעת הבדלה מנין. With ידיעה we are able to distinguish between good and bad, that are mixed together, due to the חטא עץ הדעת טוב ורע. The entire Pesach, we are on the highest levels, and then we start from the bottom. This is similar to our Parshas שמיני, the number eight referring to the future world. The eighth day of the מלואים on ר”ח ניסן, was one of the greatest days in history equated with the creation of the world, as it says
גדול יום הקמת המשכן כיום שנבראו שמים וארץ. This was marred by the death of נדב ואביהוא. This is the reason this great Parsha begins with ויהי, a language of צר. The Rokeach and the בעל הטורים and others say that if Moshe would have completed serving as כהן גדול on the eighth day, which he had begun, the yidden would have entered the עולם התיקון. At the end of Parshas פקודי מ:לא, Rashi says on the pasuk ורחצו ממנו משה ואהרן ובניו … יום שמיני למלואים הושוו כולם לכהונהThe Rokeach says this didn’t happen, since Moshe refrained from going to Pharoh, for seven days. On this, the חידא asks that if so, Moshe shouldn’t have served for the first seven days either. He answers that it was because of Moshe’s tremendous humility that he refused to go, in that he felt he wasn’t deserving. Moshe wished for Aharon, his older brother to go, and so Moshe was worthy to serve for the seven days. The בעל התניא says that if משה wouldn’t have turned his head by the סנה, but rather studied it, the yidden would have had their tikun.
Nadav and Avihu felt it was already the עולם התקון, since they saw Moshe begin to serve on the eighth day. It says in Gemorra Nida that מצוות בטלות לעתיד לבא, and so bringing a אש זרה אשר לא צוה ה”, was no problem. The תולדות יעקב יוסף says this doesn’t mean that there will be no mitzvos in the future, as that goes against one of the thirteen principles of faith. He says that yidden will be doing mitzvos on their own, w/o a command, since there will be such a revelation of Hashem in the world. The אור החיים says that ויקריבו לפני ה”, means that Nadav and Avihu had a burning desire to come close to Hashem, but came too close. The fact that Nadav and Avihu believed that it was the עולם התקון, answers all the other reasons given of why they died. One opinion says they paskened in front of their Rebbi. In the future there will be no רבי תלמוד relationship לא ילמדו עוד איש אל רעהו and וכל בניך למודי ה”. The fact that they died proved that they were mistaken, as in the future there is no death. Another opinion says they entered the ק”ק somewhat under the influence of wine, where in the future, wine will not have a negative effect. One of the opinions in the Gemorra is that the עץ הדעת was a grape. The Gemorra asks if a yid could קובע a סעודה on wine, and answers תיקו- that when Eliyahu comes in the future, he will inform us.
In the world of שמיני, wine is perfect. The reason wine has a negative effect, is due to the ערבוביה of good and bad resulting from the חטא עץ הדעת. The redness in the red wine, is the color of blood- אדום, judgement. In קידוש we make on Friday night יום הששי ויכלו השמים which is ר”ת יה-וה, equaling twenty six. This is the good part of wine. What’s left in the יין=70, is 70-26=44=דם, the negative part of wine. We make הבדלה on wine to be מבדיל between the good- יה-וה, and the bad- דם. Havdala is said in the Bracha of דעת, of what it says אם אין דעת הבדלה מנין. When we reach the level of אין דעת, there is no need for הבדלה, that no need to make distinctions since there is no רע. After the death of נדב ואביהוא, the Torah gives the negative command יין ושכר אל תשת. Since we are not in the עולם השמיני there is still a necessity for הבדלה, as there is the רע part in wine. There will be a tikun in י”ם, and the יין ושכר will be permitted and the Kohanim will be able to enter after drinking wine- ירושלים=596=יין ושכר The yidden weren’t ready yet. Some מפרשים compare the death of נדב ואביהוא to what happened to בן זומה and בן עזי, after they entered the פרדס.
The Zohar says that after the brazen act of Pinchas- קנאית ה”, in killing זמרי and כזבי בת צור, Nadav and Avihu, were fused into his נשמה, (as it says-פנחס בן אלעזר ‘who were’ the בן אהרן הכהן), and then into אליהו הנביא, who attends every bris on the eighth day – קול מבשר=678=שני בני אהרן. Most yidden that sin, do not merit becoming אליהו הנביא. When אליהו was about to ascend to the heavens, Elisha asked from him to merit double of his soul power נא פי שנים ברוחך אלי . How can someone bestow double of himself on another? The answer is נא is the ר”ת of נדב אביהוא. Inלקוטי מוהר”ן סו Rebbi Nachman says that the צדיק has רוח לעלה ורוח לתתא -שני רוהות. This proves the tremendous level that נדב ואביהו were on. The חטאים of the צדיקים of old, are much higher than any mitzvos performed by the yidden in later generations. The חדושי הרים said that the thoughts and intention that Adam had when he ate from the עץ הדעת, he never had even by נעילה of יה”כ.
We juxtapose ספירת העומר to Pesach, in order to cushion the fall. In the first two סימנים of ליל הסדר which are קדש ורחץ- ורחץ is the only סימן with a ו, hinting that Hashem takes us to the high level of קדש, and then there is a fall. First we reach the high levels of Pesach, and then we start over, making a separation between good and bad, between pure and impure, and between holy and profane. This takes place during the weeks of ספירה, in order to come once again to these high levels of holiness by שבועות, this time through our hard עבודה. Similarly in our Parsha, we begin on the highest level of שמיני, and end the Parsha in the Bronx Zoo, talking of the הבדלה between what’s holy and what’s not. In the world of שמיני there is no הבדלה. The first request we make in שמונה עשרה is דעת חונן, where we add the insert of הבדלה, on מוצ”ש, as it says אם אין דעת הבדלה מנין, that is w/o דעת, there’s no distinguishing between the ערבוביה caused by the חטא עץ הדעת. Similarly, in our everyday שמונה עשרה, we begin with the high light of the אבות and תחיית המתים, a בח” of למעלה מן הדעת, and then we descend to the world of דעת.
The חטא עץ הדעת is hinted in Parshas שמיני, as it says that the exact middle of the Torah is the ו in the word גחון, where Rashi says is the belly of the snake, the נחש. The month of אייר was created with the letter ו (ספר יצירה) the letter that connects Pesach to Shavuos, Nisan to Sivan. Every daf in the Torah begins with a ו, except five. The ו hints to us of the עץ החיים. The ימי הספירה is really six-ו weeks, as in the first week of Pesach, there is no bad, no impurity. Then we have these six weeks to purify ourselves from all the טומאה, learning and internalizing the six chapters of פרקי אבות, by working on our מדות. An angel teaches the unborn baby the entire Torah, and then as he’s born, causes him to forget. Hashem is giving us a taste of where he wants us to be, and then the yid has seventy-eighty years to get there. The purpose of this world of רובה רע, is to elevate ourselves to high levels of holiness, as it says at the end of the Parsha יא:מד- והתקדשתם והייתם קדשים. All the Parshios during the ימי הספירה – תזריע מצורה אמור ואחרי מות speak of קדושה and טהרה.
When speaking of the kosher and treif animals, Rashi brings a parable from the מדרש תנחומה. There are two types of sick people, the ones that are terminally ill, and the ones that will recover. The terminally ill patients are told that they could eat whatever they desire, since they have no chance to recover. The patients that will recover, are given a strict diet, to facilitate their recovery. The Goyim are the terminally ill patients, as they could never overcome all the temptations and all the טומאה that’s in the world. However, the Jews, who have the תורה הקדושה, through which they could overcome the evil and טומאה of the world, are given a diet of kosher food, and the ability to be מבדיל, where through this, they “will recover”.
The tikun for the נחש הקדמוני, that is for the חטא עץ הדעת טוב ורע, the vav of גחון, is the six weeks of ספירה. At the beginning of the מפטיר, it says להית לכם לאלה-ים, where the Rokeach says that להית is written w/o a vav, to emphasize that the שם הויה in this world is חסר or hidden, and in the future it will be revealed. Where is this missing vav in this world? –in the vav of גחון, or the נחש. Likewise the vav in the name אליהו is missing in five places in תנ”ך, written אליה, and in five places יעקב is written with a vav- יעקוב. It says there that when Moshiach will come, ushered in by Eliahu, then יעקב will return the vav to אליהו. The vav in the Torah represents אחדות. The talmidim of Rebbi Akiva were lacking in אחדות, the vav, and so 24,000 students died. It’s a possible phat, that because Rebbi Akiva was the one who darshened the vavim in the Torah, that is he was the Neshama of the vav, teaching the world that the כלל גדול in Torah, is אהבת לרעך כמוך, to love one’s neighbour like oneself, the students were judged more strickly. The vav also represents the ששה סדרי משנה, the sixth being טהרות. When a yid merits דעת, by making the proper הבדלה, through his עבד י-ה, he will merit the sixth seder of purity – ואת רוח הטומאה אעביר=970=דלת עין תו The true דעת is the removal of the טומאה. The goal is to come to the eighth week of שבועות complete -תמים and pure, and then enter the מקוה of the שערי חמישים דקדושה, before sunrise זה סדר טהרות=896=תמימות- . A בעל גאוה, a haughty person is a בעל מום, whereas a תמים is an ענו -a humble man.
The eighth day of the מלואים, which is the main theme of שמיני, was on ר”ח ניסן, and is equated to the creation of שמים וארץ. The Gemorra in Megilla considers this one of the greatest days in history, as the holy שכינה descended again in the world הר המוריה=471=יום השמיני. There is another Gemorra in Gitten that says there were eight Parshios taught on ר”ח ניסן, the number eight being associated with the future- למנצח על השמינית. The Gemorra in Erchin says that the Mashiach will play a harp of eight strings. The Parsha begins with ויהי, which is a language of צער, since this great day was marred by the death of Nadav and Avihu, who חז”ל say were even greater than Moshe and Aharon. The year of the הקמת המשכן was a year that ערב פסח was on Shabbos. The ירושלמי says that if the yidden keep two שבתות, then בן דוד בא. The only real time we have two שבתות is when ע”פ is on Shabbos, since Pesach is referred to as Shabbos, as it says וספרתם לכם ממחרת השבת.
In לעתיד לבא, that which is not kosher will be kosher, not because the Torah will change ח”ו, but the nature of the world will change, where the animals will have סימני כשר. The חז”ל say that Esther ate food that was not kosher, to which Rashi says was ‘bacon’. Tosfos says either she didn’t eat the food, or she was forced to. Since Purim is a light of the future world, everything was okay to eat. The מר דרור was from the dried blood of a חיה טמאה (Rambam), and this became the שמן המשחה the oil that will anoint the מלך המשיח. On Purim, we reach the level of עד דלא ידע, the level of עולם הבא, where there will be a harp played with ten strings. We had already nine פרה אדומה’s, and we are waiting for the tenth, to completely rectify the חטא העגל. The פרה אדומה is a חוק, the concept of עד דלא ידע. The mother will come to clean up the mess made by the baby עגל.
The only other time we have this excess drinking is ליל הסדר, when אליהו הנביא comes (the fifth cup). Purim and Pesach are connected. The miracle of Purim happened on Pesach. What Nadav and Avihu did by entering the ק”ק under the influence, led to the prohibition of יין ושכר. What Esther did with her entering that was not permitted, led to a יין ושכר that was permitted and even encouraged. On Purim we enter עולם הבא, which no one knows of or ever sawעין לא ראתה אלוה-ים זולתך. On Chanuka we get a taste of ימות המשיח of which was seen by the נביאים. What נדב ואביהוא tried to accomplish here in שמיני, we received on פורים. In the future, Hashem will serve us wine- אסתר=661=יין המשומר. On Purim we get a taste of יין המשומר. Purim is a tikun for the חטא עץ הדעת and the חטא המרגלים, where the yidden brought back the cluster of grapesעל מקרא מגילה=529=אשכול ענבים . Rav Shimshon Astropoli says from the pasuk הימים ימי בכורי ענבם, that the letters before (בכורי) the word ענבם is סמאל that is these were negative days, and under the power of the שטן. Purim enters into the boundary of Esav – והימים ימי בכורי ענבים=581=טז אדר שני . The cluster of grapes that the yidden brought back with them, unfortunately was used to speak לשון הרע about א”י. Later they used these grapes for the יין הנסכים in the Mishkan. As a general rule, something that was used for negativity or ע”ז, is not used for קודש. However here we have a ונהפוך הוא, where that which was used for sin, is now turned into mitzvah – ונהפוך הוא אשר ישלטו היהודים המה=1165=פרשת הנסכים
The main goal of יציאת מצרים was to come to the recognition that Hashem is one. The עטרות ישועה, the Jikover Rebbi says that
שמע ישראל הויה אלה-ינו הויה אחד=1118=זכר יציאת מצרים