Shabbat Parashat Shemini| 5767
Shemini | | 01/01/2006
Our parasha begins with a seemingly innocuous, chronological detail: the events described took place on the eighth day of the Mishkan’s inauguration. However, the Sefat Emet taught, based on midrashim,many deep ideas to connect these words to the illusive metaphoric p’sukim of Mishlei 9 (1-3). We bring those p’sukim’s literal translation: “With wisdoms she built her house, she carved out its seven pillars.
Case: The plaintiff, a Jew, handed over his flock to a non-Jewish shepherd to care for the sheep until he would find a buyer for them. Many sheep died from overeating barley. The plaintiff claims that the shepherd knew that the flock was used to being fed from grazing; thus, giving them so much barley was negligent. The defendant says that he did not know that the flock consisted of grazers and that he treated them exactly like his own flock. He also points out that he watched the flock for free as a favor.
We learn of the influence of a place on Torah and decisions of halacha from the pasuk: “Should something be unknown to you in a matter of judgment between blood and blood … matters of dispute in your gateways, you shall get up and come to the place that Hashem will choose” (Devarim 17:8). The scholarship of Eretz Yisrael (=EY) is referred to as: “The gold of the land is good” (Bereishit Rabba 16); Bavel’s is called: “In the darkness” (Sanhedrin 24a). EY’s scholars are called “pleasantness” and Bavel’s are described as “damagers.”