Keyword:

Light from the Sidra

Shemini

Leviticus 9:1-11:47.Haftarah. Ezekiel 36:16-38

The news broke last weekend of a paedophile who was jailed for three years in December 1992 after being found guilty of indecently assaulting an eleven year old boy has returned to his home town to reinvent himself as a Messianic Rabbi. The past caught up with him last Sunday when Scotland’s Sunday Mail spilled the beans.

What a pity that whatever good this man has done (if he has done any) he will be remembered only for abusing vulnerable children. He should never be allowed to exercise a role in leadership.

The only thing for which Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu will be remembered is being struck down for offering “strange fire” before Yahweh. These two young men had been sanctified, set apart by God for his service but their holy calling was no protection from the holy wrath of God. Indeed, it actually made their actions more culpable. It is difficult to know what their precise sin was. Maybe they didn’t like the smell of the incense and formulated their own recipe.

To us, eating a piece of forbidden fruit might not seem much. But when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it was disobedience to the command of God; and they died. Offering the wrong kind of incense might not appear to be a big deal but Nadab and Abihu did it and they died.

Immediately after the account of the death of the sons of Aaron, there follows a list of kosher and treif food. Eating lobster might not appear to be a big deal but the Jewish people are God’s holy people and they are not allowed to do it. What does it matter what we eat? It matters to God and the obedience or disobedience of the Jewish people demonstrates whether or not they love God.

Thankfully, God does not smite everyone as soon as they sin but because he is holy we will have to give an account of all our actions on the day he dispenses justice to all mankind.

What will we be remembered for on the day we stand before the King of the Universe? If he judges us according to the same standard he judged Nadab and Abihu, how will we survive? 


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