In the opening verses to Parashat Shemini, we read the following regarding Aaron and his sons, 9:1 Now it came about on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel; 9:2 and he said to Aaron, ‘Take for yourself a calf, a bull, for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without defect, and offer them before the Lord. (NASB) Here we find the command for Aaron and his sons to first make atonement on behalf of themselves prior to making atonement on behalf of the people. In the book of Leviticus, the subject is the offering of sacrifices which are brought on behalf of the Israelites at large. The Scriptures this week include Aaron and his sons in order to qualify them for the service that is to be rendered on behalf of the people. This teaches us that “fulfilling one of God’s commandments involves expense to the party fulfilling it.” The rabbis have differences in opinion as expressed in the Talmud Bavli (Kidushin 29) where the meaning of the wording of our verse, leads to the conclusion that Aaron and his sons would experience considerable personal inconvenience in carrying out the instructions in order to bring an offering on behalf of the people. This is considered as if they had been asked to spend their own funds in performing this commandment (here they had to bring a sacrifice on behalf of themselves). This concept of the requirement of the priesthood to make atonement on their own behalf, that is coupled to spending one’s own funds, or involving expense in the party fulfilling it, has led to much theological debate in the Christian faith… read more here:


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