Free as a Fish
Parashat Shemini

Dena Weiss

The beginning of Parashat Shemini concludes the Torah’s outlining of the laws of the regular korbanot (sacrifices).  The Torah then moves on to the special sacrifices of the dedication of the mishkan and the tragic death of Nadav and Avihu, Aharon’s sons, who overstepped their bounds amidst all of the excitement.  At the conclusion of the parashah, animals reappear as the Torah details all of the different types of animals which are kosher and may be eaten—mammals, fish, and fowl.  This time, however, the animals are not being brought as korbanot but are being eaten in a non-sacred context.  One would expect an overlap between the different classes of animals and the candidates for sacrifices.  Yet, though there are many mammals which are sacrificed, and also a number of birds, there are no fish included in any of the sacrifices, though there are many kosher fish.  

 
Free as a Fish
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