Shavuot is one of the only holidays that we are not really told why we are to celebrate it. It is a feast for sure in every sense of the word. It's a great celebration that initiates the wheat harvest and concludes the Spring feasts of the LORD that started on Nisan 14 with Pesach. We are told in the Torah to count seven Sabbaths from Passover and to mark the fiftieth day as a holy convocation unto Him. But what does all this mean and what does it mean for us today? What was the significance of it in biblical times and more importantly, does it have any power for us today?
This week's portion is called Shemini, which means "eighth." It comes from the opening part of this parsha where it talks about the priests being inaugurated on the eighth day. And although there is much to be said about that and how it's connected to us being inaugurated as priests on the prophetic eighth day after the seventh millennium, today I'm going to focus on a different part of the section: the profane fire of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus chapter 10.