Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary
[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p'tucha or s'tuma respectively. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p'sukim in the parsha.
Numbers in [square brackets] are the Mitzva-count of Sefer HaChinuch AND Rambam's Sefer HaMitzvot. A=ASEI (positive mitzva); L=LAV (prohibition). X:Y is the perek and pasuk from which the mitzva comes.
Kohen - First Aliya - 16 p'sukim - 9:1-16
[S> 9:1 (31)] On the 8th day, Aharon was commanded to offer the first set of sacrifices (not counting the korbanot that were brought during the previous preparatory week). Specifically, "personal" korbanot - an EIGEL (calf) as a CHATAT and an AYIL (ram) as an OLAH.
Then the People offer a goat as a CHATAT and a calf and a lamb as OLOT. Then a bull and ram as SH'LAMIM.
Ponder this... It is ìobviousî that the CHATAT of a calf is an atonement for the Sin of the Golden Calf and/or an indication that G-d has forgiven the people for the Golden Calf. In one context the Golden Calf was called "the calf that Aharon made". Therefore, the calf on the Eighth Day is his CHATAT. The calf of the people is an OLAH, rather than a CHATAT. OLAH is brought for thoughts of certain sins; CHATAT is for acts. Those of Bnei Yisrael who DID whatever we will call it, the EIGEL, were killed. The rest of us were "guilty" of indecision, fence-sitting, confusion - "sins" of thought. Our calf was an Olah. Aharon's OLAH was a ram, reminding us of Akeidat Yitzchak. No sin associated with that. (Olah is not always about sin.) Our CHATAT was a goat, reminding us of our former collective sin of the selling of Yosef and deception of Yaakov with the help of goat's blood.
SDT: The Kohen Gadol removes his gold garments before entering the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, because the "accuser does not become the defender". Why then would we not make the same argument against Aharon's offering of a calf as a Korban? Rashi indicates that the super-sensitivity involved here applies inside the Mikdash, but not outside (at the Altar).
Here's a general answer to this question and others. Horns from the bovine family of animals are not acceptable as a Shofar. On the other hand, look at these korbanot. And the fact that the Para Aduma is considered an atonement for the Golden Calf.
The K.G. didn't enter "inward" with gold, but what greeted him inside was an ARON plated with gold, gold rings, gold-covered poles, a solid gold lid, and K'RUVIM of gold.
Bottom line: If G-d commands us to use gold, we use it. If He says no, we don't. Calf, cow, yes, no. Fine with us. Yes AND no, just as G-d commands. Apply your own logic and do what you decide is best - WRONG. Not up to us. Halacha tells us what is appropriate.
Carrying this a step further into the realm of MASHAL - analogy. Picture this:
A nine year old boy is left home alone while his parents go out shopping. They return an hour later to find out how their son spent his time in their absence. He was busy with his new box of 128 Crayola crayons (the box with the built-in crayon sharpener), drawing beautiful colorful pictures... all over the kitchen's white walls. After yelling at the kid, making him clean the walls, and grounding him until his 30th birthday, the parents do two, seemingly contradictory things. First, they confiscate his crayons - if this is what you do with them, you shall not have them! And then, the next afternoon, they sit the boy down at the kitchen table, give him several sheets of paper and return his crayons top him. But not for his own use. He is to use his crayons to draw some nice, colorful pictures which they will all take over to the children's ward of the local hospital and brighten up the room with them.
Should the boy have used his crayons to write an apology to his parents for his misdeed? No. Better use a pen or a pencil. The crayons are too sensitive. They are associated with his "sin". But, at his parents' "command", he uses those very same crayons to effect a TIKUN on what he had done wrong.
So too, gold no and gold yes. Cow horn no, and calf/cow offerings yes. And, similarly - and most recently - eating and drinking, no - on Taanit Esther, to atone for and effect a TIKUN of the improper, inappropriate eating and drinking at Achashvei- rosh's parties. AND, eating and drinking, YES, even to excess, on Purim day, for the same atonement and the same TIKUN. Fasting when required AND eating/drinking for the sake of Heaven, and L'SHEIM MITZ- VA, are both the proper thing to do.
Levi - Second Aliya - 7 p'sukim - 9:17-23
The Torah continues the details of the opening set of sacrifices, the accompanying Mincha, the Sh'lamim, what parts go on the Mizbei'ach. This short Aliya concludes with Aharon raising his hand(s) to the people and blessing them.
The Torah spelled YADAV, his hands, without the second YUD, making the word resemble YADO, his hand. From here comes the tradition of the kohanim holding their two hands together as one during Birchat Kohanim.
SDT: Baal HaTurim says that the three parts (3 p'sukim) of Birchat Kohanim correspond to the three kinds of korbanot that Aharon brought on this first day of official functioning of the Mishkan. May G-d bless you and protect you... from sin (CHATAT), the second pasuk uses words that tie in with OLAH, and the SHALOM of the final pasuk corresponds to SH'LAMIM.
Shlishi - Third Aliya - 12 p'sukim - 9:24-10:11
A Divine Fire descended and consumed everything on the Mizbei'ach. The people reacted to this miracle with praise to G-d and reverence for Him.
Then Nadav and Avihu, two sons of Aharon (who had been assisting Aharon), took censers with fire and offered incense before G-d. The fire was their own, not that of the Mizbei'ach. A Divine Fire struck them dead, consuming them from within, leaving them outwardly unmarked.
Moshe's words of consolation to Aharon are met with Aharon's silence. Moshe calls two cousins, Misha'el and Eltzafan, sons of Uziel, to remove the bodies. (That Aharon would not be allowed to become TAMEI to his sons is known from the rules of Kohein Gadol. But neither were Elazar and Itamar allowed to tend to the bodies. Although neither was a kohein gadol, they had been anointed to the k'huna which gave them the status of KG. Hence, the cousins, who were Leviyim had to be called.)
[According to the opinion that the 8th day refers to the 8th day of Nissan, it was Misha'el and Eltzafan who were on their seventh day of ritual impurity from contact to the bodies of Nadav and Avihu, who were the ones who "complained" to Moshe about not being able to participate in Korban Pesach (the first annual one). They were "rewarded" with the parsha of Pesach Sheini, set down in the Torah in the context of their story. According to the other opinion, the people who said LAMA NIGARA were others that were TAMEI.]
(Almost in reaction to the tragedy,) the Torah next sets down several rules (mitzvot) for kohanim, to save them from endangering their lives. Kohanim may not enter the Mikdash with long hair (a monthly trim was required) [149,L163 10:6], nor with torn garments [150,L164 10:6]. They may not leave the Mikdash while performing their sacred work [151, L165 10:7].
[P> 10:8 (4)] Furthermore, kohanim may not enter the Mikdash while under the influence of wine [152,L73 10:8]. Violations of any of the above would be a show of disrespect to G-d. [Some commentators infer from this last prohibition that Nadav and Avihu had drunk wine before they entered the Mishkan. Others offer different reasons for their deaths.]
MitzvaWatch: With Mitzva #152, we have an example (there are others) of a mitzva that has a specific context and application from the Torah, but the scope of the mitzva is much wider. The Written Word forbids a Kohen from doing sacred service while having recently drunk wine. Sefer HaChinuch gives a second definition for mitzva, based on the Oral Law. Namely, a halachic authority may not render a decision (psak) while under the influence of alcohol. (It seems that this prohibition does not apply to divrei Torah and the like - only to halachic decisions.) This prohibition is NOT a case of Rabbinic extension of the scope of Torah Law (there are plenty examples of that); it is part of the Oral Law on the D'Oraita level.
It is interesting to note that the Sefer HaChinuch, whose final paragraph of each Mitzva presents its applicability - who, when, and where, says that this mitzva  applies to men and women in the time of the Beit HaMikdash, that is for the first part of the mitzva. As to the second application of the mitzva, this, says the Chinuch, applies in all times and all places, to men AND women who are qualified to render halachic decisions. Noteworthy is that the Chinuch, approx. 800 years ago, acknowledged the permissibility of a woman being qualified to poskin halacha. We have yet to catch up to him, but there is progress in that direction.
SDT: Two of the other "traditions" as to what Nadav and Avihu did wrong are that they decided a point of halacha on their own, in the presence of their "rebbi" (Moshe Rabeinu), and that they did not consult with anyone in this halachic matter. It behooves us to learn a serious, sobering lesson (among others) from all of the possible flaws in the actions of Nadav and Avihu. One must be careful when it comes to deciding the correct halacha for oneself and his family. Consulting a Rav is an excellent "habitî to get into.
R'vi'i - Fourth Aliya - 4 p'sukim - 10:12-15
[P> 10:12 (9)] Moshe next commands Aharon, Elazar, and Itamar to eat the Minachot and parts of the various offerings of the day. (Some was to be eaten only by them, in the area of the Mishkan; other parts could be taken ìhomeî and shared with their families.) This was an unusual command, since generally, kohanim who have suffered a close loss would not eat of the sacred foods on the day of the burial. Nonetheless, Moshe tells them that he was thus commanded to tell them.
Chamishi - Fifth Aliya - 5 p'sukim - 10:16-20
When Moshe realizes that the CHATA'OT (sin offerings) were burned, he gets angry with Elazar and Itamar (and Aharon, says Rashi, but to avoid a brother-brother confrontation and shaming Aharon, Moshe addresses his nephews) for not eating of the korbanot, as they were instructed to do. Aharon defends his sons' behavior by explaining that the loss of their brothers would make a "business as usual" attitude unacceptable in G-d's eyes. Moshe accepts Aharon's words.
Shishi - Sixth Aliya - 32 p'sukim - 11:1-32
[P> 11:1 (28)] Two and a half sedras devoted to sacred meat (i.e. korbanot), and now we have the presentation of the animals we may and may not eat.
There is a "neat" parallel among the beginning of the book of Vayikra, the story of No'ach immediately after the Flood, and the first Order of Mishna. Our antediluvian (before the Flood) predecessors were not permitted to eat meat. Only No'ach - AFTER offering Korbanot of the kosher animals on the Teiva (Ark) to G-d - was given permission to eat meat, provided that the animal be dead first, before taking its meat. In other words, using animals for sacred purposes then allowed personal, profane use. That's what we find in Vayikra. Two and a half sedras of Korbanot FOLLOWED by "these are the animals you may eat..." And this is what we find in Mishna. Seder Kodashim (5th of the 6 orders of the Mishna), begins with Masechet Z'vachim which deals with animal sacrifices, then Masechet M'nachot - offerings from the plant world (olive oil, flour, wine...), and then - and only then, Masechet Chullin with the laws of ritual slaughter, meat in milk, and various other mitzvot relating to the "secular" use of animals.
There is a positive mitzva to check the signs of kashrut of a mammal to determine its kashrut status [153, A149 11:2]. It is forbidden to eat of animals that lack one of the signs of kashrut (split hoof and cud chewing), and of course, those that lack both] [154,L172 11:4]. The Torah names three animals that chew their cud but do not have split hooves - the camel, shafan, arnevet, and one that has a split hoof but is not a ruminent - the pig. We may not eat their meat, and handling their carcasses renders one TAMEI, ritually unclean.
Likewise, one is required to examine fish for scales and fins [155,A152 11:9]. It is forbidden to eat non- kosher fish [156, L172 11:11].
MitzvaWatch: Think about this: If the Torah only prohibited fish without scales (for example) and not commanded us to examine the fish to see if it's kosher, we would have to examine fish for scales to determine if they are kosher anyway. Why, then, is examining fish for its kosher signs a mitzva among the 248 positive members of the 613? The question, and the answer as well, is that there are some mitzvot that it was "unnecessary" for G-d to command us; we would do them anyway. However, "G-d wanted to benefit Yisrael, therefore He heaps upon us Torah and Mitzvot". This is the mishna of Rabbi Chananya b. Akashya at the end of Makot, the one borrowed for the end of each chapter of Pirkei Avot.
There are other ways to look at this issue. The positive mitzvot and prohibitions of kashrut interact as in the following example:
A guy goes down to the lake to fish. He catches some fish, cleans them, fries them up on his camping gear, and enjoys a delicious fresh fish dinner. A friend of his then comes by for a shmooze. When he tells the friend about his dinner, the friend asks him about the fish - what kind was it? Was it kosher? The guy says - oops, I don't really know. He rum- mages through is trash bag and finds the fish's skin. To his relief, that there are scales and fins and that the fish was indeed kosher.No violation, of course, of the prohibition of eating non-kosher fish, but a violation (non-fulfillment) of the positive command to check for the signs of kashrut. And that is a Torah "violation" (or, at least, non-fulfillment).
Similarly, a person goes into a restaurant for dinner and has a delicious meal. On his way out, he meets someone who asks him if the restaurant is kosher. He embarrassingly admits that he assumed it was but didn't check for a certificate of kashrut when he went in. He looks around and discovers to his relief that in fact the restaurant has a reliable hashgacha.
He would be in no violation of the prohibitions, but he would be in non-fulfillment of the (spirit of the) positive mitzva to check for signs of kashrut. This might not be on a Torah level, but the concept is the same. So too for new candy bars and other food products. One must read the labels carefully, and if necessary, investigate the reliability of the hashgacha, if it is unfamiliar to him.
With birds, the Torah lists 20 kinds of birds (not species, families, genus, etc. - but kinds) that are not kosher [157,L174 11:13]. All the rest of the birds are kosher. How do know if a particular bird is in one of the forbidden families or not? Usually, the answer is TRADITION. We eat chicken etc. because we have an unbroken tradition. See PP explanations (p.16) for more details.
Finally, the Torah specifies four types (8 families) of locust that we may eat. Checking their identities is a mitzva [158,A151 11:21]. All other insects are not permitted to us. We have lost the ability of identifying kosher locust, so we don't eat any of them. [Some Yemenites have the necessary traditions to identify the kosher varieties. As to whether they eat locust or not, ask your Yemenite friends.]
[S> 11:29 (10)] Next the Torah deals with the ritual impurity of creeping things [159, A97 11:21].
Sh'vi'i - Seventh Aliya - 15 p'sukim - 11:33-47
Minding the laws of "purity" of food and drink is a mitzva [160,A98 11:34]. (It is one of the details of these laws that "requires" us to wash for karpas at the Seder table, and in general before wet food, all the time.)
[S> 11:39 (9)] Once again, the Torah presents the rules of the carcass of animals and the resulting ritual impurity from contact of various types [161,A96 11:39]. The Torah reiterates the prohibition of eating "creepy things" [162,L176 11:41], as well as worms and insects that infest fruits and vegetables [163,L178 11:41], seafood and other life-forms that inhabit the water [164,L179 11:43], and maggots that develop in rotting food material [165,L177 11:44].
All of the above is meant to elevate the Jew's soul to the sanctity that G-d wanted us to attain. For us, there is a direct link between body and soul, the spiritual and the mundane. The laws of kashrut bring the point home.
Maftir - second Torah - 22 p'sukim; Bamidbar 19
Parshat Para is read on the Shabbat before Parshat HaChodesh which presents us with the mitzvot of Korban Pesach, because the most common and important time for ritual purification on the part of most of the people was around the beginning of Nissan, as part of one's preparation to be in Jerusalem for Pesach and to bring and eat K.P. Parshat Para from Parshat Chukat, contains to mitzvot of Para Aduma - that is, the preparing of the potion from the ashes of the Red Heifer, the general mitzva of the concept of ritual limpurity from contact with a corpse, and the mitzvas of purifying oneself with the Para Aduma potion.
Parshat PARA is considered by some to be a Torah requirement, similar to Parshat Zachor.
Haftara - 23 p'sukim - Yechezkeil 36:16-38
S'faradim end 2 p'sukim earlier
The Haftara takes the concept (from the Maftir) of an individual becoming TAMEI and requiring purification with special water as an analogy for the people of Israel who defiled them- selves with the sin of idolatry and other sins, and their (our) need for a purification process with "G-d's spiritual waters of the Torah".
[In Va'eira, we find G-d's promise to take us unto Him and then He will bring us to Eretz Yisrael, in the haftara, the order is switched.]
The last p'sukim refer to a multitude of sheep - for sacrifices... This is a reminder of the large number of sheep brought to Yerushalayim for KP.