First Tisha B’Av, Now Chanukah?By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Next, G-d gave Moshe instructions pertaining to lighting the Menorah in the Tabernacle (and, later, the Temple). The Menorah could only be lit with the purest oil, from olives crushed by hand. Aharon (and his successors) would light the Menorah each evening to burn overnight. (Some find it significant that after discussing Succos, the Torah segues directly into talking about the Menorah. Of course, we have a rabbinically-instituted holiday that revolves around the Menorah – Chanukah – that happens to be the holiday soonest after Succos. This is just one of many “hints” to Chanukah that can be found in the Torah.)
The lechem hapanim (“showbread”) was to consist of 12 loaves of the finest flour arranged on the Table in two rows of six with frankincense. Kohanim could eat this bread on holy grounds after its use.
And then… there was a man who blasphemed against G-d. His mother was named Shlomis bas Divri, from the Tribe of Dan, and his father was an Egyptian. This man – known only as the mekalel (the one who blasphemed) – got into an argument with another Jew and cursed G-d, violating one of the most severe prohibitions. The mekalel was locked up until the penalty could be determined.
G-d informed Moshe that the penalty was stoning. Incidental to this, G-d reiterated the penalties for some other crimes: murder (death), killing an animal (paying for it), and injuring another person (paying the appropriate value of the wound).
The mekalel was taken outside the camp and stoned.