Shmini: Chapter 6

"Do not drink wine or strong drink"


Rabbi Yehuda begins by saying that Nadab and Abihu were under the influence of wine when the priests were warned not to drink. Rabbi Chiya wonders why priests are forbidden wine when it creates such joy. Rabbi Shimon says that wine makes one joyful at first but sad afterwards, and the priest must always be glad. A discussion ensues of wine, oil and water, and we hear that oil is always noiseless and comes from the side of thought, that is always silent and unheard. The priest must do everything in silence. Rabbi Yitzchak mentions that whoever partakes of the wine of the Torah will come to life at the time of the resurrection of the dead. However, a young boy on a mule says that the chants of Torah are to be said in a raised voice and not in a whisper. The "best wine" is the wine that is preserved, the secret of the illumination of Chochmah in Binah, and by the joy of that wine the left is included within the right, so everyone is awakened with joy and blessings.