In B’midbar (Numbers) 8.11 we read that “Aaron shall lift up the Levites as a waving before the L-RD on behalf of the children of Israel….” What exactly is this “lifting up and waving?” How were the Levites “lifted up” and waived” before HaShem? Bmidbar (Numbers) 8.11?
I read Rashi’s commentary: Then Aaron shall lift up the Levites as a waving: in the same way that the guilt-offering of one afflicted with tzara’ath requires waving [the animal] while it is alive. Three wavings are mentioned in this section: the first (verse 11) refers to the sons of Kohath, and for this reason it states with regard to them, “that they may serve in the L-RD’s service,” since they were responsible for the work involving the most holy objects-the ark, the table, etc. The second (verse 13) refers to the sons of Gershon. Therefore, it is stated with regard to them,“a waving before the L-RD” (verse 13), for even they were assigned holy work-the curtains and the clasps, which could be seen in the Holy of Holies. The third [waving] was for the sons of Merari (verse 14). – [Midrash Aggadah] 16
Is this a wave offering [?] as in, “And the priest shall take one of the he-lambs, and offer him for a guilt-offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave-offering before the L-RD.” VaYiqra (Leviticus) 14.12
Perhaps the question should be rephrased as “was this waving and lifting-up somehow connected with a wave-offering?” given Rashi’s comment above, related to “the guilt-offering of one afflicted with tzara’ath [which] requires waving [the animal] while it is alive.”
The Hertz Chumash (page 606) says that “the Levites were probably led backwards and forwards by Aharon in the direction of the Holy of Holies, or he may have only waved his hand over them.”
On the Chabad web site, Rashi’s comment is about the [cleansing of a] metzora (leper) and the wave offering brought by the metzora (one afflicted with tzara’ath):
“in the same way that the guilt-offering of one afflicted with tzara’ath requires waving [the animal] while it is alive.” (He says there were three wavings for the sons of Aharon – Kohath, Gershon and Merari.)
One comment I saw referenced 2 Kings 5.11 (“But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said: ‘Behold, I thought: He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the L-RD his G-D, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leper.”
Eventually, Naaman was cleansed and had faith in HaShem. 5.15, 17 but what stands out to me is the humility eventually shown by Naaman: 5.13, 14
“if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing […] when he saith to thee: Wash, and be clean?’ 14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of G-D; and his flesh came back like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. “)
Anyways, I was thinking that perhaps Aharon “lifted and waved” his sons [when they were at a young age] as representatives of the Tribe of Levi.
The Levites were first cleansed by “making them, as it were, like a little child” ( their cleansing consisted of passing a razor over them, so that they were hairless, like a little child) and by the washing their garments. Rashi’s comment – on passuk (verse) B’midbar (Deuteronomy) 8.7: and pass a razor over all their flesh: I found in the writings of R. Moses Hadarshan (the preacher): Since they [the Levites] were submitted in atonement for the firstborn who had practiced idolatry [when they worshipped the golden calf], which is called sacrifices to the dead-and one afflicted with tzara’ath is considered dead-they required shaving like those afflicted with tzara’ath.