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Torah Mizion emissariesChezki Ezra

Dedicated in memory of Yaakov ben Avraham and Sarah Aharonov z"l

Our Parashah, Shemini, begins with describing the eighth day of the building of the Mishkan:
"And it was on the eighth day, that Moshe summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel.… And Moshe said, 'This is the thing the Lord has commanded; do it, and the glory of the Lord will appear to you..'." (Vayikra 9, 1-6)

What happened during the first seven days? The previous Parashah tells us the answer. Moshe worked in the Mishkan while Aharon and his sons had something alon the lines of a Coronation ceremony.

Why does Hashem's glory appear only on the eighth day? Why not from the first day, from when Moshe started working in the Mishkan? What is the symbolic meaning of seven days and the eighth day?
I would like to suggest that the eighth day continues the seven days of creation. This week's Parasha is about how we, as humans, bring meaning into the world that Hashem created. The Cohanim stayed in the Mishkan for seven days and did not work, symbolizing the days before Adam could work in the world. Adam was supposed to rest on Shabbat and on Sunday, the Eighth day from the creation, to keep the world.

Instead, he ate the fruit of Eitz Hada'at on Friday and protected by Shabbat, which is like Gan Eden (Pirkei D'rabbi Eliezer, 18). On Sunday he could not fulfil his mission of keeping the world. Hashem placed in the entrance to Gan Eden "the flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way to the tree of life".

The eighth day of the Mishkan is when we come back in to Gan Eden. The Cohanim brought all of the Korbanot and instead of the flaming sword it says: "fire went forth from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fats upon the altar, and all the people saw, sang praises, and fell upon their faces". The fire of becoming closer came instead of the flaming sword.

Not only the Cohanim continue the mission of Adam from Gan Eden, we all do it every time we keep Kosher. When Hashem created the world, he distinguished between the different species. When we distinguish between the kosher and non-kosher animal, we fix the first sin of Adam - some things can be eaten and some things can't. In the past, when we used to keep the laws of Tahara (clean and unclean), we showed the inner meaning of different element sin the world. Each food, animal or element is unique not just on the physical level, but is defined also on the spiritual level. It has a meaning for kosher food or unclean element.

On the first day, Hashem distinguished between light and dark, and so do we – "to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten". Hashem created the world in seven days and from the eighth day, it is our mission to bring it to a higher level.

Rav Yisrael Wendeis former Rosh Kollel in Memphis and currently Rav Kehila in Maale Adumim. For comments:‬ [email protected]

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