A Shabbat Nugget: Parashat Shemini

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the final day of the inauguration of the Tabernacle.  During the first seven days of the Temple’s inauguration, Moses offered sacrifices each day and erected and dismantled the Tabernacle each day, yet, during the first seven days of the inauguration the divine presence did not descend and reveal itself.  Only on the eighth day did the Tabernacle start working and in the presence did not descend and reveal itself.  Only on the eighth day did the Tabernacle start working and the presence of the entire nation divine fire miraculously descended on the altar to consume the sacrifices.

The fact that the name of the portion is “Shemini”, the “eighth” stresses the point that there is a connection between the divine revelation and the eighth.  The commentators teach us that the world that is designed to function according to the laws of was created in seven days and thus eight signifies the transcendence above the natural order.  Indeed, our Sages teach us that in the times of the Messianic era, when the natural order will blend with the supernatural order, the Temple’s seven stringed harp will be replaced by a harp of eight strings.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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