Additional enlightening Rabbinic commentary on the same Topic:
“And it was on the eighth day”
By Rabbi Chaim Richman
DISCLAIMER – the author and publisher of this commentary is not connected in any way to KOL HATOR and may well not share our views and interpretations. We do however thank him for his insight and pointers that confirm our understanding and broaden our insight.
G-d created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. What happened on the eighth day? This week’s Torah reading comes to answer this question: “And it was on the eighth day, that Moshe summoned Aharon and his sons and the elders of Israel.” (Leviticus 9:1) What was the occasion? The inauguration of the Tabernacle in the desert. The children of Israel completed the work of the Tabernacle on the 23th day of the month of Adar. The next seven days were called in Hebrew yamei miluim – literally – “days of filling.” On each of these seven days Moshe would construct the Tabernacle in the morning and break it down in the evening. Despite being called “days of filling” G-d’s presence did not rest upon and fill the Tabernacle until the eighth day, the day in which “Moshe summoned Aharon and his sons and the elders of Israel.” Moshe instructed Aharon to make the initial offerings upon the altar, and this is what happened next:
“And Moshe and Aharon went into the Tent of Meeting. Then they came out and blessed the people, and the glory of HaShem appeared to all the people. And fire went forth from before HaShem and consumed the burnt offering and the fats upon the altar, and all the people saw, sang praises, and fell upon their faces.” (ibid 9:23-24)
And just like that, the world that G-d created in six days, and desisted from creating on the seventh day, was given its final touch on the eighth day, by dint of the work and dedication, the faith and love of the children of Israel, who created for G-d a space in this world and invited His presence to enter the Tabernacle and fill our lives for all time.
This final tweak and polish and upgrade to G-d’s perfect creation took the new born nation of Israel exactly one year to complete. G-d first addressed His children as the nation of Israel, whilst still in Egypt, saying, “This month shall be to you the head of the months; to you it shall be the first of the months of the year.” (Exodus 12:2) This was the first day of the month of Nisan. Fourteen days later Israel walked out of Egypt, never to return, and exactly one year later, on the first day of the month of Nisan, marking one year as the nation of Israel, Israel inaugurated the Tabernacle, began the Divine service, and G-d’s presence, the holy Shechinah, rested upon and filled the Tabernacle. Quite an accomplishment for the former forced laborers of Egypt. Quite an accomplishment for the sons and daughters of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov.
We are told, concerning the first Shabbat in creation, that “G-d blessed the seventh day and He sanctified it.” (Genesis 2:3) We are later told that “on the seventh day He ceased and rested.” (Exodus 31:17) And now we are told that on the eighth day, “the glory of HaShem appeared to all the people. And fire went forth from before HaShem and consumed the burnt offering and the fats upon the altar,” as described earlier, “a pleasing fragrance to HaShem.” (Leviticus 1:17)
How beautiful these days are to G-d: The sixth day, the day in which He completed the work of creation; the seventh day, the Shabbat, the day in which He rested, and the eighth day, the day in which His presence entered into His creation to reside and reign over His world forever. Why then, is the first day of Nisan (the eighth day in our count), not a holiday, celebrated each year as such?
The fact is, that every day that the Holy Temple stands, and the Divine service is performed, and the pleasing fragrance of the offerings rise up to heaven, is the eighth day. Every day G-d’s presence renews creation, and every day, via the service in the Holy Temple, may it be renewed speedily, we make a place for G-d’s presence in our world and within our hearts.
– End of Commentary –