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  • Yehuda Pevzner

Unmixable

parsAt first glance, the beginning of our week’s Torah portion would belong better at the end of the previous Parsha. For the end of Parshat Tzav describes the first seven days of the inauguration of the Tabernacle, and the beginning of our Parsha, Parshat Shemini “eight” describes the final, eighth day of inauguration when the Divine presence finally descended into the Tabernacle.

By beginning a new Parsha in the middle of this story, the Torah hints that the eighth day, while superficially a mere continuation of the days that preceded it, had a totally different character and, therefore, must begin a new chapter.

 

Since there are seven days in the week, the number seven alludes to the cycle of the natural world. Eight, therefore, represents that which is beyond the world, the most sublime spiritual realm which defies any interaction with physicality. Being truly infinite, it can have no meaningful relationship with the finite. Therefore, Parshat Shemini is placed in a Parsha of its own. The Torah teaches us that “eight,” that which is infinite and G-dly, and “seven,” the worldly and the physical, cannot be mixed.


That is to say, that they cannot be mixed by man alone. How do we bridge the gap? G-d and His commands, of course, are not bound by the paradox of matter and spirit. Thus, when man follows G-d's command to perform a particular task with a physical object, we witness a most unlikely fusion of opposites: that physical object, whose very nature is to conceal the presence of God, now becomes a pure expression of the infinite Divine Will.


Thus, the 613 mitzvot are, in effect, 613 bridges between “seven” and “eight.” Consequently, through the observance of these mitzvot, G-d’s presence will become visible within this physical world with the true and complete Redemption - like the eighth day of the inauguration, when “the glory of G-d appeared to all the people.”


Candle lighting time in NYC: 7:07 PM


Shabbat Shalom!


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