Parshas Shemini

In tis week’s Parsha we reach the culmination of the inauguration of the Mishkan. This is the idea of Shemini- eight, the level above the seven of nature. The final stage of the this day was the descent of the fire from Shamayim to consume the Korbanos. When Klal Yisroel saw that, they realized that the sin of the Eigel had been absolved, and the Shechina once again rested among them.

On a certain level, this is even seen as being above Krias Yam Suf, and Matan Torah. Each of those was only a temporary situation, whereas here it was meant to be a permanent dwellingof the Shechina. In the Pasuk, after the fire descends, it says that Klal Yisroel praised HaShem and prostrated themselves on their faces before HaShem. I would like to examine what took splace over here.

The Pasuk says, VaRonu. This word is from the root of Rinah. The many words for praise, song and happiness each have a specific meaning. Rinah is connected to praise that is earned by the person who sings. As we see, Yitzchok is described as being Meranen. Yitzchok is the attribute of judgement. That is the attribute of earning things by our own effort. Similarly, the Levites are from the attribute of Din- judgement, and they are also Meranen. They are the ones who after sin of the Eigel, cleanse the camp of Klal Yisroel from those who bowed to the Eigel. In order to be a person who can sing with Rinah, it needs to be earned.

We find that Chazal compare the song here with what takes place in two other places in Tanach. One is the dedication of the Bais HaMikdosh in the time of Shlomo. The other is the resounding declaration by Klal Yisroel when Eliyahu challenges the prophets of the Baal. In both circumstances Klal Yisroel, reaches a level of clarity in their connection to HaShem. Working back, that is what takes place here also.

Both Krias Yam Suf and Matan Torah are temporary. Only when there is a dwelling place for HaShem in Klal Yisroel, do we feel that we have earned this connection with HaShem. One source points out that the greatest joy for Klal Yisroel is that the Mishkan had a courtyard. There was a place not only for the Kohanim and Levites; but also for every person in Klal Yisroel. In addition, the only was a Chatzer fifty by fifty Amos could encompass the entire people was by the miracle of a small space holding the equivalent of a larger area. This was another level of the love of HaShem to Klal Yisroel after the sin.

This striving for the eight is where we are now. The Sefira is to utilize of the levels of nature to serve HaShem. Then we reach the fiftieth, which is actually the first level of the eighth week, and we have reached this through our own efforts, and we are ready to receive the Torah.

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