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The Eighth Day   

The Eighth Day                                             Herschel Raysman

Lev 9:1 – 4; 23 - 24

1   Now it happened on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron, his sons, and

the elders of Israel.

5   They took the sacrifices Moses commanded to the front of the Tent of

Meeting, and the entire assembly came near and stood before the LORD.

6   Then Moses said, "This is what the LORD has commanded you to do, For

today Adonai appears to you -  Vayirah Aleichem k’vod Adonai” (the glory

of the Lord will appear to you)


Parashat Shmini is about events that occurred on the eighth day after the seven days of inauguration. This Torah portion begins with Aaron and his sons bringing their first offerings for themselves and for the people.


The events that occurred on this 8th day was preceded by several weeks and many chapters in Torah. It is the longest prelude in the Torah for any major event. The instructions for building the Sanctuary required 5 complete parashiyot – almost 19 chapters - while a further 2 parashiyot are devoted to the instructions regarding the sacrifices.


Lev 9:23-24

23   Moses and Aaron then went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came

back out and blessed the people, the glory of Adonai appeared to all the


24   Fire came out from the presence of Adonai, and devoured the burnt

offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted

and fell on their faces.


The Talmud or oral tradition states from this moment onward, the fire burned for 116 years without ever going out. What is crucial to understand is that they did not gather to receive anything or to be entertained.


  1. They gathered to bring gifts (sacrifices) to HaShem and to worship Him in the manner prescribed

  2. They came together for God’s sake and not for theirs

  3. They were concerned with blessing God

  4. They anticipated a close encounter with HaShem

  5. They continued day after day after that miraculous encounter, not expecting the same every time they came together. They did not come to be entertained. They came to serve HaShem

  6. They kept the divine flame alive by bringing their gifts and worship to God. And, also, by removing the ashes of dead works.

  7. They continued with the seemingly mundane routine of serving the Almighty according to His instructions. As mature people of faith that continued serving God and each other in all seasons


The number eight has a special connection to the revelation of HaShem. 

Rabbi Yehuda explains that the number 7 always symbolizes the natural cycle. The 7 days of creation, the 7 days that make up the week, etc.


But, the significance of the number 8 alludes to that which is above and beyond the natural cycle of things. Eight represents the step beyond nature; it signifies the potential for new beginnings. The sages infer from this that if we truly desire to serve G-d with all our heart, soul and strength, as commanded in Torah and in the new covenant, then we must transcend our own nature. We must go beyond self! 


Yeshua (Jesus) confirmed this when He said in Matt 16:24-26

24  "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his

cross, and follow Me.

25   For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life

for My sake will find it. 


This uniquely Jewish concept of man having the ability to transcend his nature is represented by the number eight. Rav Sha’ul shares the same insight in Philippians chapter 3:12-14.


Rabbi Michael L. Munk in, The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet, tells us the following:


“The number seven symbolizes the complete purpose of human existence, combining the spiritual level of the Sabbath with the physical effort of the week. Going beyond seven, the number eight symbolizes man’s ability to transcend the limitations of physical existence. Thus, with a gematria of eight, ח chet stands for that which is on a plane above nature, i.e., the metaphysical Divine. The study of the Torah and the practice of its commandments are the ways by which Israel can strive to exalt human spirituality towards the realm above the natural (Maharalz).”


The midrash says:  


“For all seven days of dedication ... the Shechinah did not rest there, and Bnei Israel were saddened and said to Moshe, ‘Moshe Rabeinu, all the labor that we performed [was] in order that the Shechinah should dwell amongst us...”.[ 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 9:22  “And a fire came out from before God and consumed the burnt offering and the fats, and the entire nation saw and they rejoiced, and they fell upon their faces”.


So, let’s examine some of the events that occur on the 8th day:


  1. Circumcision

  2. Eight features repeatedly in the Temple Service (the 8 vestments of the High Priest’s attire; the 8 spices used for the anointing oil and the incense, the 8 poles that were used to carry the portable Sanctuary etc

  3. The eight musical instruments

  4. The eighth day of Hanukah

  5. All the sacrifices offered on Yom Kippur were in multiples of eight


There is additional illustration of the importance of the eighth in the bible. However,  most importantly, the number eight is associated with the revelation of Messiah.


Luke 9:23-36

23   Then Yeshua was saying to everyone, "If anyone wants to follow Me, he

must deny himself, take up his cross every day, and follow Me.

24   For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life

for My sake will save it.

25   For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses or

forfeits himself?

26   For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be

       ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father

and the holy angels. But I tell you truthfully, there are some standing

here who will never taste death until they see the kingdom of God."


And then, in Luke 9:28, we read: "About eight days after these teachings, Yeshua took Peter, John, and Jacob with Him and went up the mountain to pray."


Yeshua was circumcised on the eighth day. He was transformed on the 8th day before three witnesses and he arose from the dead 8 days after he entered Jerusalem.


Family, we are living in the seventh day, the day in which the natural realm is dominant, a day that is bound by natural laws. A day that is ruled by the one who is the prince of the air – our adversary.


What then characterizes the 7th day?


Luke 17:26 - 27

26   And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son

of Man: 


Prior to the flood, they were living natural life and there is nothing wrong with this. But, it took Noah 120 years to build the ark as a sign and a witness of what was to come, and it appears, not one person asked what are you building?

Luke 17:27 – “They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all”.

We ought to arise from our state of slumbering and become alert to the signs of the times.

Rom 13:11-14

11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you

to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than

when we first believed.

12   The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the

deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

13   Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness,

not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.

14   Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach, and do not

think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  


At the dawning of that 8th day, we will see those who are called by His Name arise and take up their positions, awaiting the Lord at His coming! Are you and I daily praying “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven?”


May His return be soon, we ask and pray beshem Yeshua!







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