Honorable Mensch-ion

The Eighth Day

The minute the megillah concludes, we focus our attention on the next book, the Haggadah. With Passover just three weeks away, the to do list seems longer than ever. Matzah is already on the supermarket shelves. We know that spring cleaning is before us, but how ready are we to engage in that task? Fortunately, we know the prize at the conclusion of cleaning is a meal with our families and friends: The Passover Seder.
The Torah begins this Shabbat: “On the eighth day….” The Talmud explains the eighth day refers to the first day of the month of Nissan when ten great things happened, one of them being the first day of creation. The eighth day is also the day that God’s presence rested within the Tabernacle. This Shabbat we will recite Birkat Hachodesh, the blessing of the new moon for Nissan. While we are accustomed to Rosh Hashanah being our Jewish New Year, Nissan, according to the Rabbis, is in fact a new year, the birth of the Jewish people. Judaism often focuses on the number seven: Seven days of mourning for Shiva, seven blessings at a wedding, and Shabbat is end of our week. So, day eight must represent rebirth and rejuvenation, the idea that we can begin again stronger than we did the last time. God’s presence rested on the Tabernacle on the eighth day after a full cycle of creation occurred.
How poignant a lesson during this month ahead.
I think back to Nissan of two years ago. The pandemic had just started. As we sat down to the most intimate Seders of our lifetime, each home opened up their doors for Elijah the Prophet. We prayed that the next week, the next month, the next year we would come together speedily in our day. Two years later, our Seders are back. Full and safe tables. Stories from years lost and dreams for the year ahead.
On the eighth day…for we know that when tomorrow comes, we will be ready to bring God’s presence back into our lives, into our homes, and at our tables in this Passover ahead.  

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