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    The eighth day – Sh’mini

    After the Tabernacle was erected it was not until the eighth day that the Divine Presence was officially there (Rashi on Lev. 9:23).

    What about the previous seven days? Surely there were daily offerings, implying that God was present?

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that there was something lacking, i.e. the element of chesed, Divine pleasure.

    God gave the people of Israel seven days to get used to worshipping Him. After the initial week the people were ready for a higher level of Shechinah (God’s indwelling). It was not simply the people’s sacrifices that brought about this reward. Moses said, “May it be God’s will that the Shechinah reside in the actions performed by your hands” (Rashi).

    What expressed Israel’s love of God was more than ritual but ethics. The way they lived their lives was shown not only in their offerings but in the quality of their relationships with one another. Being good to each other was the first step in showing love for God.

    Some prayer books convey this message on page one, when they say “Love your neighbour as yourself” is the preface to “Love the Lord your God”.

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