Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson
condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 9:57

The Day of Firsts – part I


Various Rabbis

Av 19 5779
Gemara: [The first day of the month of Nisan of the second year in the desert] took ten crowns for itself, as the first in the following regards: 1. of the days of creation (i.e., Sunday); 2. for the tribal princes (who brought special sacrifices for the inauguration of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) starting that day); 3. for the functioning of the kohanim; 4. for the service [in the Mishkan]; 5. for fire coming down [from the heaven]; 6. for eating the meat of sacrifices [in a specific place]; 7. for the dwelling of the Divine Presence; 8. to bless Israel [via the kohanim]; 9. for the prohibition to sacrifice anywhere but in the Mishkan; 10. for the months [of the Jewish year].

Ein Ayah: Israel, as the essence of mankind and of creation, is "collected" to be centered in such a way that it elevates everything. When it appears [on the "stage of history"] in its most complete form, there is gathering together of light that includes all that is special. This includes the areas of the personal, the societal, the historical, and the cosmic. [We will now go through the ten firsts.]

1. There is a connection between the grandest level of establishment of the nationhood of Israel and the inauguration of the entire universe. This was highlighted by the great day of that 1st of Nisan being on the first day of the week, corresponding to the beginning of creation.

2. The national order is not nurtured from a lean source or from interest in mundane and animalistic desires or fleeting matters. Rather, it comes from a divine source, from the Leader of Yaakov, who created the world. From this, the national order of the holy nation was set, which included the prominence of the princes of the tribes.

3. Once the national order was developed, the nation’s spiritual form was also set, and its leaders, who were bestowed with an innate spirituality from the outset, were elevated. Thus, this was the day that the kohanim began to function.

4. The kohanim already on their first day began using their religious leadership status in a way fitting for those who did not need to show their power or their support by the people but need to follow the will of Hashem. Hashem wanted the proper actions to be done as service in the Mishkan by the most chosen people. This was the first day of service.

5. Hashem showed in a miraculous manner that the power of the specific actions to be done in the Mishkan, which are beyond human intellect to fully fathom, are divinely desired. He did this by having a fire come down from Heaven to consume the sacrifices. This shows that the building and adornment of the world comes about based on Hashem’s plan when man carries them out according to His exact instructions.

[We will continue next time with the latter five matters that were special on that unique day.]

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