Beit Midrash

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

The Day of Firsts – part II


Various Rabbis

Av 26 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 these regards: 1. to 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 a 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 saw last time Rav Kook’s analysis of the first five matters that were special on that unique day. We continue now with the latter five.]

6. Hashem, Who called the world into existence, continually encourages His eternal nation to fill the world with signs of the purpose behind creation. In this world, everything can be used for sanctity, and thus there is flesh that is to be eaten as part of a wonderful service in sanctity, as was first done on that day.

7. Hashem’s presence in the world can be felt both with internal and external senses, in every twist and turn of life, whether in the internal or external world. Hashem is connected to the world with all of His glory, whether through actions that occur or through thoughts and spiritual presence. His providence brings about matters and His spirit sends forth its "branches" throughout every part of the universe. On this day, the Divine Presence, in its more glowing form, began to appear in a qualitatively new form.

8. Hashem is the power of life, the source of all success, the wellspring of all blessing, and the blessing of all of the worlds. He provides the blessing to the spirit of every special individual, and the blessing of a nation to the various generations of a nation, allowing it to be maintained according to its national goals and character. All of this is contingent upon and enmeshed in the divine life source. This day was a first in the blessing of Israel.

9. The special way that Israel, as a united nation that is collectively connected to the light of Hashem and carries out its actions in an exact way according to the word of Hashem, causes there to be centrality in its service of Hashem. The guarding against the explosion of the powers and having conceptions stray from those actions that are uniquely sanctified is accomplished with the help of such laws as forbidding sacrifice anywhere but in the Mishkan, which started on this day.

10. The centrality that unites the soul of the nation is the thing that enables the nation to make its imprint on time and enable it to sanctify time. They can create a month that has the divine light that Hashem shined on Bnei Yisrael in Egypt, which enabled them to be what they became among the nations. This ability was expanded to all of time and made the month of the Exodus "the head of the months for you" (Shemot 12:2). Each month received its character, being connected to sowing or harvesting, heat or frost, just like the first month received its character as the one in which Hashem revealed himself to His servants.
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