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  The Tempered Joy 

Location: BlogsThe Lidrosh Torah Audio Blog
Posted by: Rabbi Elazar Meisels 4/13/2007 1:38 PM

“And it was on the eighth day [that] Moshe called to Aharon and to his sons and to the elders of Israel.” 9:1

  • Anytime the verse begins with the word Vayehi [and it was,] it indicates that grief is associated with the narrative. – Talmud, Megillah 10b

This verse introduced the special service the Kohanim performed in tandem with the inauguration of the tabernacle. It was also a symbol of their new status and their ability to obtain atonement on behalf of the nation through their service. What bad news could their appointment and consecration have heralded, that mandated the use of the word “VaYehi” to connote tragedy? Sforno notes that the construction of the tabernacle was not truly the ideal situation. Prior to the sin of the Golden Calf, every Jew could have served as a repository of the Divine Presence and there would have been no need for a central repository such as a tabernacle. It was only once they sinned and demonstrated their unsuitability in this regard that the tabernacle became a necessity. Marvelous as it was the joy was tempered by the sad realization that had they patiently followed Aharon’s directions, they could have enjoyed even greater closeness with Hashem.

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