Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A One-Law Midrash About Shemini Atzeret (UPDATED)


1 Peter 3:20 says that there were eight souls saved in the ark through water. Thus, we see that eight is the number of the covenant and that it includes all of humanity.

NOTE:  Seventy nations come from Noach (Gen. 10).


Circumcision occurs on the eighth day.  Why the eighth day?  Because Avraham was supposed to see all of humanity as potential proselytes who would join his family and come under the covenant.  Avraham was not only the model proselyte but also the model proselytizer, bringing with him "many souls."


The dimensions of the Holy of Holies are based on the number eight.  

Moshe appointed seventy elders to the Sanhedrin.


On Sukkot, a festival for which Torah requires seventy sacrifices which symbolize the seventy nations of humanity, Yeshua quoted Isaiah 55, a passage that talks about an everlasting covenant being made with all peoples:

John 7:37-39, "37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."
Isaiah 55, ""Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor."

There's an old Jewish midrash that says the seventy sacrifices of Sukkot represent the nations and the single sacrifice on Shemini Atseret represents only Israel.

Here's a One-Law midrash:
"The seventy sacrifices of Sukkot represent all of humanity; the single sacrifice of Shemini Atseret represents all of humanity becoming one."
On that Great Day His People will be one even as He is one.




  1. I think we still have to grasp the full extent and breath of Yeshua's prayer in John 17:20-23 when He prays for all His disciples, present and future. The passage reads:

    "I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word, that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are united with me and I with you, I pray that they may be united with us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. The glory which you have given me, I have given to them: so that they may be one, just as we are one---- I united with them and you with me, so that they may be completely one, and the world thus realize that you sent me, and that you have loved them just as you have loved me."

    1. Mark I think that may be the first time I've seen Yeshua's prayer used in this context... I love it!

  2. Thank you for this meditation on the upcoming Shemini Atzeret. I have one remark on John ch. VII, however. It seems to me that this text is about HoShanah Rabbah, not about the Atzeret. "The last day, that great [megale = rabbah] day", as John calls it, is probably the seventh day, which is in line with the fact that Sukkot proper is seven days, not eight. The special eight day is a festival in its own right, and the conclusion of the entire festive season. But the obligation to dwell in the Sukkah is for seven days, not eight. So the last day of Sukkot, HoShanah Rabbah, has always been the traditional climax of this festival.

    Also, traditionally, a connection has been made between the possession of the Ruach HaKodesh, mentioned in Jn. 7:39 and the extatic joy of HoShanah Rabbah.

    1. Agreed. Thanks for the correction!

    2. I went ahead and changed that section...

  3. You are right. John 7 is the last day when the celebration of Simchat Beit Hashoeva took place.

    1. I see you also posted about this some years back: