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Yacov Fruchter on Parashat Shemini

(Pixabay photo)

This week’s parashah is named Shemini (eighth) for the day following the seven days of dedicating and consecrating the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the new Temple.

A week before Purim, I sat together with a few of my colleagues as we packed mishloach manot packages that we later handed out in Lawrence Plaza in Toronto to help people get excited for Purim. Prompted by Klara, Beth Tzedec’s membership co-ordinator, who wanted to make our chitchat into something more meaningful, I asked the following question – recently posed to me by Rabbi Lydia Medwin, co-author of The Relational Judaism Handbook – to the five people sitting around the table: “If you had an eighth day of the week, how would you spend it?”

I love this question because it forced me to consider what I would love to include in my life that I am not currently doing, which sheds light on what might give me greater joy and meaning. I might even go so far as to try to rearrange the current seven-day week that I live to make room for some of these things. It also gives me a sense of gratitude and joy about my life as it is now.

In our parashah, the eighth day is filled with sacrifices and connection to God, but the freedom associated with this day also leads to tragedy. Not feeling boxed in by the circumstances of life or, in their case, ritual directives, Aaron’s sons freestyle a sacrifice and end up dead.

There is an important balance between living a more joyful and meaningful life and being derailed by the freedom and risk of having too much free time.

I would love to hear from you about how you would fill an eighth day of the week with experiences that would fill your heart with joy.

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