Verses Nu29-12:39 present the Succoth holiday offering. The opening verses of Nu29-01:11
speak about the sacrifices for the Day of Atonement. We emerged from that day, cleansed, sparkling in white
purity. We then joyously jump into the Succoth holiday. The first day boasts of 14 oxen, a joyous occasion.
The festivities continue for 7 days with multiple oxen, rams and lambs.
- The Bible calls the eight day, Shemini Atzereth, The Day of Holding Back for you (Nu29-35.)
- The sacrifices on that day are only 1 ox, 1 ram, 7 lambs. There is an emphasis on smallness.
Rashi presents a symbolic analogy. A person went to his father-in-law right after his wedding.
His in-laws made him a big feast. At the end the person wanted to depart. His father-in-law said Please
stay one more day - lets just have a small intimate meal - just the two of us, your family and mine.
So Rashi interprets the Day of Holding Back for you as a day of intimacy between God and Israel.
Similarly Rashi interrpets the contrast 1 ox on the eigth day vs. many oxen on early days as
intimacy vs public feasting.
We can take a Rashi a step further (as he himself does). The actual sacrifices are 1 oxen, 1 ram but 7 sheep.
Here Oxen and Rams symbolize leaders while sheep symbolize social animals and followers. So
the symbolic message seems to be that We are alone with God on the eight day - we have one leader (no political
subjugation) and God has his flock of social sheep the way we were in Egypt.
Although the above is clear we make explicit the conceptual component of the symbolism:
1 vs 14, symbolizes smallness and intimacy vs manyness.