Why the Number Seven? - אמור

Friday, 17 May, 2024 - 11:13 am

Why the Number Seven?

The second half of this week’s Parsha, which discusses the holidays, emphasizes the number seven. Every seventh day is the Shabbat; we count seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot; the seventh month is the month with the most holidays; the Torah lists seven days of holiday {in the land of Israel} when performing labor is prohibited [the first and final day of Passover and Sukkot, one day of shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur].
The emphasis on the number seven explains why, immediately after the discussion of the holidays, the Torah chooses to discuss specific services in the temple, the Menorah:
Command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually… Upon the pure Menorah, he shall set up the lamps, before the Lord, continually. (Leviticus 24:2-4)
And the showbread: 
And you place them in two stacks, six in each stack, upon the pure table, before the Lord. (ibid. 24:6)
The Ohr Hachayim explains that both the Menorah and the showbread were mentioned here, because they both represent the number seven, the Menorah had seven candles, and the six stacks of showbread plus the table upon which they were placed equal seven. 
But what is the significance of the number seven, which is emphasized so strongly in our Parsha?
The Maharal of Prague, explains that the number six represents physical phenomena, because physical matter contains six boundaries, one on each of the six directions: up, down, east, west, north, and south. The number seven, by contrast, represents the inner spiritual energy at the core of physical existence.

In the words of the Maharal: 
It is known that the number seven corresponds to the six extremities (up, down, north, west, south and east) and the center - which is called the Holy Chamber - that is between them. And it is known that the six extremities relate the most to the material. For they surely have distance; and distance is connected to the material. Whereas the middle does not have distance at all, as distance is not applicable to the middle. And that is why [the center] relates to that which is immaterial. (Derech Chaim, 5:15)
The number seven, then, represents the ability to see beyond the physical. It represents the ability to tap into the inner core of life, to connect to the spark of G-d within the creation, and relate not only to its physical properties but to its inner purpose and inner soul. 




Comments on: Why the Number Seven? - אמור
There are no comments.