Six, seven and eight

All numbers have symbolism in Judaism, but eight is a higher level than 7, which in turn is higher than 6.

Rabbi Moshe Kempinski ,

Moshe Kempinski
Moshe Kempinski
Courtesy

In Judaism, every number carries a specific meaning and power.

SIX represents the natural order in the world as in the Six days of creation.

SEVEN represents Holiness within that natural order. “For in six days the Hashem made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore Hashem sanctified the Sabbath day and made it holy."( Exodus 20:11)

EIGHT, on the other hand, represents the next level as it represents eternal concepts and interaction. The symbol for infinity is an EIGHT on its side as it continues to move through its never ending curves.

To commemorate the spiritual victory over the powers of Hellenism and the Greek warlords who wanted to eradicate the spiritual destiny of the people, we kindle EIGHT candles. To represent the eternal covenant symbolized by the circumcision ceremony, we do so on day Eight of the child’s life.

This past Shabbat's Torah portion describing the Sanctification of the Tabernacle begins with the words "And it was on the eighth day, that Moshe summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel."(Leviticus 9:1)

Hashem commands His people to do something that is truly impossible to comprehend:“And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst.”(Exodus 25:8)

That is a great mystery for in reality He exists everywhere and at all times. As the angels declare "Holy, holy, holy is Hashem of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.." (Isaiah 6:3)


So how can we create a dwelling place for the Infinite Divine in our limited realm of reality? He is already and always has been there.


Yet we do it because Hashem says that we could and should.

Following the construction, the Children of Israel celebrated the inauguration for seven days. During each of the seven days, offerings of thanksgiving were brought and prayers, song and hopes were lifted on High.

Yet throughout that dramatic and joyful experience the powerful experience of Kavod Hashem, the Glory of G-d did not manifest itself.

King Solomon asks the question after he finishes building the Temple;

“But will G-d indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You; much less this temple that I have erected.” (I Kings 8:27)


Yet on the eighth day we read the following

"And it was on the eighth day . . . And Moshe and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting. Then they came out and blessed the people, and the glory of Hashem appeared to all the people.And fire went forth from before Hashem and consumed the burnt offering and the fats upon the altar, and all the people saw, sang praises, and fell upon their faces." (Leviticus 9:1, 23-24)

What then are we to learn from the fact that the Torah specifically wants us to know "And it was on the eighth day."

Perhaps the important lesson was that there were three stages to the revelation of Hashem's Glory and Presence in the Tabernacle they had built. The first two stages had to do with the numbers Six and Seven. The climactic stage had to do with the number Eight.

The number SIX represents the efforts of the heart and body that went into the creation of Hashem's Tabernacle "Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an offering; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering.... And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst 9according to all that I show you, the pattern of the Mishkan and the pattern of all its vessels; and so shall you do. (Exodus 25:2-9)

The number SEVEN relates to the consecration of a day , item or action. Making it Holy (KADOSH) necessitates designating and setting the day, item or action apart from all others.Holiness necessitates setting something apart as special.

While it is true that the word Kadosh implies a separateness, standing apart. Yet it in fact implies much more. To be Kadosh is to be designated, to be set apart for a purpose. When a groom betroths himself to his beloved under the Jewish canopy he declares the words "Harei at Mekudeshet lee...etc’ (Behold you are sanctified unto me) what he is actually saying is that you are designated, set apart, for me.

When the TORAH tells us ”Sanctify( Kadesh) unto Me all the first-born, whatsoever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast, it is Mine.” (Exodus 13:2) G-d is commanding the people to designate for Him every first born.

To be Holy then is to be set apart on the one hand and on the other hand to step in to a place of designation. A place that is designated for a Higher purpose, designated for Hashem.

That is the power of SEVEN.


Once that earthly striving and then the designation for a Higher purpose has been achieved, then the day, the item or the action becomes a vessel ready to be filled from On High.

That is the power of EIGHT

"And it was on the eighth day . . . And Moshe and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting. Then they came out and blessed the people, and the glory of Hashem appeared to all the people.And fire went forth from before Hashem and consumed the burnt offering and the fats upon the altar, and all the people saw, sang praises, and fell upon their faces. " (Leviticus 9:1, 23-24)


LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved Vekol Cholei Yisrael




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