The Power of Seven
This Shabbat we will read the fourth Torah Portion in the book of Genesis – VaYera – וירא (from the root RA’A – to see: showed himself, became seen).
The Torah tells us about Hagar running away from Sarah with her son Ishmael.
Hagar’s eyes are opened in the wilderness of Beer Sheva
באר שבע – (Gen. 32: 21,22)
What is the meaning of BE’ER SHEVA?
Be’er Sheva is literally “the well of seven”.
באר – Be’er – Well
שבע – Sheva – Seven
The same root שבע sh.v.a, (shin, bet/vet, ayin – words “adjure, charge, and oath”) is shared in “Satisfaction, or to have had enough” (especially regarding food), is “sovah,” being of the same root (although the letter “shin,” “sh” sound, is modified to a “sin,” – “s” sound).
The usage of the number seven is often indicative of “fullness” and “completeness,” and as such it is also a solemn promise, or an oath that can be guaranteed simply by repeating it seven times (or by using multiplications of seven).
The connection between these two words (“seven” and “oath”) is illustrated in Avraham and Avimelech’s settlement.
Avraham places seven (“sheva”) lambs in front of Avimlelech, as a witness to the fact that he had dug the well that was now under dispute.
Following this action “he called that place Beer Sheva, because there the two of them took an oath (sh’vu’ah, v. 31)”.
The guarantee of fullness in the form of “sevens” renders it like an oath.
The sunrise and sunset dictate the formation of any given day, just as the sun and the moon control the length of the months and seasons of the Biblical year.
G-d created the world in six days and then added one more at the end – called Shabbat – שבת (means
to work)*, which He set apart for rest, remembrance, and declaration.
Note that the weekdays in Hebrew are called by their numerical sequence:
Sunday – YOM RISHON – יום ראשון (First day)
Monday – YOM SHENEE – יום שני (Second day)
Tuesday – YOM SH’LISHEE – יום שלישי (Third day)
Wednesday – YOM REVI’EE- יום רביעי (Fourth day)
Thursday – YOM KHAMISHEE – יום חמישי (Fifth day)
Friday – YOM SHISHEE- יום שישי (Sixth day)
However, the Seventh day is called Shabbat – שבת.
* In Modern Hebrew the root שבת is used to describe workers’ strike – SH’VITA – שביתה.
In connotation of the current events in Israel,
שביתת נשק – SH’VITAT NESHEK
The sanctification of the seventh day, the commemoration of the number “seven” (in naming the “week” in Hebrew “SHAVU’A” – שבוע), the fullness and completeness of what the Creator has accomplished, and its guaranteed fulfillment is innately expressed in the Hebrew language by the root sh/s.v.a – שבע:
“In Your presence there is fullness (“sova”) of joy; I will be satisfied (“es’be’ah”) with Your likeness when I awake” (Ps. 16:11 & 17:15).
In Judaism the number seven – 7 שבע represents the spiritual presence and its influence on the material “Space-Time” world, which is represented by the number six – 6: six directions in this material world:
forward – back
right – left
up – down
These material dimensions in time (6 days) are inspired by the spiritual dimension of the seventh day – Shabbat.
The influence of the seventh day, Shabbat is represented by the Magen David – Star of David
(lit. David’s shield), in which the inner central part (Shabbat) influences the six surrounding triangles (six days of the week).
In Space-Time world, according to Kabbalah, each Shabbat’s influence expands its influence forward until the following Tuesday and backward to the preceding Wednesday.
Listen now to a nice song for Shabbat, EL MISTATER –
אל מסתתר (Hiding G-d), performed by Yonatan Razel.
It is based on Kabbalistic liturgy.
Here are the lyrics of the beginning of this song:
מִסְתַּתֵּר בְּשַׁפְרִיר חֶבְיוֹן
הַשֵּׂכֶל הַנֶּעְלָם מִכָּל רַעְיוֹן
עִלַּת הָעִלּוֹת מֻכְתָּר בְּכֶתֶר עֶלְיוֹן
כֶּתֶר יִתְּנוּ לְךָ יְיָ
רְשׁוּמָה חָכְמָתְךָ הַסְּתוּמָה
מֵאַיִן תִּמָּצֵא וְהִיא נֶעְלָמָה
רֵאשִׁית חָכְמָה יִרְאַת יְיָ
שבת של שובע
A very fulfilling Shabbat!
Yoel & Orly
We recently started a new cycle of Torah reading and now you can get a whole new aspect of the Torah portions with our special multimedia eBook:
It contains a collection of insights, stories and parables in Hebrew and English with respective audio recordings related to every one of the Torah chapters in the book of Be’Reshit – Genesis.
We hope you use it with joy!
Wishing you Shabbat Shalom,
Yoel & Orly
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