web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

The Cycle Of Seven

PTI-050914-Sevens

One can’t help but wonder what is so significant about the number seven that Hashem makes it so relevant to cycles of time: the seven day week, the seven year shmittah cycle, and then the 7×7 cycles of the Yovel and the Omer? Rav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch, zt”l points out that all units of time are connected to a physical cycle.  Night and day are based on the rotation of the earth.  A year is the cycle of the earth moving around the sun.  A month is based on the rotation of the moon around the earth.  But the unit of a week has no connection to anything!  Holy Shabbos, the seventh day, receives its sanctity only because Hashem rested on that day. This gives us insight into how we can serve Hashem by keeping Shabbos; as the seventh day has no link to any physical reality of its own, keeping Shabbos allows us to physically testify that Hashem created the world.

We find this to be true about the shmittah year as well: “Veshavsa Haaretz Shabbos LaHashem – the land shall rest a resting for Hashem” (Behar 25:2). Rashi explains that this means for the sake of Hashem – just like Shabbos. Eretz Yisroel‘s resting during the shmittah year proclaims Hashem as the Creator of the world just as Shabbos does, for the unit of time – seven – is solely connected to the creation of the world. The Kli Yakar gives us an amazing insight; he says that the counting of fifty years is symbolic of a man’s lifetime. The average life of man is seventy (“Yemei shenosayhem bahem shiv’im shanaTehillim 90), but for the first twenty years, a person is still maturing and developing.  The prime years of a person’s life are between 20 and 70.

Obviously, it is no coincidence that the period of the Omer is structured in the exact same model: Sheva Shabasos – seven weeks. We count seven days, it’s a week; we count seven of those units and that’s the Omer. And at the culmination of the Omer, just like at the culmination of the seven shmitos, we have a special celebration: Shavous.

So let’s examine the progression of the Omer. The start of the Omer period is marked by bringing the first harvest of barley to the Beis HaMikdash as a mincha offering. On Shavuos we have a different grain offering, the Two Loaves, brought from a mincha offering of the first harvest of wheat. The Slonimer Rav, ztl in Nesivos Shalom explains that the Torah is teaching us the focus of this period.  The Gemara labels barley as animal food and wheat – bread – as human food. The focus of this period is to develop ourselves and refine our character. We start off like animals (and when we first came out of Mitzrayim, the angels complained to Hashem about saving Bnei Yisroel, “These are idol worshippers and those are idol worshippers!”) but are expected to grow daily and develop into humans.  The goal is to transform ourselves from being an instinct-ruled animal that looks like a human to being a human who is only physically an animal. An animal’s instincts control it, but a human controls his instincts.

When commanding us to count the Omer, the Torah tells us “Vesofarta lecha.” Rav Dessler, ztl explains that the counting must be a personal counting (“Lecha” to you), because it is a period of self-development. The Torah calls the mincha offering of wheat which is brought on Shavuos a “Mincha Chadasha,” a new offering. What is its newness? We are the offering, says the Nesivos Shalom, when we have transformed ourselves into a new creation.PTI-050914-Days

About the Author: Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim is Associate Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Passaic Torah Institute, Passaic, NJ.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “The Cycle Of Seven”

  1. They are very few not reprsenting anything.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim
PTI-logo-NEW

This is a recurring theme in this week’s parsha, in which there are many mistakes made based on perception.

PTI-103114

People love their GPS; just type in the address and it tells you exactly how to get to where you want to go.

There is one day of the year on which the Satan has no power: Yom Kippur.

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Life is what you make of it. And if our lives are defined by Torah, then these weeks of Sefira are all about making the most of it.

Eretz Yisroel’s resting during the shmittah year proclaims Hashem as the Creator of the world just as Shabbos does, for the init of time – seven – is solely connected to the creation of the world.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-cycle-of-seven/2014/05/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: