web analytics
March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 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.

Current Top Story
Megillat Esther
The Origins of Purim
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

To the glee of all Israel haters it was Netanyahu who was accused of endangering US-Israel relations

Ki Tisa_lecture

Over and over, the text tells us about “keeping” Shabbat, about holiness, and a covenant – but why?

Aaron and  The Golden Calf by James Tissot

Aharon’s guilt with the golden calf is not clear-cut. What if Moshe were in his brother’s place?

Rabbi Sacks

The Sabbath is a full dress rehearsal for an ideal society that has not yet come to pass-but will

When Hashem told Moshe of the option to destroy the people and make him and his descendants into a great nation, Hashem was telling Moshe that it is up to him.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

An Auto Accident
‘All Agree That They Are Exempt’
(Kesubbos 35a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Why would the exemption of women from donating the half shekel exempt them from davening Musaf?

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

One can drink up to the Talmud’s criterion to confuse Mordechai and Haman-but not beyond.

“The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav” gives great insight to Purim

Purim is the battleground of extremes, Amalek and Yisrael, with Zoroastrian Persia in between.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

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: