Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Per Echad Mi Yodea, seven, of course, are the days of Shabbos. And while many have shared the myth that the world has always adhered to a seven-day week, there have been civilizations that used other numbers (8 days, 10 days, no weeks at all…). While our understanding of the seven-day week comes from Sefer Bereishis, it’s interesting that other Pagan societies also related to this system. In fact, the names of the days of the week are named for seven heavenly bodies (sun, moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn). Rashi in Berachos (59b) details the seder of the celestial bodies and explains the timing for what we call birkas hachama: Every 28 years, the heavens “realign” and we make a beracha acknowledging that there is an order; there is seder bereishis.

As early civilization was arranging the calendar, they weren’t looking at the Jewish Bible for direction, they were looking to the universe for their relative place within it. When they found seder (either in the lunar cycles or in the seven-day cycle described by Rashi) they placed themselves within that seder and attempted to operate within it.


Heading towards Pesach and the leil haseder, it may serve us well to consider that the cleaning, shopping and cooking is not about us “making seder” so much as it is finding our place within the seder that exists and always has; seeing where it is that we fit in the current phase of our nation’s legacy and what we will contribute to future ones.


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Avi Ganz is the program Director of Ohr Torah Stone's Yeshivat Darkaynu. He lives with his wife and five children in Gush Etzion where he volunteers for MD"A, plays the blues on his Hohner, and reminisces fondly of his days playing tackle football with the IFL.