Ask The Rabbi

For the week ending 26 January 2008 / 19 Shevat 5768

Subliminal Seven

by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman -
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From: Samara

Dear Rabbi,

I understand that seven is an important number in Judaism. I have heard that there is a lot of spiritual meaning to the number seven. However, since according to Jewish belief, Creation was completed in seven days, I’m wondering if the number seven is viewed by Judaism as having any relevance to the physical world as well.

Dear Samara,

In Jewish thought, it is impossible to divorce the physical from the spiritual. The fact that seven is so central in the spiritual world is mirrored in the physical world. The mystical teachings of Judaism regarding Creation describe seven lower receptacles/refractors of Divine energy that channel and transform that energy into physical creation. The pattern of those seven “sefirot”, then, are projected onto, and infused within, existence.

Without going into the great detail and depth of these teachings regarding the subliminal significance of seven in the spiritual and physical, I’ll just mention a few ways in which seven is projected onto and into the physical.

Spatially. The circle represents unity, perfection and eternity. If you encircle a circle with circles, you’ll find there are seven. For example, take seven coins of the same size (CDs will also do). Put one down and place the others around it. Each individual unit of perfection becomes integrated into a unified mosaic of seven.

Audibly. Music represents harmony, emotion and inspiration. The scale of musical notes is comprised of seven tones. Each moving sound is integrated into and permeates the music, which resonates a harmonious and inspirational reverberation of seven.

Visually. Light represents illumination, enlightenment and spirituality. However, light is comprised of the seven colors of the visible spectrum: violet, blue, indigo, green, yellow, orange and red. Each beautiful, stirring shade, which is the basis of color, is integrated into a brilliant illumination of seven.

Interestingly, the part of our body that serves as the main venue through which we integrate and interact with the world around us, our head, contains seven gates of sensual perception: Two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the mouth. It is through these seven gates that we perceive on a physical, emotional and intellectual/spiritual level the subliminal sevens that permeate Creation.

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