May 17, 2019
12 Iyar 5779
Candle Lighting: 7:24 p.m.
In our Torah portion this week, Parashat Emor, we read about the sabbatical year, the seventh year where farmers are supposed to refrain from planting their crops. The number seven is a very powerful and symbolic number in Judaism. God created the world in six days, designating every seventh day as Shabbat, a day of rest. At Jewish weddings, a bride and groom are married through Sheva Brachot, seven blessings that are said under the chuppah. When we wrap Tefillin in the morning, we wrap the leather straps around our arms seven times. Seven has become a symbol of our awareness of God’s role in creation, a symbol of completeness, and our ability to be at peace, and at one, with God.
We are currently counting the omer, the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot. Kabbalistic tradition assigns one of the seven Sefirot (emanations/attributes of God) to each one of the seven weeks that we count. Each Sefirah is then broken down into seven smaller components, and each day is assigned to one of those components. According to this Kabbalistic tradition, when we count the Omer, we are moving up level at a time. There are forty nine different emanations of God, each one unique, each one enabling us to feel more spiritually connected and closer to God. We strive to be able to connect to them all, one level at a time.
And I think that this holds true, with whatever seven we are ultimately striving for. Whether it is the seven blessings that we recite at a wedding, where we are welcoming and identifying God as a partner in our relationship, or when we literally bind ourselves to God through wrapping Tefillin. Whether it’s observing Shabbat as a sanctuary in time, or permitting the land to rest on the sabbatical year, as we count, with each passing wrap, each passing day, we try to raise ourselves up, elevating our spiritual selves one step higher, and closer, to God.
And it is my prayer for us this Shabbat and beyond, that we can help each other continue to climb, as we strive to feel God’s presence more fully, in whatever way it manifests itself in our lives.
To read an archive of Rabbi Dorsch’s D’var Torah click here.