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What is special about the number seven?

by Rabbi Shalom Hazan


Library » Miscellaneous » Hebrew / Languages » Codes and Numbers | Subscribe | What is RSS?


In Judaism we find the seven-day concept quite often. Think of the seven days of mourning, and the seven day rejoicing period following a wedding. The weekly cycle is known as the “seven days of building” –- this refers specifically to the creation of the world (“building-construction”) which took seven days (including the day of rest). The week is also known as the “seven days of the cycle.” This means that a certain cycle begins and ends each week. It is a fundamental cycle, since it is based on the very creation of the world. This cycle is ‘built in’ to the psyche of the world and its inhabitants.

It is for this reason, that when we need to mark something important, we do it over a seven-day period. When, G-d forbid, a family is mourning the loss of a loved one, they need to realize on Monday, that today’s Monday is different from last week’s Monday. On Tuesday they need to realize that it is not the same as last Tuesday, and so on, for an entire week. The same applies in joyous circumstances, at a wedding. We need to realize that life the way we knew it has changed (for the better!). We truly internalize this when it is emphasized for an entire "seven days of the cycle."

According to Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), G-d created the world with seven divine attributes. They are: Kindness, Severity, Harmony, Perseverance, Splendor, Attachment and Royalty. Accordingly, the entire creation is a reflection of these seven attributes.

The seven attributes (Midot) are:

Chesed (Kindness) is the quality which causes one to give to those who are undeserving. We all are beneficiaries of G-d's Chesed every day.

Gevurah (Severity). G-d's attribute of discipline and justice.

Tiferet (Harmony) is the ability to synthesize differing, and often opposing, ideas and emotions.

Netzach (Perseverance) is a person's drive to succeed. The power that motivates a person to complete a project which he/she has begun despite opposition from within and/or others.

Hod (Humility) -- the name speaks for itself.

Yesod (Foundation) is the attribute which allows you to establish a relationship with one who is lower than yourself (intellectually or otherwise) and give of yourself to that person.

Malchut (Royalty) is the exact opposite; it is the attribute which allows you to establish a relationship with one who is greater than yourself (intellectually or otherwise) and receive from that person.


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Posted by: James Osterhage, Villa Hills, KY on Sep 23, 2005

It can also be noted that God gave seven commandments for all to live by when he saved Noah and his family from the flood.


Posted by: Lorne, Nanaimo, Canada on Dec 19, 2005

What seven commandments to Noah?

Editor's Comment

See "What are the Seven Noahide Laws?" (

Role of the number seven in Judaism

Posted by: Sally Kaitz on Jan 15, 2006

Thanks for your article by Rabbi Shalo, "What is Special about the Number Seven." I also had read that circling seven times (for example, the bride circling the groom seven times or the Hasidim and Sephardim circling a coffin seven times prior to burial) is related to the notion of a magic circle to keep intruders or evil away. Can you comment on that idea?


Editor's Comment

Never heard of that concept.


Torah » Codes and Numbers

Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.