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Why do we repeat "Hashem Hu Ha'Elokim" (G-d is the L-rd) seven times in the Neilah service?


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Rabbi Eliezer G: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

sy: Why do we repeat _The Lord is G-d_ 7 times at the end of the ma_arive service of Yom Kippur? Why this verse? Why 7 times?

Rabbi Eliezer G: seven is a significant number in Kabbalah

Rabbi Eliezer G: it refers to the seven divine attributes that form the primary charachter of the celestial spheres

Rabbi Eliezer G: they are the attributes through which G-d created the world

Rabbi Eliezer G: which is why the world was created in six days followed by the shabbos

Rabbi Eliezer G: the verse Hashem hu haelokim [G-d is the L-rd] represents the idea of divine revelation

Rabbi Eliezer G: a drawing down, if you will, from a higher level (that of hashem) to a lower level (that of elokim)

Rabbi Eliezer G: in a sense hashem represents the divine

Rabbi Eliezer G: and elokim represents his interaction with creation and nature

Rabbi Eliezer G: this verse teaches that the very same G-d who is trancendant is the G-d who is iminent - the creator of nature

Rabbi Eliezer G: and this truth reveals itself in our hearts as we declare this verse at the end of kom kippur

Rabbi Eliezer G: we draw this ssential truth down through the seven spheres or attributes

Rabbi Eliezer G: so that it would permeate every facet of our existence

sy: thank you for that answer. i'm thinking about what you wrote.

sy: Are there other prayers in the Yom Kippur service, or any service, that we recite 7 times?

Rabbi Eliezer G: on Rosh Hashanah we recite Psalm 47 (I may be wrong on the number) seven times before sounding the Shofar

sy: Are there any prayers repeated 7 times during other services of the year?

Rabbi Eliezer G: no. not that I can think of anyway

sy: Thanks.

Rabbi Eliezer G: your welcome

sy: One more question.

sy: I'm trying to explain this to children, and I have trouble distilling Kabbalah ideas to students.

sy: Do you have any suggestions?

Rabbi Eliezer G: at thsi point youmight simply want to tell them that this is a very holy verse and that it is recited at a very holy time of year

Rabbi Eliezer G: and we recite it seven times so that it will remain with us at all times

Rabbi Eliezer G: meaning through each of the seven days of the week

sy: Thanks.

Rabbi Eliezer G: Thank you for visiting Ask Moses today and I invite you to come back at any time

[Ed. note: Also read "What is special about the number seven?"]

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
The horn of a Kosher animal. The Shofar is sounded on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and is intended to awaken us to repentance. Also blown to signify the conclusion of the Yom Kippur holiday.
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.
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
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.