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The Number #7

May 11, 2017

The number 7 shirt is an honour and responsibility. I hope it brings me a lot of luck.” – Christiano Ronaldo

Torah Parsha (Portion) Emor in a nutshell from www.chabad.org

The Torah section of Emor (“Speak”) begins with the special laws pertaining to the kohanim (“priests”), the kohen gadol (“high priest”), and the Temple service: A kohen may not become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, save on the occasion of the death of a close relative. A kohen may not marry a divorcee, or a woman with a promiscuous past; a kohen gadol can marry only a virgin. A kohen with a physical deformity cannot serve in the Holy Temple, nor can a deformed animal be brought as an offering. 

A newborn calf, lamb or kid must be left with its mother for seven days before being eligible for an offering; one may not slaughter an animal and its offspring on the same day.

The second part of Emor lists the annual Callings of Holiness—the festivals of the Jewish calendar: the weekly Shabbat; the bringing of the Passover offering on 14 Nissan; the seven-day Passover festival beginning on 15 Nissan; the bringing of the Omer offering from the first barley harvest on the second day of Passover, and the commencement, on that day, of the 49-day Counting of the Omer, culminating in the festival of Shavuot on the fiftieth day; a “remembrance of shofar blowing” on 1 Tishrei; a solemn fast day on 10 Tishrei; the Sukkot festival—during which we are to dwell in huts for seven days and take the “Four Kinds”—beginning on 15 Tishrei; and the immediately following holiday of the “eighth day” of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret). 

Next the Torah discusses the lighting of the menorah in the Temple, and the showbread (lechem hapanim) placed weekly on the table there. 

Emor concludes with the incident of a man executed for blasphemy, and the penalties for murder (death) and for injuring one’s fellow or destroying his property (monetary compensation).

Recently I was listening to a Podcast with Rip Esselstyn[1]. Rip is a former firefighter, triathlete and son of Caldwell B. Esselstyn[2]. Both Rip and his father are strongly in favour of a plant based diet and how such a diet can reverse heart disease. “Plant-based nutrition provides us with a pathway to escape the coronary artery disease epidemic”. In the Podcast, he talks about his new book “The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet”. The book includes what he calls the 7 Pillars of his diet. In the Podcast, he talks about the number 7 in detail.

  • The 7 wonders of the world;
  • The 7 Colours of the rainbow;
  • The 7 musical notes; and
  • The 7 habits of highly effective people – Stephen Covey[3].

The 7 pillars or principals in his diet are:

  1. Why we love Plants?
  2. Why we love WHOLE plant based food? (he refuses to be called a VEGAN, as not all vegans are healthy)
  3. Why we don’t want to drink our calories?
  4. Why we are concerned about calorie density?
  5. Why we don’t worry about protein? (it’s in the plants)
  6. Why eliminate salt, fat and sugar?
  7. Why we want to exercise? – The more you give the more you get back!

 “Running under two hours will mean no human has limitations. So I am running on Saturday to prove to any human in this universe that there are no limitations. We need to push and stretch beyond our thinking.” – Eliud Kipchoge

BUT, what made me write this Blog was I noticed a comment on Twitter from Eliud Kipchoge after his unsuccessful attempt at running the Marathon sub 2 hours on Saturday. He posted on Twitter[4] that he had been training for the #Breaking2 for YES – 7 months and goes on to list 7 points that were part of his 7 months of hard work:

  1. dedication,
  2. patience,
  3. diligence,
  4. hope,
  5. faith,
  6. self-discipline, and
  7. gratitude

This week’s Torah Parsha includes reference to the number 7 (I had thought about this Blog before reading the summary of the Parsha), including:

  • Shabbat being on the 7th day;
  • 2 of the 7 ‘species’ are mentioned (The seven-species listed are wheat, barley, grape, fig, pomegranates, olive (oil), and date);
  • The 7 weeks between Pesach and Shavuot;
  • An animal must be with its mother for seven days before it can be brought as a sacrifice; and
  • The holiday of Passover is seven days (in Israel).

The point is that hard work is good for you and shouldn’t be avoided. Our pop culture and government have vilified anything hard as “bad.” This is a shame because humans grow through hard work and atrophy when things are too easy.” ― Mark Divine, Unbeatable Mind

I am currently reading ex-Navy SEAL, Mark Divine’s book “Unbeatable Mind[5]”. In the book, he mentions the SEAL Code and what it stands for. He says that the SEAL Code is one of the greatest creeds of martial history and is one of the most succinct articulations of how a warrior culture is to conduct themselves in war and peace. Read for yourself and decide:

  1. Loyalty to Country, Team and Teammate;
  2. Serve with Honour and Integrity On and Off the Battlefield;
  3. Ready to Lead, Ready to Follow, Never Quit;
  4. Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates;
  5. Excel as Warriors through Discipline and Innovation;
  6. Train for War, Fight to Win, Defeat our Nation’s Enemies; and
  7. Earn your Trident[6][7] every day.

So what is the significance of the number 7? I will keep it simple and leave great speakers like Rabbi Akiva Tatz to explain the mystical reasons in much more detail. Numbers resonate in our consciousness and our world but no number has the power and significance of the number seven. In Jewish though[8] it is the perfect number. More than that, it is Judaism’s most sacred number. Seven is completeness and wholesomeness.

Numbers have power and significance.  While all numbers are, important some have greater significance, often due to their properties as primes or unique, or their role in anchoring our numbering system.

The significance of “seven” is woven throughout our lives and experience[9]. The seven branches of the Temple Menorah. The sprinkling of blood seven times in the Temple. The seven days of shiva (days of mourning). The seven days of celebration for chatan and kalah (bride and Groom). Seven aliyot (Weekly Parsha is broken into 7 parts). Seven mitzvoth required on Sukkot. Seven major days of celebration in Jewish calendar. Seven days of nidah (days of ritual impurity) … and on and on (see an in-depth article and list[10]).

Now – Waiting for a #lovegoodcoffee at my favourite spot in the Melbourne CBD (Patricia), I am thinking – How do I end this Blog? There are a few coffee roasters and shops with a number 7! I think that people everywhere long to feel a sense of wholeness and completeness in their lives and it’s not uncommon to find one talk about how “something’s missing”, and they can’t quite figure out what. Seven completes a cycle fully and wholly. To adopt a change in diet by embracing the Rip’s 7 pillars or to follow Eliud’s hard work strategy to run a sub 2-hour marathon or to adopt the creed of the SEAL is to arrive at one’s full potential and real self.  A state where you feel this state of wholeness and completeness. This is only achieved if all the points are followed – Imagine a missing chord or colour in the rainbow? Without the ‘effort’, one’s life is lived as a series of discrete moments, with good and evil, success and failure intimately related.

This week I listened to the amazing Turia Pitt on a Podcast[11]. She is a truly amazing, resilient and driven person. Today I noticed that she posted on Twitter a quote that I think fits in quite well and sums up what completeness I – “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together” @VanGoghTheLife @vangoghmuseum

[1] Rip Esselstyn is a health activist, plant based diet supporter, former firefighter and triathlete. He is widely known for writing the books: The Engine 2 Diet and My Beef With Meat and for appearing in the 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives. Rip stopped by the Forward Podcast studio to talk: the health benefits of plant based diets, being hired by Whole Foods, and his new book The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet: Eat Plants, Lose Weight, Save Your Health.

Read more at

[1] – http://theforwardpodcast.libsyn.com/rip-esselstyn#xVWxmvXumHQbXSjB.99

[2] http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/about/about-dr-esselstyn/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People

[4] https://twitter.com/EliudKipchoge

[5] http://unbeatablemind.com

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trident

[7] My Trident is a symbol of honour and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

[8] https://www.ou.org/torah/parsha/parsha-from-ou/seven-the-power-of-numbers/

[9] https://www.ou.org/torah/parsha/parsha-from-ou/numbers-dont-lie-balance-symmetry/

[10] http://www.betemunah.org/seven.html

[11] http://www.richroll.com/podcast/turia-pitt/

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