Parshat Shemini: Love & Eight

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Seven Dice
27 Mar 2008
Arts & Media

This isn’t a numbers game.


And I could give you 1,000

Reasons why and will

Therefore give you 0.

It isn’t a numbers game

But numbers tell the story.

(In this extraordinary case,

A whole lot better than words.)


Seven and Earth –

They go so well together,

Like peanut butter and jelly,

Or, for the insecure sake of

Being original (and poetic),

Like the white paper that is sail

And the black ink that is sea.


Whenever Earth goes for a spin

Seven is not too far behind (or ahead):

It soars in seven heavens,

Astounds in seven wonders,

Sails on seven seas –

The clowns in its seven-ring circus

Don’t ride uni- bi- or even tricycles –

They ride sept-cycles.


But cycles of seven can get very cyclopedic:

Long, boring, technical, and extremely exhaustive

(Not to mention about as attractive and agreeable as a seven-year itch.)


Monotonous seven-day weeks:

Six days we work; and on the seventh day we rest.

Week after week after week

(Until even the strong get week).


Redundant, redundant, redundant

Playing of the same seven tone-deaf notes:

Do re mi fa sol la ti

(Oh, and a redundant “do” to come full scale)


Se7en – how insipid:

Even its vowels are symmetrical!


But then the big, weathered grandfather clock

Strikes eight and everything changes. Time stands

Still and seven truly meets earth.


And it was on the

Eighth day…


For seven days they prepared,

Inaugurated, consecrated –

Technicalities, blueprints, rules

That may be seen as unromantic to

The untrained eye of a novice

(As a symphony in C Major might sound

Like a jackhammer beneath a hardhat to

The steel ear of a robot) –


But on the eighth day even the most banal

Individual cannot help but feel passionate, alive:


For today G-d

Appears to you


No longer do we hear the seven limits of the notes

But listen to the infinite possibilities of the music.


Love & Eight – forces in their own right –

Together unstoppable.


No, Life isn’t a game played by the numbers

Nor is Life even lived (or calculated) by the numbers –

Life is just simply something we love to eight.

Mendel Jacobson is a writer, poet and journalist living in Brooklyn. His weekly poetry can be seen at

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.