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Yericho conquest by Yehoshua


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tevet 28, 5771
What is the signifigance of the number seven in th estory of the conquest of Yericho? Thank you Shalom POllack
BH Shalom Shalom, There is great significance and symbolism in all of the numbers in Judaism. The Maharal and others explain that the number seven represents the complete natural cycle of the world which includes the physical (six days of creation) and the spiritual (Shabbat). Similarly, there are six days in a week and the 7th is Shabbat, 6 years in a sabbatical cycle, then the 7th year is Shmitta, etc. It’s written at the end of the Book of Y’hoshua (ch. 24) that the seven nations of Cana’an all fought against Israel in Y’richo. Our rabbis explain in the midrash (Bamidbar Rabba 15, 15) that this means to say that Jericho, which was on the border of the Jordan river, was the “padlock” of Eretz Yisrael, and conquering her opens the lock to begin the liberation of the rest of the Holy Land, inhabited then by the 7 nations of Canaan. Midrash Tanchuma (Masei 5) points out that Y’richo was conquered on Shabbat, the seventh day. If so, it makes sense that the seven days of circling Y’richo, and 7 times on the 7th day, 7 kohanim, 7 shofars etc. all point to the fact that the beginning of the liberating of the Holy Land, which encompasses the spiritual (“Holy”) and physical (“Land”), is typified so well with the unity of the physical and the spiritual, as symbolized by the number seven. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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