Wednesday, November 19, 2008

40 Days til Wedding

Forty days until my wedding on December 28th. The number 40 has great significance in Judaism. So I compiled some different sources speaking about why the number 40 is so important to us Jews.

Take for example from Rabbi Shraga Simmons of Aish:

"The number forty has significance throughout the Torah, and the Talmud.

For example, when a person becomes ritually impure, he must go to a ritual bath, a Mikveh. The Talmud tells us that a Mikveh must be filled with FORTY measures of water, and a person, must completely submerse himself in it. After being submersed, he leaves the Mikveh ritually pure. It is no accident, that in the story of Noah, the rain poured for FORTY days, and surrounded the world with water. And just as a person leaves a Mikveh pure, so too when the waters of the flood subsided, the world was pure.

According to the Maharal (16th century, Prague), the number FORTY has the power to raise up something's spiritual state. Just as FORTY measures of water purifies a person, and FORTY days of rain purified the world, so too Moses being on Mt. Sinai for FORTY days also had a purifying effect, in that the Jews arrived at Mt. Sinai as a nation of Egyptian slaves, but after forty days they were G-d's nation.

In the Deuteronomy, Moses tells the Jewish people that he had "led them FORTY years in the wilderness," (29:3-4) after he told them that "G-d has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, until this day." So we see, it took the Jewish people FORTY years in the desert before they could understand the things that took place. Accordingly, the Mishna in Ethics of Our Fathers explains that "a man of forty attains understanding." (5:26) (Ethics from Sinai)."

This I found on the site:

The number 40 occurs most conspicuously in connection with the Flood (40 days), with Moses on Mount Sinai (40 days, during which the Jews made the Golden Calf), and with the time the Jews spent in the desert (40 years, in punishment for their listening to the spies who had spent 40 days exploring the Promised Land). Thus 40 seems to be associated with punishment. Note that for violating a negative commandment the Torah specifies a punishment of 40 lashes (which the sages interpreted as 39). Perhaps the association with punishment is related to the fact that 40 is the numerical value of "yad Ha-Shem" (14+26).

This is from the site:

Forty days after a child is conceived, the Talmud tells us, the soul
enters the body. Forty, therefore, is a symbol of birth, rebirth and
change. It is interesting to note that it was recently found that
neural activity does begin at 40 days after conception. This also
means that abortion is permitted in more instances within the first 40
days of pregnancy than during the rest of pregnancy.

And finally, there is an idea that praying for a specific thing for 40 straight days is a great segula. I have friends that recited Shir HaShirim 40 days in a row to merit finding their bashert. There is a group, Western Wall Prayers, that will pray in your merit at the Kotel (Western Wall) for 40 straight days. They explain their mission as:

"Chazal (our Sages) have long spoken about the Segula of praying for 40 consecutive days. Whether one recites shir hashirim (King Solomon's Song of Songs), tehillim (King David's psalms) or personal heart-felt words, 40 days is a significant time period to arouse G-d's mercy.

Praying for 40 consecutive days specifically at the Kotel (Western Wall) is a famous practice of Jews in Jerusalem. Most people have heard about the popular Segula through word-of-mouth and have made the pilgrimage for marriage partners, income, children, healing and other.

According to Rav Sheinberger, author of a popular commentary on the Zohar (the definitive book of Kabbalah), the Segula was officially coined by Rabbi Yisroel Yaakov Fischer, of blessed memory - one of the leading Sages of the last generation. Dayan Fischer reportedly said that if someone goes to the Western Wall for 40 consecutive days to pray for 1 thing, it was a special Segula of its own."

I get it. 40 is an important number. I have 40 days until my slate is once again wiped clean. Evan and I will start a brand new life together on this day. I must do teshuva. I must free myself of all my ill feelings towards others. I must make ammends. I have 40 days left to "pack" for this journey.

1 comment:

Erika said...

well put
here is to wishing the 40 days pass quickly