- Religion and Philosophy
Attributes of Five: Wisdom of Kahana
As you may recall from the previous article entitled 'The Number Five: Wisdom of Kahana' my discussion of this topic was far from exhausted. The more I delved into my research of the context of Five within Judaism, the more I uncovered a treasure of facts and stories that had been previously unknown to me. All this because of a voice in the night that insisted I must investigate what He called His number. The real mystery will be defining what is to be done with all this information. Obviously I was set upon this path for a purpose but exactly why the revelation of the number five as being significant to the Lord is necessary at this point of time still escapes me. But I have learned a long time ago that whatever task I am assigned, there is always a purpose even if the intent is well beyond my comprehension. Disclosing this number is important and perhaps there is someone reading this article and the previous one who knows immediately what that intended purpose is. If so, then there is a responsibility to make it known to everyone as it is not solely the function to pass on the message but to also spread the awareness that the Almighty has intended.
FIVE IN LIFE
Reading over the books of the Old Testament, it dawned on me that 5 is the number of life. Over and over again the living world around us is expressed in this number. First, I learned from the Tanach that there are five stages within the life of a man. These are birth, youth, adulthood, old age and ultimately death. One may not like to think of life being limited to five phases, especially if one is presently in the latter couple, but that is the reality. But there is even more layering to the five planes of existence than just these phases. Our stages of life are also depicted anatomically as 5 events as seen in Ezekiel 37 in which God says to the raised bones, “I shall place blood vessels on you, and raise flesh upon you, and cover you with skin. And I shall impart my spirit into you and you shall live, and you shall know that I am God.” Four physical anatomical features, bones, blood vessels, flesh or muscle and skin but only with the spiritual breath, the fifth key ingredient, does the body actually live and thrive. This pattern of four physical characteristics, followed by a fifth that is incorporeal, in many ways resembles the image I provided of the universe in the last article. Perhaps now you are beginning to see the depiction of the universe, life, our basic reality in repeated planes as a scale of Five and all this is within the Tanach. Even when God created man, he provided us only with five physical senses by which we could appreciate His creation, thesebeing sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
As most of you are aware, my background is in the medical sciences and even there I find this critical Key of Five manifested. As scientists, how we define the experience of living scientifically is as follows: First, we are genetically coded, second to be alive we must be capable of growth, and thirdly we will consume energy to remain alive and hence produce waste, but fourthly to sustain life we must be capable of reproduction. And the fifth feature of a living organism is that in order to survive we must be able to respond to external stimuli.
By now you should be seeing this pattern of Five over and over again and how it is reinforced all around us by life in general, most noteworthy that even science agrees that the definition of life concerns five phases. But none of this should be considered strange if one views God
as the ultimate scientist. We can now appreciate that the number five does apparently govern much of our existence. After all, it was on the fifth day that God finally created the creatures to fill the sea and fill the air. Living creatures that owe their existence to the number five.
THE ELEMENTAL FIVE
It is interesting that in the West, we speak of only four elements. It wasn't until I came to China that I learned in their culture that they express Five elements. These are: 1. Water 2. Fire, 3. Earth 4. Wood, 5. Metal, all of which can be transformed. It is odd that in the West we think of Wind whereas the Chinese think of elements as being far more tangible such as wood and metal. As man, we have power or authority over the five Chinese elements, but the Wind we have no power over at all, which is reflected in the aforementioned breath of life. The Ruach or breath of life, only God has the ability to transform that.
Though my family has had its differences with Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague, as can be read about in my book, Shadows of Trinity, The Maharal does explain that the spiritual soul has five components. These five components are: the Nefesh 1 (the human soul or humanity), Nefesh 2 (the animal soul), the Ruach 1 (spirit), the Ruach 2 (intellectual soul), the Neshamah (Divine spark). We can view these divisions of the spirit that animates are human life in terms of the five elements of nature. Water is fluid,, it moves through everything, coursing its way across all obstacles, it is the Spirit of our world. Fire consumes all that it encounters, either creating or destroying, it is the Animal Soul or our world. Earth keeps us grounded, it is the constant that remains adamant, much as the Intellect that must guide us and keep us firmly on the correct path. Wood is a natural product of our world, subject to all the other elements that can transform it to build great things or destroy it through devastation. It is like the Humanity that must guide us but which we so often throw away, resorting to our baser instincts. And lastly we have metal, a pure element when refined, a gift that when used correctly changed our world for the better, much in the way that the Divine Spark, that pure force that infuses us with the ability to changes our world for the better as well. Whether on not the Maharal fully understood the significance of his observation, I doubt, but once again it is clear that the Almighty did pattern this world, our world upon the number Five.
One might think that my investigation of the significance of the number Five in Judaism is almost over. That is hardly the case. In many ways it is just beginning and there will be even more revelations in the next article. But what I seek now is the lock that this Numerical Key is obviously intended to open. Somewhere, out there is someone who either possesses the lock or knows of this lock whether it be a person, place or thing. Exactly what will be unlocked is still to be seen but as always I have my trust and faith in the Lord and I know whatever His intentions, it will be for the betterment of mankind.
Avrom Aryeh-Zuk Kahana