The Final Five: Wisdom of Kahana
I will conclude my discourse on the significance of Five in Judaism with this article. The more I have looked into the matter since my abrupt wakening in the night, the more intrigued I am that what should have been so obvious, has been neglected by so many for so long. Throughout our history, our laws, our practices, the number five has been an integral part of our beliefs, yet we talk more about 10 commandments, 12 tribes, etc. Yet, how many times have you heard anyone speak of five as the number of the Lord? Until I was practically ordered to investigate, I certainly did not give any credence to five being significant. There was the more obvious clues, like five fingers (including thumbs) on each hand and five toes but other than that, I gave it little thought. Until now. Until I reread most of what I had overlooked as incidental entries in the Tanakh and it should have been apparent to me long ago that there is never anything incidental in the Torah and Tanakh. In many of our websites on Karaism there are those questioning the word of God. Asking, "Why do we blindly accept the Torah and Tanakh as His word," while we categorize everything else as the words of men and therefore not to be accepted? It is a fair question but one which can only be answered through experiences like this one concerning the number five. The experience of discovery for oneself. To read and reread and each time finding that the depths of our investigation go deeper and deeper. That unlike the 'books of men' those that were handed down to us by God are like an onion, layer upon layer, each significant, each with a lesson in life, but we never stop peeling back the layers. They have an eternal nature that makes them applicable throughout time, whether it be the past, the present, or the future. Once you have found that thread, the essential key that begins to unlock door after door, then you can appreciate when I say, these are the words of God because like God they have no beginning and no end. Like God they can be as soft as a whisper and as loud as a cannon simultaneously. And like God you can feel the words, literally, physically, dancing around in your mind, making you think, making you believe and filling you with an indescribable feeling that defies natural law. Then and only then will you have the answer as to "How Do You Know?" For those that have shared this experience, you know of what I speak. To those that haven't, I can only hope that some day you will. It is not 'faith' as some would like to dismiss it. Faith is blind. You can make yourself believe in anything through faith, whether it is true or not. This is beyond blind faith. If anything it is the ability to see for the very first time. It is an awakening and it is very special.
The Tabernacle Five
Where did Five begin as a significant number in our beliefs. We have to return to the Exodus to discover that beginning. Exodus Chapter 26 is the start, continuing into subsequent chapters. The Tabernacle was designed around the number five. The brazen altar was five cubits by five cubits. At the end of the Tabernacle there were five pillars. These pillars were five cubits apart and five cubits high. The sides of the Tabernacle were reinforced with five bars on each side. The walls covering of the tabernacle were composed of five curtains, each attached to five other curtains. Aaron and his four son were the five original high priests, again five in number. The curtains and veil consisted of five parts, four coloured threads blue, purple, red and plain linen and then on top would be sewn a cherubim crest. Now there are many other numbers associated with the tabernacle construction but many of these are multiples of the number five. So it is clear that five was significant when it came to religious matters whether it be construction of the place of worship or the priests involved in leading that worship. This is also evidently clear from the Pidyon HaBen in Numbers 18:15-16. Five silver shekels will be used to redeem the first born from the priesthood. Most have never questioned the significance of the five shekels. Why not one, why not twenty. Certainly there have been many explanations offered such as that man was worth the value of a cow which sold in ancient times for five shekels, or that since five was the letter 'he' in Hebrew it was evident from adding the 'he' to Abram and Sarai's names, that God had redeemed them and therefore the letter representing 5 was significant. The fact is, that God had ordained that the price be five shekels and that at one time, we all understood the significance of that number without question, and new that it was the chosen number of God.
It cannot be overlooked that the Ten commandments actually breakdown into five primordial commandments. 'I am the Lord Your God', 'Though Shall have no other gods but me' and 'Do not make graven images (idols)' is in fact just one commandment about the singularity of the Almighty. 'Keep the Sabbath Day holy' and 'Honour Your mother and Father' is all about respecting the sanctity of life and creation. God created the world but your parents created you, and therefore the creative entities deserve your respect. Murder stands out all on its own as a singular commandment that 'Thou shall not Kill.' As for 'Thou shall not steal', 'Though shall not bear False Witness,' and "Though shall not use God's name in vain (swearing of an oath)' those three are all about lying and cheating or in essence thievery. Lastly we have two which are really one commandment about respecting your fellow man as seen through, 'Though Shall not covet thy Neighbour's belongings' and 'Thou shall not commit adultery.' Both are about taking something away from your neighbour and not about lust as we've been led to believe. As you can see, the commandments are really five in total with several others used to explain the full meaning of the basic ones.
Five does play an important role in our history, such as David picking up five smooth stones to slay Goliath, but all this points to is that the message that came to me in the night was more than just the wild ramblings of a dream but a true manifestation of a message from above. It had a purpose, there was a reason. It just took me a lot of time and investigation to find out what that purpose actually was.
There was a long learning curve involved in my exploration of the number 5. At first, it did seem to be a little bizarre, even for me. Being awoken just so I could be told that "MY NUMBER IS FIVE", didn't make a lot of sense at the time, especially when its the early hours of the morning. But now after my extensive journey of discovery, I can see that it is true. I believe the exercise was to convince me of that fact so that I would have no doubt when it came to appreciating that what I was really being told was not to look at what was in the past but what is about to come in the future. By teaching me about the mechanics behind five from our history, the Lord was sending a message that what was true for the past will also be true in the future. That I should be on the look out for His sign of 5. All this I am pretty certain has to do with the coming days of world change, our Megiddo so to speak, the End of The World as some would prefer to call it, but which I see as the Dawn of a New Day.
So what am I looking for. In the first article I touched upon it without realizing it. It concerns the attributes of the people that God has selected to do His handiwork. The Teacher, The Prophet, The Healer, The Artist and lastly the Warrior. Each in their own right serves a purpose in bringing the Almighty's word and laws to the people. Each is necessary to maintain the balance and order of the world, the conservation of humanity and the preservation of basic morality. But each on their own cannot save this world from itself, only prolong our existence until the time of delivery. And that is when it dawned on me. It was not a case of 'what' does the five mean but 'who' is the five. The message was about preparing the path. Letting people know how to recognize this deliverer when he finally appears. The Messiah will not be any one of these five different people but in fact will possess the characteristics of all five. He/she will be our teacher, our religious inspiration, our healer, an artist and last of all a warrior, defeating our enemies that he could not win over with the other four aspects of his being. I know the Deliverer is coming and I now know how to recognize God's chosen. Now the only question that remains is whether or not you will accept the reality of his/her arrival when it happens.
Avrom Aryeh-Zuk Kahana