Numbers have meaning.
The number one symbolizes unity: one G-d, one Torah and one Israel.
The number two represents either duality (such as the two inclinations of man) or harmony (such as the two tablets).
Three relates to the notion of synthesis of two disparate entities through which a third and new entity is created. (An example of this is the Torah which the Talmud associates with the number three, because it creates the synthesis between G-d and the physical world.)
The number four represents the stages of development from conception through birth, in both the physical world as well as in the spiritual world. Indeed, the entire process of creation undergoes these four stages of development. First there is an idea (conception). The next stage is for the idea to be given some basic form. The third stage is where the basic form is allowed to mature and develop to the point that it is ready for the fourth stage of birth. Thus, we have four letters in G-d’s name, to represent the process of creation which comprises four stages.
Five corresponds to the five levels of the soul and of human experience. The soul of a person can manifest itself either in action, emotions, intellect, will or delight.
Six is the representation of space (north, south, east, west, up and down) and time (six work days of the week), without its inner spiritual dimension.
The number seven represents the totality of time and space, where the six dimensions of time and space are infused with an inner spiritual core.
If one were to take six equal objects and places them in a circle, there will be a space - equal to the size of one of the objects – in the center of this circle, symbolizing the role of number seven as the core and “soul” of the other six. Similarly, in the realm of time, the Shabbat is the soul and spiritual essence of the other six days of the week.
Thus, the number seven is considered to be the most beloved and cherished number, because it represents the peak of perfection. The Torah was thus given to the Jewish people after seven generations (from the Patriarch Abraham through Moses).
On the surface it would seem that one cannot go beyond the state of divine perfection associated with the number seven. Yet, this Torah portion speaks of the fact that the dedication of the Mishkan (portable sanctuary) occurred on the “eighth” day (i.e., after seven days of preparation). Commentators point out that this was to represent that the divine experience that was expressed through the dedication of the Mishkan was one of the order of eight; it transcended perfection!
Indeed, the number eight is the symbol of going beyond the order – even the spiritual order – of existence that is represented by the number seven. The number eight is not just seven plus one, but it is of an entirely different order. Eight is the symbol of the miraculous and transcendent. Eight is the force that enables us to go beyond the constraints of logic.
Hence the circumcision rite occurs on the eighth day. Circumcision is not just a rational initiation ceremony that a mature adult enters into, but it is our way of connecting an infant – and the infant, non-rational aspect of our personality – with its Creator. This procedure reveals an inner bond between a Jew and G-d that transcends and defies logic.
Our sages also inform us that the harp that our ancestors used in the Temple consisted of seven strands. However, the harp that we will be using in the third Temple, built by Moshiach, will consist of eight strands. The Messianic age will introduce a new dimension of spirituality. Not only will the Messianic age bring about the perfection of nature – hence it is also identified as the Sabbatical era – but it will go beyond that. Moshiach will instill the order of nature with a palpable realization of the transcendent and heretofore supra-rational aspects of Divinity. This means that in the Messianic age the Divine reality and our own reality will coincide. We will be able to see things through the perspective of G-d.