Who Knows 50?The distinguished number of transcendence.

by Osher Chaim Levene, with Rabbi Yehoshua Hartman     
 WhoKnowsFifty230x150-ENExcerpted from the just-published book Jewish Wisdom in the Numbers.

The number 50 is the distinguished number of transcendence. The count up to 50 is composed of two essential and distinct stages.

The first phase is the step-by-step progression rising from 1 up to 49. As the square of 7 (7²=49), 49 denotes the complete cycle within the physical universe.1 This is a natural development, one that reaches the extremities of the outer boundaries. This may be the furthest limit as far as nature is concerned – but it is not the endpoint. But the ultimate destination of a Jew is his arrival at the second phase – one where he somehow manages the supernatural leap from 49 to arrive at the transcendental quality of 50.

The progression from 49 to 50 has, as its precedent, the stepping stone from 7 to 8. The soul is likened to the 7th center of holiness within the body that sanctifies the 6 directions of the physical world toward spiritual pursuits.2 Through this process, the soul is able to elevate itself, and the body with it, toward perfection.3 In number terms, the 7 is elevated beyond to reach 8, which is synonymous with entry onto the higher transcendental plane.4 And the arrival at 50 similarly marks the entry into this exalted state.

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