Thursday, January 24, 2008

the seven names of Yisro

The Ishbitzer teaches that a person’s name reflects his/her essence – the Hebrew word shem has the same numerical value as the word ratzon (written chaseir), a person’s innermost desires. The fact that Yisro had seven names tells us that he was a complex person, an individual with multifaceted interested, desires, and drives. Seven always represents a complete unit in olam-hazeh terms (e.g. 7 days of a week); seven names reflects the maximum potential of curiosity and ratzon. Yisro tested every avodah zarah in the world, yet his soul was not quenched. Avodah zarah is a one-dimensional fix. Think of the pantheon of Greek “gods”, each one individually incapable of addressing all needs. Think of the person is driven by the desire for money who must sacrifice family life for that goal, or the person who is passionate about art and as a result abandons a career. The one-dimensional person can find his/her fix in a particular avodah zarah, but a complex person who wants to balance many drives and interests will not have it so easy. Hafoch bo v’hafoch bo because only in Torah can one find everything, a complete balance that can fulfill every aspect of a person’s soul.

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