I love numbers. I always have loved numbers. I find them to be immensely useful and surprisingly therapeutic. When I was a very small child, my parents used to give me strings of numbers to add. This was how we filled long car rides. They would yell out numbers, and I would add them to the growing sum filling my head. As I grew up, the number games grew increasingly complicated. My favorite game was a version of math bingo... it was amazing. Even now, number games often make their way into my thoughts and daydreams. I still count, add, or find numerical patters in the world around me as a way of distracting myself.
This evening when I was driving home from school I started thinking about the start of chanukah tomorrow night. (How did we get here already?! Where has the year gone?!) This was my thought process: 8. 8 are the nights of chanukah. 8 are the days between birth and circumcision. 8 are the years of training: high school + college, college + med school, or med school + residency (if I go into OB/GYN). We have 8 system blocks of pathology in our second year of medical school. 8 years ago I was just beginning college, not even thinking about medical school. Dear reader, what does the number 8 signify for you?
This led to me doing a quick google search of the "significance of 8 in judisiam". At www.faqs.org I found the following answer, which I really like: " The idea that eight represents "an octave higher" can be seen in the form of the letter ches. Its shape as written in the Ashkenazi variant of Assyrian Script, the script used in Sifrei Torah, is that of two zayin's connected by a bridge. Zayin is seven in gematria. Ches is eight. Ches shows the bridge between one seven, one complete world, and the next."
The moral of the story is that I hope that this chanukah/ holiday season bridges us all to family, friends, love, peace, and holiness. Happy chanukah!
(This picture was from my chanukah party in 2008)