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Seven Heads, Seven Dead
tells of a story of a dangerous demon that was in the Beis Midrash of Abaye. R’
Acha Bar Yaakov was in town and no one invited him thereby forcing him to sleep
in this Beis Midrash. The demon appeared to him as a seven-headed snake.
With each of his seven bows, a head fell off. We are left to wonder how he knew
to bow seven times to kill the seven-headed snake?
Yitzchak gave eight Brachos.
The number 26 represents Bracha since this is the numerical value of Hashem’s
name י-ה-ו-ה. If we multiply 26 by 8 (Brachos) our result is 208. This is
the numerical value of יצחק, alluding to the eight Brachos he gave.
Yaakov received seven of those Brachos and Esav received one. If we multiply 26
by 7 (Brachos) we arrive at 182, the same sum as יעקב, as this is how many Brachos he received.
Corresponding to Yaakov’s
seven levels of Kedusha, Esav had seven levels of impurity (טומאה). This is in accordance with ואלכה
will go alongside you—what
Yaakov possessed in Kedusha, Esav had in impurity. With each time Yaakov bowed,
one level of impurity was removed was Esav. How many times did Yaakov bow to
The sum of the word טמא is 50. Multiplying 7 by 50, we come to 350. Esav received one
Bracha from his father. Therefore, 350 and 26 gives us a total of 376—the same
Gematria as עשו. The Pasuk tells us Yaakov bowed seven times
עד אחיו, until he reached his brother. Another interpretation is that
through these bowings, Esav was now like a brother to him, since with Yaakov
bowing seven times, the seven levels of impurity of Esav were removed.
This now left Esav with that one Bracha. It comes as no surprise that the
Gematria of אחיו is 26 (symbolizing the one Bracha that
In light of this we can understand why in the next Pasuk Esav ran toward Yaakov
and hugged and kissed him,
since all that remained in Esav was love because his impurity was removed. Now
we can appreciate the wordsשבע יפול צדיק וקם-
Yaakov bowed seven times to Esav (שבע יפול
then overcame him (וקם)!
R’ Acha Bar Yaakov learned
from Yaakov how to kill the seven-headed demon. He is hinted to here inיש לי רב אחי,
as this is a reference to ר' אחא. Is it any coincidence that his name was ר' אחא בר יעקב, as he learned this from Yaakov.
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under
the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He
received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on
numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife
and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches.
The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.
Moreover, Yaakov lived until 147. 147 is 7 multiplied
by Hashem’s name אהי-ה.
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