Why Is 70 Special? – And ten instances in Jewish tradition where 70 is significant – Chabad.org

Posted By on February 4, 2020

In honor of of 10 Shevat 5780, which marks 70 years since the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, assumed leadership, we present this article on the significance of the number 70.

Theres something special about the number 70. Curiously, we see this number coming up over and over in Scripture and Midrash:

The fact that the number 70 is mentioned so many times in Scripture indicates the preeminence of this number. What is the significance of the number 70?

The mystics explain that the natural order is represented by the number 7. Gd chose to create the world in 7 days, resulting in a week that consists of 7 days, corresponding to the 7 attributes (ChesedKindness, GevurahSeverity, TiferetHarmony, NetzachPerseverance, HodHumility, YesodFoundation, MalchutRoyalty).

Any number times 10 represents the completeness of that number. (Ten is a full number, because after after we reach the number 10, we start counting again with 1. For example, the number 11 is 10 plus 1.) Ten corresponds to the 10 mystical sefirot. And 7 times 10 represents the completion of the natural ordereach aspect of nature is complete and made up of all 10 sefirot.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the number 70 is especially associated with leadership.

In the Mishnah that is recited as part of the Haggadah on the night of Passover, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah declares: I am like a man of 70 years old. The Talmud explains that the reason he declared that he was like a man of 70 is that he wasnt actually 70; in fact, he was only about 18 years old. However, despite his young age, the sages wanted to appoint him as the nassi, leader of the Jewish people. Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah was reluctant due to his age, so a miracle occured and white hairs appeared in his beard, giving him the respectable appearance of a 70-year-old who was fit for the leadership position.

The Rebbe explains that his appearing specifically as a 70-year-old was not random. Rather, as explained, the number 70 represents the completion or fullness of a person's life, as the verse states, The span of our life is 70 years . . . Thus the number 70 represents refining ones 7 attributes (since each attribute is comprised of 10 sefirot) as well as refining the world in general. Only someone who has reached this level of personal and global refinement is fit to be the nassi. Thus, it was only after Rabbi Elazar ben Azariahs appearance became that of a 70-year-old was he satisfied that he was fit to be the nassi and leader of the Jewish people.

While the number 70 represents the completion of the natural order, going beyond 70 represents reaching even higher than the natural order, until we ultimately reach the messianic era. May it be speedily in our days!

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Why Is 70 Special? - And ten instances in Jewish tradition where 70 is significant - Chabad.org

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