127 Ways to Leave Your Pessimism

In the constant struggle to build a successful life, it is all too easy to be pulled down by hardship, dark recollections, terrifying fears, and sad thoughts flitting through one’s mind.  One remains confidently focused on the task by treating each day as its own opportunity to achieve success and happiness.

This Thursday we celebrate Purim on which we read the Book of Esther. It opens:

And it was in the days of Ahasuerosh, he was Ahasuerosh who reigned from Hodu to Kush, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces.
(Esther 1:1)

The number 127 occurs only once again in all of Scripture—at the end of Sarah’s life.

And Sarah was a hundred and twenty-seven years old…
(Genesis 23:1)

Ancient Jewish wisdom links the two occurrences. In Scripture, numbers have great meaning and if a number only appears twice, we need to note the connection between the two occasions.

Imagine seven pennies lined up in a row upon a table. You spin each penny until they are all laying either heads or tails.

After the first spin, the arrangement of coins on the table might look like this (H=heads; T=tails):


After the second spin, the line of coins will probably look different. Some will fall the same way as the first time, while others will fall differently.

How many different ways can the seven coins fall?

Each coin can fall in one of two possibilities, heads or tails. The total number of possible arrangements is:

2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 = 128

Now, let’s forget coins and instead think of the seven days of the week.  Each 24-hour day comprises night and day, which represent darkness and light.

You will surely agree that seven coins each of which is made up of two parts, heads and tails, is the same, mathematically speaking, as seven days each made up of two parts, night and day.

So the first possible arrangement of seven days would be:

night night night night night night night

and the 128th arrangement would be:

day day day day day day day

Darkness or night is almost universally recognized as a metaphor for tough times while the bright light of day depicts brightness and optimism.  This means that there are 128 ways for my week to turn out.  Number 1 is seven dark and dismal days in a row and number 128 is a rapturous sequence of seven wonderful days.

We omit number one because any sequence of seven days must include a Sabbath.  Any week that includes a Sabbath cannot, by definition, be entirely bad.  This leaves us with 127 potential ways for a week to turn out.

Ancient Jewish wisdom links Sarah and Esther through the number 127.  Both women’s lives contained intense disappointment, pain and fear, yet both stayed hopeful. Both Sarah and Esther fulfilled their life-missions as they ensured the future of the Jews.  Sarah did so by bearing and raising Isaac and Esther by preventing Haman’s genocide.

The secret we learn is that every day offers us a choice to liberate ourselves from negative emotional anchors of yesterday. Like Sarah and Esther, we will have painful and difficult times, yet we must choose not to see those times as the only model for our future. Each week gives us 127 new opportunities for optimism, joy and the fulfillment of our life mission.

On occasion, God lifts the curtain of history (His story) and gives us thrilling instances where the fulfillment  of Biblical prophecies play out. Starting in Genesis and moving through the book of Judges and the Scroll of Esther, we have now seen prophecies come to life that our ancestors could only accept on faith. In honor of Purim, we invite you to dig deeply into Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam that explores these amazing verses and delves into paths of history that are continuing today as Persia (Iran) once again threatens to wipe out the children of Sarah and Esther. Be sure to check out the special offer on this astounding CD teaching.

11 thoughts on “127 Ways to Leave Your Pessimism”

  1. Thank you, Rabbi. So glad to have biblical view for daily decision making. It makes all the difference riding this rollercoaster. I love Sara and Ester. In better times, I was celebrating Purim with friends and had a wonderful time. I choose joy and laughter and don’t take myself too seriously. None the less, Cheg Sameg (forgive my spelling).

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thanks Maria–
      And a ‘chag Sameach’ to you too. (and my spelling is no more correct than yours)

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thanks Brian–
      It really encourages us to know that a particular teaching connected.

  2. As always, I appreciate your wisdom, Rabbi, but as a student of statistics I must point out an error in your math. If one of the seven days is given as always good, the number of possibilities becomes 2 to the 6th power, which is 64.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Dean–
      thanks for taking the time to write. The sequence of seven ‘goods’ which occurs 1/128 is the definition of good. Or the Sabbath, if you will. It is the representation of the ‘all good day’ that is removed from the calculus, i.e. 1/128 rather than an actual day, i.e. 1/7 which becomes 64 in base 2.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Hope you receive that blessing soon, James,
      Certain ideas are so important that we occasionally articulate them (in different ways) in both writing and on television. We feel privileged to have such sharp and alert readers and viewers like you.

  3. Amazing truth. Again reveals the Heavenly Father as the Word comes from Him, is His voice, is Him creating the natural world. Rabbi your teaching keeps astounding us with the understanding that the Hebrew Word is eternal and will always reveal Him who is, who was and who is to come. Thank you Rabbi, I receive so much from your videos, books etc.

    I love the New Zealand and Wellington Jewish community, where I live. As a disciple of Yeshua it’s my privilege to give to and pray for them and very occasionally attend synagogue services, as direct children of Abraham you Jewish people give so much to the world and cities where you live. The Wgtn Jewish Community helped Wellington from its very beginnings to become our capital city.

  4. Rabbi, I appreciate your time spent with me, caring about me, and helping me to live a better life while gaining Ancient Jewish Wisdom. I grew up in the Pentecostal church which studies the Old Testament a great deal but not in the knowledge that you provide.
    I have studied Hebrew but desire to be able to understand from a Jewish perspective.
    You discuss many issues that trouble me. We all share the same problems that weigh us down especially if we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves.
    I am waiting for Buried Treasure. I truly appreciate your program.
    Ann Till

    1. If you continue in the Pentecostal church and keep Sunday as your rest day instead of the day commanded by God in the Bible the probability is you have put a blindfold on yourself in seeing biblical wisdom. The law of God is the beginning of wisdom and the law says the 7th day not Sunday.

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