By Erin Moseley
Director of Arts & Culture and NextGen Engagement
Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island
Writing a story in six words is not a new concept. Ernest Hemmingway is credited (though its validity is questioned) for penning the first “six-word novel.” Regardless of the authenticity of his story, the phenomenon of telling your story in six words is real. Just check out SMITH Magazine’s six-word memoirs page, Say it in Six. And if you still aren’t convinced of the possibility of telling a story in six words, you can purchase one of the nine books SMITH Magazine has published.
So, why six words? Why not seven? Or five? There isn’t really a clear answer to why the number six was chosen. However, here is my attempt to explain, “Why six?” At first glance, six may not jump out at you as being anything special, but after some research, I have compiled a list of why six is pretty cool.
Some facts about the number six:
· Six is the smallest positive integer which is neither a square number nor a prime number.
· Six is the atomic number of carbon. (And, as carbon-based creatures, we all know how important that is!)
· A standard guitar has six strings.
· A touchdown in football earns six points.
· The sixth astrological sign of the zodiac is Virgo.
You can find more interesting six facts here.
See, six has a lot going for it. After starting my research and finding all of the different connections six has, I began to wonder what kind of role six plays in Judaism.
· The sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is vav – ו.
· The first vav of the Torah is found in: Bereshit (Genesis) 1:1 “In the beginning G-d created the heavens and [vav] the earth.”
· Six represents the six orders of the Mishna.
· There are six points on a Star of David (Jewish Star).
· The Torah describes the creation of the universe as a six-part, six day process.
· Shavuot occurs on the sixth day of the month of Sivan.
· The Passover Seder plate has six symbolic items.
· The sixth Commandment is “thou shalt not murder.”
· The Shema is first found in Deuteronomy 6:4 (Shema Yisrael Adonai eloheinu Adonai ehad) and contains six words (in Hebrew).
In the end, I’m not even sure if I truly explained “Why six?”
Nevertheless, our upcoming exhibition “Everyone has a story to tell” (which happens to consist of six words and when typed into a gematria calculator equals 2400, which is divisible by six), the number six plays an important role. Six is your story.
“Everyone has a story to tell” opens on March 13th, 2014 at 7:00pm in gallery(401) housed at the Dwares JCC, 401 Elmgrove Avenue, Providence, RI. For more information, contact Erin Moseley at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit jewishallianceri.org.