(Thursday, November 30)

Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.’ So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Gen 1:20-23)

Thursday, called The Fifth Day in Hebrew and Greek, (*Yom Hamishi*, *Pempti*), can be seen as a pivotal day in God’s creative work. Here God creates *living* creatures (*hayyah* in Hebrew). And for the first time God speaks directly to His creation, to the newly-created sea creatures and birds, commanding them to “Be fruitful and multiply.” Thus is set into motion the drive among living beings to interact productively, so as to multiply what God had already brought into being.

On Thursdays in our church-tradition we celebrate pivotal figures in Salvation History, the Holy Apostles. They are “pivotal” in the sense that they were to multiply the *new life* inaugurated by the Son of God, which emerged from the Tomb. God sent them forth into the world to be fruitful and to multiply not biological life, but the “life abundantly” that springs from their eyewitness testimony to the Word of God made flesh. This testimony did not ultimately further the biological life of the Apostles, most of whom (except John) died as martyrs. In the era of the “apostolic” Church, procreation ceased to be the main vocation of human beings or the main way of “being fruitful and multiplying.”

So, on Day Five of our week, on Thursdays, we celebrate the spiritual dimension of our capacity to “be fruitful and multiply,” in the fellowship of the Spirit that is the Church apostolic. Note that the number five in Hebrew, written by the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, *Hay* ה)), conveys in its pronunciation and in its shape the spiritual dimension of this world. The letter is pronounced by using only breath, it is only aspirated, without using the lips or mouth, so it connotes the Spirit. The shape of this letter (see above) reveals the five dimensions of this world, because it is composed of the miniscule yod י – which connotes spirituality, because it is the only letter that does not touch the line on which one writes, – inside a *Dalet* ד, a symbol of the four directions. This is why the letter *Hay* and the number it represents, five, are said in Hebrew numerology to be an image of this world revolving around that which is central to our lives, the spiritual realm and the Spirit of God, Who hovers “above the line” (on which one writes) or above the ground on which we walk.
As we move forward through this Nativity Fast, let me let myself “be fruitful and multiply” in my heart and my behavior the grace that is pouring out abundantly on all of us, not only from the Tomb but already from the little cave in Bethlehem. Thank You for another Thursday, another faith-inspiring Fifth Day, when I can set my heart and focus on Your life-affirming Spirit in our midst. By the prayers of Your holy Apostles, Savior, save us!