On the first day of Creation, God created seven heavens.
The first heaven is visible to man, and its only function is to cover up the light during night time. It disappears every morning (see Pargod, Velon; the Curtain of Heaven).
The second heaven is Raki'a ("Firmament), where the planets are fastened to (see firmament).
The third heaven is Shehakim ("Clouds"), where the manna is made for the pious in the hereafter.
The fourth heaven, Zebul ("Lofty Dwelling"), contains the celestial Jerusalem together with the Temple, in which Michael ministers as high priest and offers the souls of the pious as sacrifices.
The fifth heaven is Ma'on ("Dwelling"), where the angel hosts reside and sing the prise of God. They only sing at night, for by day it is the task of Israel on earth to give glory to God.
The sixth heaven, called Makhon ("Residence"), is where most of the trials and visitations for the earth and its inhabitants are ordained. It is a place where snow and hail, storms, smoke, and noxious dew are stored. The doors between those celestial chambers are made of fire, which are supervised by Metatron.
The seventh heaven, 'Aravot ("Highest Heaven"), contains everything that is good and beautiful: right, justice, and mercy, the souls of the pious, the souls and spirits of unborn generations, the dew with which God will revive the dead on the day of resurrection. It also contains the Throne of God, surrounded by the ministering angels.
Corresponding to the seven heavens, God also created seven earths, q.v. See also the seven heavens in Islam.
- Ginzberg, Louis. 1909. The legends of the Jews. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: The Jewish publication society of America, p. 9.
- Singer, Isidore; Adler, Cyrus; et al. 1901-1906. Jewish Encyclopedia. 12 Vols. New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 4:517.