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Rabbi's Reflections

Rabbi's Reflections - Signifance of Numbers

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We are in the counting season.  By the time you are reading this (hopefully on May 1), it will already be day #24:  three weeks and three day of the counting of the Omer.  In the Jewish tradition, we count the days from the 2nd day of Passover until we reach Shavuot on the 50th day.  The Omer was the wheat portion which was measured as it grew before the springtime harvest which occurred just prior to the holiday.



We are known as the ‘People of the Book’.  I believe the title of that Book which most clearly defines us is the ‘Book of Numbers.”  7th day is Shabbat, 7th year is the Sabbatical, 40 days of rain, 40 days Moses spent transcribing the 613 commandments (I bet he would have killed for an iPad.  It certainly would have made the trip down Sinai a lot easier), 400 years in Egypt (I know—It says 430 years also).  Certain numbers appear to be more important than others.  It does appear that way when they are repeated so often.



In fact, there is the whole tradition of gematria.  Each Hebrew letter is assigned a numerical value” aleph-1, bet-2, etc.  Hence, the reason the increments of 18 are special because they reflect the value for the word life in Hebrew (Chet-8, Yud-10).  Words which have the value of 26 are also significant because they reflect the Hebrew letters for God in the Torah (yud-10, hay-5, vav-6, hay-5).



I have heard it said that life is just a numbers game.  Well, guess what, that is just fine with me.