Gematria

posted in: AskRabbiMax | 0

Question:

Dear Rabbi,
I understand that there is a deeper meaning to numbers other than just a literal numeric value – is there a “quick reference chart” listing numbers and their meanings? something that would be a good jumping off point to understanding God’s choice of certain numerical references in Torah?

Thank you for your response,

Ivon

Answer:

Dear Ivon,
The field of numeric significance is a part of Kabbalah known as Gematria. As with all of Torah study and especially the mystical, there are many facets to the significance of any detail. Therefore there is no reference chart available for what the numbers signify, nor do I believe, can there be.
Numbers can’t be pinned down to any one particular meaning. For instance the number three is emphasized in the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But each of these three people represented a charachter trait, kindness, justice, and truth. So when you see the number three somewhere else, it might be making a connection to the forefathers, or it might be making a connection to the three character traits they represent, or both. You have to be sensitive and knowledgeable to determine the primary significance in any given place in the Torah literature. This being said, you can begin to understand this study by making your own chart of what each number represents and how that impacts the next time you see the number. This will give you a deeper insight into the world of Gematria.

All the best,

Rabbi Max

p.s. a good place to start is the song “Who knows one?” in the back of most Passover Haggadah booklets.