Sunday, October 26, 2008


Yes, my friends - you read right. There are indeed two Gematriot to the word Gematriot - 669 & 679. And they are both - RIGHT!

(To have a better appreciation of this - please read my first/previous post)

You see, unlike most words in Hebrew, Gematriot can be spelled in two ways: Gimel-3 (Yud-10) Mem-40 Teit-9 Reish-200 Yud-10 Alef-1 Vav-6 Tav-400. The first Yud in parenthesis is the difference between the two spellings - Gematriot equals 669 without the Yud, 679 with the Yud.

As mentioned in my first post, at the end of some Chumashim - there is listed the amount of letters, words, verses, Parshiyot & Parshiyot (for those of you who already read my first post, you know that this is no typo). By each amount, there is a verse quoted from the T'nach (Bible) that is given as a sign to remember the particular number. For the 669 Parshiyot - the verse is "Lo Techsar Kol Bah" "Nothing is lacking in it" in Parshat Ekev (Deutronomy 8:9), the original context refering to ERETZ YISRAEL (LAND OF ISRAEL). The Alef in the word "Lo" and the word "Techsar" equal 669. Interestingly, there is only one other place in T'nach that the phrase "Lo Techsar" is mentioned (Kings I 17:14)- in the story of Eliyahu HaNavi during a famine who promises a woman that her containers of flour and oil "will not be lacking" - and here is the punchline "UNTIL THE DAY THAT HASHEM BRINGS RAIN". Well, as we know, we start saying on the Shmini Atzeres holiday following Sukkot - "Mashiv HaRuach U'Morid HaGeshem" we praise Hashem as being the one who brings down rain. In Israel, we finish reading the Torah on the day that we start praising Hashem for the rain, but outside of Israel, the prayer of rain and finishing the Torah are held on separate days.

Hope you see the connection here - it is ONLY IN ISRAEL where "Lo Techsar - nothing is lacking" WE FINISH READING THE TORAH - which is "Lo Techsar" - nothing is lacking, having all the spiritual nutrients of flour & oil - ON THE DAY THAT WE PRAY FOR RAIN (and Torah is compared to water), unlike outside of Israel where the finishing of the Torah is not done on the day that the prayer for rain is recited!

Now for 679, we are told that this equals the phrase in Parshat Ha'azinu (Deutronomy 32:47) "Ki Lo Davar Reik Hu Mikem" "For there is nothing empty for you" the original context referring to the Torah.

So now, the two phrases hinting to the different Gematriot of the word Gematriot are quite similar - "There is nothing lacking" & "There is nothing empty". Is there a real difference between the two phrases?

Let's start with the second phrase first to get a better understanding. This is the phrase that is equal to the higher number 679 - equalling Gematriot with the Yud in it. As we know, the letter Yud is the smallest letter of the Alef Beis - the Hebrew letters, looking like a mere dot; in a spiritual sense, refering to the simple Yud-Yid, the simple Jew who never had the opportunity of learning the Torah unlike many other fortunate ones. It is the simple Jew who on Simchat Torah can show what being happy with the Torah is really like - because for someone who is learned in Torah, it should be obvious why he is happy. But the fact that a Jew who doesn't know much about its contents is yet happy about it shows the true essence of a Jew and the truth of the Torah which is felt by even the unlearned. In fact, it is this very type of Jew that can influence others to be closer to Yiddishkeit - the beauty of Judaism, in a way that sometimes even a big Torah scholar may not be able to. Very significantly, the Yud is the first letter of Hashem's main name that we are not allowed to pronounce. It is no wonder why if even one letter in the Sefer Torah is missing or defective - the Holy Torah Scroll is invalid to read from, and is considered Kosher once again only once the letter is corrected.

It is worthwhile to note that one of the reasons why so many of today's unlearned Jews have an indifference to Judaism at best is because of the negative protrayal of the Judaism that had been painted for them when they were young. Being in temple only on the High Holidays when everything is serious (the Bar Mitzva in the temple was more of a Bar than a Mitzva), being allowed inside only when presenting their paid ticket, seeing a bunch of old people praying to whom they didn't feel they could connect to; and then the rest of the year hearing their parents talking about their Holocaust days wondering where G-d was even as they escaped from the hellish death camp; thus, all this leaving nothing but bad memories of what they perceive Judaism to be. I know of a rabbi who told the High Holiday crowd attending his synagogue that rather than them coming on these holy days, he would rather see them on Simchat Torah - to see how happy a Jew can really be with his Judaism.

Bottom line - not one letter in the Torah is empty - being without a purpose - every letter - every Jew - has a contribution to make to teach a lesson, to offer something constructive to the table. And even if it seems that a word of the Torah is missing a letter, but this is how Hashem has it spelled in the Torah - as signified in the word Gematriot without the Yud - " it is not lacking" - this too is for a reason, as we see a number of words in the Torah when spelled without certain letters that are normally spelled with - this is to teach a lesson or signify something when we notice something "missing" unlike if it were spelled with the usual full spelling without noticing anything special.

NEXT TIME: What happened in the year 2000?

28 Tishrei, 5769

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