Hidden Meanings within Numerical Value of Hebrew Words


(In The Beginning)
Bereishit 1:1 Bereishit bara Elokim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz.
In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth.

Why does the Torah begin with the letter (bet), the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and not with the (alef)? Because the alef was granted a far nobler and important task. It would begin the Ten Commandments as the opening letter of the word (anochi) - I am Hashem, your G-d.

The value of the letter bet is 2. Creation is secondary to the giving of the Torah. If ever there were to be a moment that Torah was not studied on the earth, G-d would turn the universe back again into tohu va-vohu, the primordial chaos, or void, that preceded the creation of the world.

Et HaOr

(The Light)
Bereishit 1:4 Va-yar Elokim et ha-or ki tov.
G-d saw the light, that it was good.

What was the original light of Day One in the week of Creation? According to the Scriptures it couldn't have been light from the sun since the sun was not created until the Fourth Day. According to our Sages it was a light of far greater intensity, a light, set aside for Messianic fulfillment.

The essence of this light is shown in its numerical definition:

(alef) = 1   (tav) = 400   (heh) = 5   (alef) = 1   (vav) = 6   (resh) = 200

   Total: 613

Light helps us to see with our eyes, but the light of the 613 mitzvot, the Torah, gives us insight.

Tehillim 119:105 Your word (Torah) is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.

Mishle 6:23 For the mitzvot is a lamp, and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.


The first soul created by G-d and placed into Adam was meant to appear on this earth three different times, transmigrated into three personalities.

The three letters of (ADaM), (alef), (dalet), and (mem), tell us under what names this soul would appear in the course of history. The (alef) is Adam himself. The Midrash states that he was destined to live one thousand years, but willingly gave 70 years of his lifespan to King David. In Hebrew (dalet) is the second letter of Adam's name and the first of David's name (). The first soul, which might have been perfect but sinned, and which was subsequently perfected through the sweet singer of Yisrael, King David, would prove worthy to return one last time as the final redeemer. (mem) stands for (Mashiach) "Messiah," descendant of David, who will bring the world to universal recognition of G-d and be instrumental in achieving everlasting peace.

When G-d completed creation, the Torah teaches us:

Bereishit 1:31 Va-yar Elokim et kol asher asah ve-hineh tov me'od
And G-d saw everything that He had made and behold it was very good.

How is it possible that this world, filled as we know it to be with imperfections, could be declared by the Almighty to be perfect? Is human existence as we know it in fact tov me'od (very good)?

The answer, of course, is that is it not good from our perspective if we view history progressively, from Adam through David to the Mashiach. But if we were only afforded the vision of hindsight, the retroactive perspective given to Moshe when he asked to behold the glory of G-d - "and you shall see My back and My face you shall not see" - we would finally grasp that everything that appeared evil when it occurred was part of a far grander and nobler picture.

In Hebrew, "very," is made of the same letters ( mem, alef, dalet) as (ADaM), with the (mem) moved from last to first. Indeed, if we could view events beginning with the of (the "m" of the Mashiach) and then revert all the way back to Adam through David, we would know that whatever transpired throughout the ages was as G-d proclaimed it to be, (tov me'od), surpassingly good.

What is the plural for ADaM?

The word does not exist in Hebrew. It is to make us aware of the fact that humanity began with but one person. That is why Jewish law warned witnesses in capital crimes to be extremely careful with their testimony, for "one who destroys even one person is as if he destroys an entire world; and one who saves but one person is as if he preserves an entire world."

When we forget the singularity of every human being, that each person is irreplaceable, we take the first step of turning people into numbers, souls into ciphers. Six million victims of the Shoah (Holocaust) are incomprehensible, beyond human imagination. The very immensity of the number diminishes our sensitivity to the tragedy of every single soul. Anne Frank, as one counted teenager with whom we can empathize, makes the crime of the Nazis real and allows the horror to be grasped.

(ADaM): every person is one, singular, unique, and can never be replicated.


  • The Secret of Hebrew Words, Benjamin Blech

Bereishit bara Elokim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz.
In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth.

That duality is mirrored in the creation of man. The earthly portion is the dust from the ground, formed into our material body. Corresponding to the heavens is the breath of G-d, which infused us with His spirit and allowed us to be created "in His image."

The gematria of NeShaMaH, the Hebrew word for "soul," is 395:

(nun) = 50 (shin) = 300 (mem) = 40 (heh) = 5

The numerical value of "soul" is identical to the gematria of (ha-shamayim) "heaven":

(heh) = 5 (shin) = 300 (mem) = 40 (yod) = 10 (mem) = 40

That is why death does not mean extinction. What came from the dust returns to the dust, "for dust you are and to dust you shall return." The soul however, is identical with heaven. It came from G-d and it returns to spend eternity with its source.

Why must the soul be sent down to earth if, as tradition teaches us,

Siddur (Prayerbook) Elokai neshamah she-natata bi tehorah hi.
My G-d, the soul You placed within me is pure.

What need has it for the long journey of life before it returns to its source?

The answer is contained in the word itself. (NeShaMaH) is (SheMoNaH), the number 8. It is the number that stands for the covenant of circumcision, the partnership of man and G-d. In 7 days G-d created the world and did as much as He would do. Then the Almighty said, "enough" so that humanity could continue the Creation and, through this effort, earn a place in eternity.

That task is best fulfilled by studying G-d's will as transmitted through the Oral Law of the (MiShNaH). Through the MiShNaH, NeShaMaH, soul, succeeds in extending G-d's 7-day creation through SheMoNaH and beyond.

How do we determine the moment of death?

In the days of the Talmud, we were taught that a feather would be placed under the nose of a dying person. When breathing ceased from the nostrils, the soul had evidently departed. Why? Because life leaves as it originally entered:

Bereishit 2:7 Vay-yitzer Hashem Elokim et ha-adam afar min ha-adamah vay-yipach be-apav nishmat chayim va-yehi ha-adam le-nefesh chayah.
Hashem G-d formed then formed man, dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the breath of life. And so man became a living soul.

(NeShiYMaH) means breath. The (NeShaMaH) is the NeShiYMaH of the (yod, the abbreviation of G-d's name, YKVK); in other words, the soul is the breath of G-d.