Significance of numbers in Judaism
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Numbers play an important role in Judaic ritual practices and are believed to be a means for understanding the divine. A Mishnaic textual source, Pirkei Avot 3:23, makes clear that the use of gematria is dated to at least the Tannaic period. This marriage between the symbolic and the physical found its pinnacle in the creation of the Tabernacle. The Hebrew word for symbol is ot, which, in early Judaism, denoted not only a sign, but also a visible religious token of the relation between God and man. It is largely held by Jewish leadership that the numerical dimensions of the temple are a "microcosm of creation ... that God used to create the Olamot-Universes."
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- The gematria of the Hebrew letter ז
- The number 7 is the Divine number of completion
- A covenant promise (in Hebrew, the expression literally translated as "to seven oneself" means "to swear a covenant")
- The general symbol for all association with God; the favorite religious number of Judaism, typifying the covenant of holiness and sanctification, and also all that was holy and sanctifying in purpose
- The Seventh Day, the Sabbath
- One of two numbers that is written differently from the conventions of writing numbers in Hebrew in order to avoid writing the name of God. The other is 16.
- One of two numbers that is written differently from the conventions of writing numbers in Hebrew in order to avoid writing the name of G-d. The other is 15.
- Gematria of "CHAI" חַי, the Hebrew word for life. Multiples of this number are considered good luck and are often used in gift giving.
- Value associated with "Koach" meaning strength, commonly used in the saying "Yasher Koach"
- The Tzadikim Nistarim (Hebrew: צַדִיקִים נִסתָּרים, hidden righteous ones) or Lamed Vav Tzadikim (Hebrew: ל"ו צַדִיקִים, 36 righteous ones), often abbreviated to Lamed Vav(niks)[a], refers to 36 Righteous people, a notion rooted within the more mystical dimensions of Judaism. The singular form is Tzadik Nistar (Hebrew: צַדִיק נִסתָר). The source is the Talmud itself, explained as follows:
As a mystical concept, the number 36 is even more intriguing. It is said that at all times there are 36 special people in the world, and that were it not for them, all of them, if even one of them was missing, the world would come to an end. The two Hebrew letters for 36 are the lamed, which is 30, and the vav, which is 6. Therefore, these 36 are referred to as the Lamed-Vav Tzadikim. This widely held belief, this most unusual Jewish concept is based on a Talmudic statement to the effect that in every generation 36 righteous "greet the Shechinah," the Divine Presence (Tractate Sanhedrin 97b; Tractate Sukkah 45b).
The Lamed-Vav Tzaddikim are also called the Nistarim ("concealed ones"). In our folk tales, they emerge from their self-imposed concealment and, by the mystic powers which they possess, they succeed in averting the threatened disasters of a people persecuted by the enemies that surround them. They return to their anonymity as soon as their task is accomplished, 'concealing' themselves once again in a Jewish community wherein they are relatively unknown. The lamed-vavniks, scattered as they are throughout the Diaspora, have no acquaintance with one another. On very rare occasions, one of them is 'discovered' by accident, in which case the secret of their identity must not be disclosed. The lamed-vavniks do not themselves know that they are one of the 36. In fact, tradition has it that should a person claim to be one of the 36, that is proof positive that they are certainly not one. Since the 36 are each exemplars of anavah, ("humility"), having such a virtue would preclude against one’s self-proclamation of being among the special righteous. The 36 are simply too humble to believe that they are one of the 36.
- The term lamedvavnik is derived from the Hebrew letters Lamed (L) and Vav (V), whose numerical value adds up to 36. The "nik" at the end is a Russian or Yiddish suffix indicating "a person who..." (As in "Beatnik"; in English, this would be something like calling them "The Thirty-Sixers".) The number 36 is twice 18. In gematria (a form of Jewish numerology), the number 18 stands for "life", because the Hebrew letters that spell chai, meaning "living", add up to 18. Because 36 = 2×18, it represents "two lives".
- Letters in one of God's Divine Names
- The gematria of Adonai
- The gematria of Paz, refined gold
- Gematria of Abraham (אברהם)
- Length of the solar calendar (which has significance in Judaism)
- Total number of years the First Temple stood
- Echad Mi Yodea ("who knows one?"), a Passover song based on the religious meanings of the first thirteen numbers
- Bible code, a purported set of secret messages encoded within the Torah.
- Biblical and Talmudic units of measurement
- Chol HaMoed, the intermediate days during Passover and Sukkot.
- Chronology of the Bible
- Counting of the Omer
- Hebrew calendar
- Hebrew numerals
- Jewish and Israeli holidays 2000–2050
- Jewish symbolism
- Lag BaOmer, 33rd day of counting the Omer.
- Notarikon, a method of deriving a word by using each of its initial letters.
- Sephirot, the 10 attributes/emanations found in Kabbalah.
- Weekly Torah portion, division of the Torah into 54 portions.
- Kaplan 1990: p. 57
- Dosick 1995: p. 155
- Zwerin, Rabbi Raymond A. (September 15, 2002 / 5763). "THE 36 - WHO ARE THEY?". Temple Sinai, Denver: americanet.com. Archived from the original on Jan 18, 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2010. Check date values in:
- "Hebrew Gematria - A Lion's Might". 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- Kaplan, Rabbi Aryeh (1990). Sutton, Abraham, ed. Inner Space. Brooklyn, NY: Moznaim. p. 254. ISBN 0-940118-56-4. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- Ganz, Yaffa (1981). Who Knows One?: A Book of Jewish Numbers. Nanuet, NY: Feldheim Publishers. p. 32. ISBN 0-87306-285-X. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- Samuel, Gabriella (2007). The Kabbalah Handbook: A Concise Encyclopedia of Terms and Concepts in Jewish Mysticism. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher. p. 467. ISBN 1-58542-560-5. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- Dosick, Wayne (1995). Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition, and Practice. New York: HarperCollins. p. 155. ISBN 0-06-062179-6. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- Kaplan, Aryeh (5-1-1997). Sefer Yetzirah. New York: Weiser Books. p. 424. ISBN 0-87728-855-0. Retrieved 2010-09-20. Check date values in:
- Coleman, Wade (2008). Sepher Sapphires, A Treatise On Gematria The Magical Language. Fraternity of the Hidden Light. ISBN 0981897703.