Gematria Interpreting Tanakh by Its Letters ספריא

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    Whereas numerology is the study of numbers as they are to decipher their symbolic meaning. This value is based on the letters of the alphabet, with each letter having a corresponding number. The calculator can be used to find the numerical value of a word or phrase, which can then be used to interpret its meaning. This 1 – 900 series, plus the subdivision of the 27-letter series into three enneads of nine sequential letters, is the same as the Greek alphabet. Even the position of a Hebrew letter in the alphabet can be significant. The gematric nomination for 18 is chet plus yud, which spells chai, or ‘life’. Going one step further, some kabbalists find meaning in the name of the letters themselves. It echoes the similar word, tzadik, righteous person; and the name of the tzadik Isaac appears 104 times in the Tanach. It is not a numbers game; it designates properties, forces and degrees that the soul goes through. In the standard version of gematria, each letter is given a numerical value between 1 and 400, as shown in the following table. In the Mispar gadol variation, the five final letters are given their own values, ranging from 500 to 900. It is possible that this well-known cipher was used to conceal other more hidden ciphers in Jewish texts. For instance, a scribe may discuss a sum using the ‘standard gematria’ cipher, but may intend the sum to be checked with a different secret cipher. A sample of graffiti at Pompeii reads “I love the girl whose name is phi mu epsilon “. According to Proclus, Theodorus learned these methods from the writings of Numenius of Apamea and Amelius. Proclus rejects these methods by appealing to the arguments against them put forth by the Neoplatonic philosopher Iamblichus. The first argument was that some letters have the same numerical value but opposite meaning. His second argument was that the form of letters changes over the years, and so their graphical qualities cannot hold any deeper meaning.

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