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Hi Rabbi

could you possibly give me some examples of gematria which i could show to a non religious Jewish friend of mine (who is Israeli), to show him that its not just a theory, but real, I dont know any examples. and cant find any on the internet. thank you

Best regards David



Dear David

Gematria is one of the methods by which the Torah is interpreted. Although one should be cautious about practical implications of gematriot, which are of course subject to limitless creativity and imagination, many examples are found in the Talmud and midrash. A very well-known medieval commentary with hundreds, if not thousands, of gematriot is Rabbi Yaakov (ben Asher) Ba'al ha-Turim (14th c Spain). Available in an excellent English edition by Artscroll.

A very famous example is near the end of Tractate Makot: Torah tziva la-nu Mosheh. “Torah” = 611, meaning that Moshe commanded us 611 mitzvot, plus two we heard directly from Hashem = 613 (Taryag). Rashi on Gen. 32:5 says that Yaakov hinted to Eisav that though he sojourned with wicked Laban, he nonetheless kept the 613 mitzvot (“garti”, I lived, = taryag = 613). Avram = 243; by adding the heh to become Avraham (along with the additional mitzvah of milah) = 248 = the number of + commandments in the Torah. Finally, Ruth = 606, because when she converted to become Jewish she picked up that # of additional commandments, since she previously had only 7—the Noachide Laws. 

I hope this is helpful. 

Best wishes

Rabbi rashi simon

Questions & Answers
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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Easy as א-ב-ג?
Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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