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1. Counting with the alphabet

When we start to count with the Hebrew alphabet then it is useful to know something about numbers and the alphabet. In principal there are only nine ciphers. All other numbers are shaped out of these nine ciphers.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

The zero has no independent function. Zero apples is nothing. So the zero is in principal not a number. With these nine ciphers we will count the letters of the alphabet in the first instance:

This way of counting is called: gematria Katan. So we see that there are 3x9=27 characters in the Hebrew alphabet. The zeros are added to make a difference between the letter values:

Gematria Ragil is most used way of gematria. But it is a bit more complicated, because Hebrew knows five sophit letters. They are used at the end of a word, like we use capitals at the beginning of a sentence. These letters have sometimes an own value, but most of the time not.

These five sophit letters can be found on the end of the alphabet:

The sophit letters become placed with the letters from which they are derived and have in the most common used gematria the same number value. About these sophit letters I will write in the next chapter. Finally the Hebrew alphabet looks thus like this: the 27 letters have now 22 number values.

Now we know how the number value of the alphabet is build up, we can approach the bible text with this knowledge. We start at the beginning: Gen.1:1. Apart from that, the writing direction in Hebrew is from right to left:

Gematria Ragil Gen.1:1
the earth and* the heaven * God created In the beginning
           

 

     
90-200-1-5 400-1-6 40-10-40-300-5 400-1 40-10-5-30-1 1-200-2 400-10-300-1-200-2
296 407 395 401 86 203 913
2701

The word God in Hebrew is: Elohim==40+10+5+30+1=86. This is so with gematria Ragil, that always is used unless otherwise is mentioned.

God=86

God is the starting point of the Creation. Fist the nine ciphers become created. With the created ciphers God tells how it is going with the Creation. Therefore we approach the openings verse of the bible with the gematria method Katan, the simple method with the nine ciphers 1 till 9:

Gematria Katan Gen.1:1
the earth and* the heaven * God created In the beginning
           

      
9 - 2 - 1 - 5 4 - 1 - 6 6 - 1 - 4 - 3 - 5 4 - 1 6 - 1 -  5  - 3 - 1 1 - 2 - 2 4 - 1 - 3 - 1 - 2 - 2
17 11 19 5 16 5 13
17+11+19+5+16+5+13=86

The nine created numbers tell us that God the starting point of the Creation is. The sum of the seven words of Gen.1:1 is: 17+11+19+5+16+5+13=86. Out of 86, out of God originates everything, or saying it in a different way: in the beginning God. With the normal gematria, gematria Ragil, the alphabet with 22 letters, is the number value of word 1 and word 3 of Gen.1:1 together:

In the beginning God=   =(40+10+5+30+1)+(400+10+300+1+200+2)=86+913=999.

These three nines express the starting point of the Hebrew alphabet, with which the 'Word' is formed. John1:1 tells us: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God (divine). 999 in factors is 27x37. The 27 (or 3x9) stands for the 27 units (letters) that the Hebrew alphabet counts. The Hebrew word means unit or unity and has the number value 37:

unit= =5+4+10+8+10=37

Twenty seven units form the starting point of the alphabet. The sophit letters are taken out of the alphabet and replaced and joined together with the alphabet of 22 letters. The word ‘together’ is in Hebrew: (Deut.33:5)

Together== 4+8+10=22

Both words and are derived from the root word echad, , one.

One== 4+8+1=13

In the world of numbers is the 13th prime 37 and the 13th composite 22. This indicates that numbers and langue are highly integrated in each other.

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The Hebrew alphabet and the bible are determining how our society developed itself. Our written langue and our norms and values like we know them, wouldn't be there if we hadn't the bible. The first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet are: aleph and beth. The sound of those two letters tells us that our alphabet originates here. The Greek have adopted this alphabet around 1200 BC and made alpha and beta out of it. The junction of the first two letters, , ab, means 'father'. The Hebrew alphabet is like a father of our alphabet. I think that it is important to get more insight in the origin of our langue and culture. Many people say 'I judge for my self what good is or wrong', but don't realize how deeply our culture and norms are involved in the bible and the Jewish culture. And the man made judgments fail most of the time. The destruction of the Jews has a lot to do with the destruction of the roots of our culture and probably a jalousie towards that what is greater then ourselves. And if you ask me 'do you believe in God' then I answer: 'tell me who or what God is, then I will tell you if I believe in it'. The concept 'God' is far to big for us people to understand. We just make 'images' of God and that is what God asks us, by means of the bible, not to do. We can't limit God.

A Hebrew alphabet table can be found under this link: The Hebrew alphabet

 

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© Frank Colijn 2005
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