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1.7  Numeric Values

Hebrew Consonants -

Numeric Values for Hebrew Letters

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Hebrew letters are sometimes used to express numbers. For example, Aleph stands for 1, Bet for 2, and so on. The following table lists numeric values for letters:

Alphabet Table with Numerics


Gereshim Numerical Examples

To avoid confusion with words, letters meant as numbers are sometimes marked with geresh (single quote mark) if a single letter is used, or gerashayim (double quote mark) if more than one. These marks mean "not a word" and are also used for acronyms and abbreviations:

Gerashayim are normally placed before the last letter in the string.

The numbers 15 and 16 are not written as you might expect (i.e., as Yod + Hey and Yod + Vav, but rather as Tet + Vav and Tet + Zayin) in order to avoid irreverently writing the sacred Name of God.

Sacred Name

Taryag Mitzvot
According to the Talmud, 613 commandments (mitzvot) are given for the observant Jew to obey. 248 of these are positive commands and 365 are negative ones. The positive mitzvot are said to equal the number of parts of the body; the negative mitzvot correspond to the number of days in the solar year.

Tary''g Mitzvot

The number 613 is sometimes referred to as "taryag," and the complete set of commandments is referred to as "taryag mitzvot," or the 613 commandments.

The Hebrew Year
The Hebrew year begins on Rosh HaShanah (which occurs on the Gregorian calendar in September / October). When a Hebrew year is written using letters, you simply add the values of the letters. Often the year is written with an implied addition of 5,000. So, for example, the year 5763 is written as 763 rather than 5763. Sometimes a prefix with a geresh is used (Hey-geresh) and then the number to indicate an implied 5000 for the date:

Hebrew Date

The year number on the Jewish calendar represents the number of years since creation, calculated by adding up the ages of people in the Tanakh back to the time of creation. To calculate the Jewish Year from our Gregorian calendar, you subtract 1,240 and then add 5,000. For example, if the year is 2005, subtract 1,240 to get 765. Then add 5,000 to obtain the Jewish year of 5765. Note that this works only up to Rosh HaShanah of the current Gregoraian calendar: after Rosh HaShanah, add one more year:

Sofit Letters / Numbers
Although not often used, the Hebrew sofit letters are also assigned numeric values:

Sofit with Geresh

The Keys to the Bible.
Bible Codes. Gematria. Equidistant Letter Sequences.

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Lamed-Vav Tsaddikim
Thirty six hidden saints believed to keep God from destroying the world on account of their virtue and faith. Note the use of the gerashayim in this word:

Lamed-Vav Tsaddikim

Gematria is a method of interpretation that involves calculating numerical values to words and names, and looking for correspondences between words which have the same value. This method is often used in mystical interpretations of the Scripture. Think Bible codes.


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