The Name of Symmetry and Sequence
In Shmot (Exodus) we finally meet the person who will deliver b'nei
Yisrael from slavery in Mitzraim, MoSHeH RaBeYNU "Moses our
teacher". His gematria of 345+268=613 tells us immediately about
the purpose of his mission of delivery from Mitzraim, i.e. to
bring b'nei Yisrael to Sinai where they shall receive Torah
containing 613 commandments.
The B'NeY YiSRaEL 611 (mispar musaphi) are indeed destined to
receive TORaH_611. While in Egypt, b'nei Yisrael "increased
abundantly" VaYiSHReTZU_612 [2:1:7] as promised in Hashem's
covenant_BRIT_612 with their forefathers.
NOTE: The word VaYiSHReTZU sticks out like an exclamation mark
in as much as it appears in the phrase [2:1:7] U'VeNeY YiSRaEL PRU
VaYiSHReTZU VaYiRBU...(and the children Yisrael were fruitful, swarmed and multiplied...)
The two words surrounding VaYiSHReTZU, PRU - VaYiRBU (be fruitfull and multiply)
clearly harken back to Genesis and the very first mitzvah of Torah. The careful observer
will immediately ask why VaYiSHReTZU was inserted between this
already familiar pairing of fruitful and multiply. The answer can be
found in its gematria ragil of 612 thereby implying that
their abundant growth was a sign of H" covenant_B'RIT_612 with the forefathers.
This notion is furthermore confirmed later on in this parsha [1:2:24] VaYiZKoR ELoKIM
ET BRITO and G_d remembered his brit_covenant.
function is to act as the mediator so as to bring about the
giving and receiving of Hashem's revelation. Without this
intermediary, the b'nei Yisrael would have not been able to
withstand the awesome force of enlightenment. We can readily
bring to mind the force of light. If, for example, we wish to
observe a solar eclipse, we must take greatest care not to look
into the blinding rays of the sun directly. Similarly, b'nei
Yisrael needed a special "filter" that would protect them, a
screen that could REFLECT the powerful light of Hashem to them.
And indeed, letter by letter, MoSHeH ||reflects|| HaSHeM in
It is for this reason that Hashem reveals himself solely to Moshe
in his unique 3 word name EH*H ASHeR EH*H [21+501+21=543].
(Note: the Yod is intentionally omitted) This name occurs in
Torah only this one time at the burning bush scene. We know that
ONLY Moshe was able to tune in and hear Hashem's singular name
by virtue of his special gematria recepticle 345 reflecting 543
in perfect digital symmetry. Moshe is instructed to reduce this
name by 2 words (tell b'nei Yisrael EH*H sent me) [2:3:14] thus limiting
the dangerously dazzling brilliance of 543 - 2 to 541. And
indeed, this is the frequency that YiSRaEL_541 can behold and
understand without being harmed.
Harkening back to the discussion of the power of AYIN_70, 543 is
providing the gap of 70 to be crossed over to reach 613, Hashem's
mitzvot. Yisrael_541 will do so by crossing 70 to reach
Torah_611... and the study of Torah shall lead to the performance
of 613 mitzvot affirming the identity of Yisrael thus creating a
virtual Moebius loop.
As discussed previously, Yaakov crossed the Yabok_112 river and
prior to the crossing, Yaakov becomes Yisrael. It is at this very
moment that b'nei Yisrael are conceived. Immediately following
the crossing over the Yabok, the term b'nei Yisrael is used for
the first time in Torah. Now Moshe gets saved from a premature
end_SOF in the waves of the IOR_211_Nile (river of light) in
order to draw the Children Yisrael out of slavery as he himself
was drawn our ot the Nile by Pharaoh's daughter. The birth of the
Nation occurs as b'nei Yisrael is set free - ready to receive
We notice how the two rivers
Yabok_112 || 211_IOR_Nile
act as numeric "quotation marks" due to their digital symmetry.
What occurs within these two watery membranes is the growth and
development of b'nei Yisrael - from conception to birth - a
process that Kabbalah calls YIBUR_288_gestation/pregnancy. The
two rivers are the metaphor for the womb that protects the
development. Where is this metaphor leading to, we may ask? An
answer may be derived once we put these numbers into their proper
equation. We behold the digital expression of the birth of the
nation of Yisrael:
YaBoK_112 + YIBUR_288 + IOR_211 = TORaH_611
Let us review the associations of 112 and 211:
YaBoK_112 symbolizes the fusion of 26_YH_H + 86_ELoKIM, the two
primary manifestations of The Holy One, blessed be He, HKB"H_112.
The word TZiVaH_commandment and the phrase "I am the Lord" ANI YH_H
each occur in all of Torah exactly 112 time. In Kabbalah, 112 is
associated with the highest form of meditation (Greater Hekhalot)
and finally, as the confirmation of the significance of Yabok_112,
613 is the 112th prime number.
B'NeY YiSRaEL (mispar musaphi) = 611
Interestingly, out of this river Nile_IOR_211 (the river of light)
emerges not only Moshe but also the entire process leading to
Moshe's recognition that Hashem has selected him to undertake the
task of liberating the b'nei Yisrael. The process manifests itself
in a threefold manner:
The river IOR_211 is the source of the mirror_ROI_211 function.
||and (the angel of Hashem) APPEARED
||and he (the angel) SAW (that Moses had turned)
and he (Moshe) SAW
||(Moshe) FEARED (was in awe)
NOTE: IOR_Nile is virtually always preceded by the prefix Hey
which is commonly translated as the definite article. On a
mystical level, the prefix Hey signals (a quasi possessive
case) divine ownership [Hey as abbreviation of Hashem] whereas
the trailing Hey indicates direction and specifically,
direction toward Hashem.
The process begins with (1) the appearance which leads to (2a)
seeing and (2b) being seen and must then result in a utter state of
awe (3). This is why Moshe needs to initially "hide" VaYaSTeR_676
his face. The force of the Tetragrammaton_26 squared [26x26=676] is
too much even for Moshe.
Let us see how exactly Moshe arrived at the holy ground where he saw
the burning bush. The curious use of a word triggers this inquiry.
Moshe is leading the flock of his father-in-law BEHIND_AKHaR_209
hamidbar "behind the desert" [2:3:1]. It almost appears as though Moshe was
wondering around aimlessly. Not so! Going AKHaR_209 actually signals
specific expectancy. In order to understand the meaning of "behind",
we need to recognize the numeric context and, specifically, what
leads up to AKHaR and what follows. The term RaZ_secret_207 implies
via is kolel value 208 a holy secret. Kabbalah frequently refers to
Hashem as EYN SOF (The Infinite One) with a gematria of 207 and
kolel of 209. From that perspective, AKHaR_209 appears to express a
search for EYN SOF, The Eternal One, blessed be S/He. Moshe arrives
at Mount KHoReV_210 and as events unfold, he recognizes that he has,
indeed, come to the right place because Hashem makes his presence
known (add 1) to Moshe at Mount KHoReV 210+1=211.
Moshe had to retrace his path toward his origin, IOR_211, step by
step 207-208-209-210 behind the desert in order to reach KHoReV_211
- now ready to behold the great sight.
After Moshe insists Hashem finally discloses his singular name EH*H
ASHeR EH*H. The scribal tradition writes this name in the Ashurite
Script of the Sefer Torah in an extraordinary fashion. Each of the
two EH*Hs (21) have six rather elongated tagin (crowns) which take
on the appearance of flames that surround ASHeR. It is the
visualization of the b'labat esh "in the heart of the fire" in the
midst of the thornbush. As the two EH*Hs melt together in the
surrounding flames (21x21=) we behold the divine manifestation of
Generally, this name is translated rather superficially as I AM THAT
I AM. As we behold the actual appearance of this word in Torah, the
effect is rather different. We have the fire of the EH*Hs which
encapsulate three atoms, the letters Alef, Shin and Resh. The
implications of this word are truly staggering and cannot be fully
explored within the scope of this text. The end result however is
that the translation of this name should be "I am THAT (and THAT) I
am" bearing in mind the multiplicity of meanings concerning the term
ASHeR_that. Let us examine at least a few pertinent connections.
NOTE: Before we do, it should be pointed out that EHYH is (grammatically
speaking) "to be" in first person singular future. Thus, EHYH should be rendered
"I will be" or "I shall be". It is important to reckognize that Hebrew cannot express
directly "to be" (L'iyot) in the present tense - than than by inference.
A_SH_R could also be read as OSHeR "happiness"
(as in: ashrey yoshvey veitecha). Immediately, the association of
"divine bliss ablaze" arises in connection with this unique name.
And what is the source of this blessing?
According to systems of Kabbalah, we can find this
source via a digital sequencing method:
What numbers are followed (by individual
digits) to the gematria of ASHeR_501? The 5 is followed by a 6,
the 0 by a 1 and the 1 by a 2; hence 501 is digitally connected
to 612. And we already learned the consistent meaning of 612,
it is BRIT_612_covenant.
When we keep in mind the many allusions to divine light within the
scene at the burning bush as well as to the river of light Ha'IOR we
must eventually recognize within the letters of ASHeR a burning
message. The center of ASHeR is the shining SHin which represents
the ESH_fire that came into existence after Hashem had separated the
primordial light into "light and darkness". The outer two letters,
Alef_Resh spell OR_light. The OR_light then is the (previously) undivided
primordial light which precedes ESH_fire. The blessing of Hashem's
unique name is being in the present moment - an experience of
beholding both kinds of light, ESH surrounded by OR. "I am OR_light
and ESH_fire I am". The SHin shines ever so brightly in the burning
bush but Moshe was able to perceive the OR which feeds the ESH
causing the bush to burn unconsumed. Indeed, an extraordinary sight!
NOTE: THis metaphor is already announced in the very first word
of Torah B'RESHIT. The outer letters - two on each side - spell
the word B'RIT_covenant and the inner two letters are the
ESH_fire. Thus we learn at the very beginning that Torah is the
book concerning the covenant fueled by infinite light/fire.
(Just one of many interpretations of the first word of Torah)
One of many other equally revealing views on ASHeR are to read the
letter Alef as ALUF_master and the last two letters as
SaR_ruler/prince. We then hear the divine name resounding with "I am
the master , the ruler I am" or "I am the master over all rulers I
am". The letters in words of the Holy Tongue (Hebrew) are like atoms
which revolve freely and - in the process - create a wide scope of
allusions. If we begin to experiment with these universal building
blocks by interchanging their sequence we will get some truly
remarkable additional connotations of ASHeR. The reader is invited
to expand on this idea.
Beyond these, ASHeR has some remarkable properties on the level of
mispar katan "small values". These allude to a kabbalistic
meditational devise discussed in detail in the ancient Sefer
Yetzirah. In light of these many aspects of ASHeR, the superficial
translation "I am that/whatever I am" actually seems quite
appropriate because it is a myriad of meanings that unfold at closer
inspection and, indeed, He is THAT (whatever we can understand of
it) THAT He is.
NOTE: If you consider the perfect letter value balance of
MoSHeH, 40_300_5, (for example) we may on the surface be
inclinded to regard ASHeR's letter values 1_300_200 as rather
unevenly balanced. The alef_1 appears to be "no match" for the
SHin_300 and ReSH_200. If we take pity on the alef and
"elevate" this letter to its higher relatives, Yod_10 and
Kuf_100, we arrive at two words: YaSHaR
"honest/straight/righteous" and KeSHeR
"connection/union/communication". As we step back, we behold,
ASHeR - YaSHaR - KeSHeR, i.e. "That" is a "straight" "connection"
- or - "Happiness/Blessing" is a "direct/divine" -
The scene at the burning bush concludes with a 7-word sentence of
supreme meaning. [2:3:15]
ZeH SH'MI L'OLaM V'ZeH ZiCHRI L'DoR DoR. "This is My eternal Name
and this is how I am to be remembered for all generations" The
notable absence of the Vav in the words OLaM and DoR DoR (instead of
DoR Va'DoR) points to the structure of this phrase as being
comprised of three words beginning with ZeH followed by the only
occurrence of the Vav, the hook_connector, which is then followed by
four words also beginning with ZeH. There are several indicators
that the first three words are associated with the upper world and
the last four words with the lower (our) world. This grouping is
reflected by the three-pronged and four-pronged SHins which appear
on the head tefillin.
This as well as other letter manipulations may seem far fetched if not
downright outlandish to someone not familiar with the propencity of ancient
Jewish tradition to derive higher meaning out of "letter transmutations" such
NOTE: The gematria of the first three words is 532. We add 1
for each of the 9 letters to signify its presence in the upper
world (the extra Sabbath Soul for each letter) and arrive at
541; i.e. it is a direct communication to Yisrael_541 - the
100th prime number. Conversely, from the gematria 687 of the
four words of the lower world, we subtract 1 for each of the 11
letters (excluding the Vav connector) to arrive at 676. This number, as explained before,
represents the manifestation of this name 26² in the lower
world, the very vision from which Moshe needed to shield/hide
(676) his face.
The entire gematria (regular) of the phrase amounts to 1225. This
number must be viewed in one of two ways. For one, it is a composite
of (5x5) x (7x7) = 25 x 49 = 1225. Here we have the holy seven as
indicated by seven words divided into two segments each beginning
with zayin_7 to suggest the squaring of this value. Seven represents
our universe, the world below. The square Hey forms the appropriate
balance and symbolizes Hashem's world above, or as we observed
earlier, the Hey from whence we come and the Hey of direction to
which our road must eventually lead. We derive a clue as to the
propriety of this mathematical perception due to the two occurrences
of the word ZeH_this which is comprised of zayin_7 and hey_5 and
stand at the head of each segment.
NOTE: For those inclined to view matters from a geometric
perspective, seven represents the fulcrum "0,0,0 coordinate" in
three dimensional space (the lower world) whereas five
represents the fulcrum "0,0 coordinate" in two dimensional
space (the upper world - primordial existence).
On the other hand, the unity of the phrase can be invoked by adding
1 for HKB"H who uttered the phrase. In this case we have 1225+1=1226
and arrive at a number which immediately suggests the principle of
correspondence 1226 = 613 + 613, i.e. 613 will be given and 613 will
be received OR: 613 in the upper world and 613 in the lower world,
as above so below. 1226 plays a prominent correspondence role
Both versions [1226=2x613 and 1225=52x72] express the same idea of
correspondence of above and below each in their own manner. The
theme of correspondence is already announced at the beginning of the
sedra as we read about b'nei Yisrael VaYaATZMU Bi'MeOD MeOD "and
they grew exceedingly mighty...". Their growing might extends
VERY_MeOD throughout the Lower World and indeed, their VERY_MeOD
connection extends into the Upper World. It is at that point when
the Egyptians decide to draw the line and suppress b'nei Yisrael.
Torah continues [2:1:7] Va'TiMaLE HaAReTZ OTaM "... and the land was
filled with them". The gematria (mispar musaphi) is 1226, one more
example as discussed above. It almost seems that the Yisraelites filled
not only the land of Egypt (haze) but already had sufficient numbers to fill
the Promised Land (haba).
By now, this number will readily bring
to mind Hashem's mitzvot 613 to be given and 613 to be received,
above as below. Indeed, this fills the Egyptians with the resolve to
put a stop to this virtual population explosion.
The b'nei Yisrael know subconciously what it is they must accomplish
[2:1:12]: "the more they (the Egyptians) afflicted them..." KeN_70
YiRBeH V CHeN_70 YiFRoTZ "the more they (b'nei Yisrael) multiplied
and spread abroad". In other words, the b'nei Yisrael began to
recognize the mystical gap of 70 to be crossed and in this verse we
literally see them filling in the (KeN_70_so) gap of 70 in the upper
and the lower worlds by virtue of their increasing abundance. The
b'nei Yisrael are not called IVRIT_Hebrew by accident. The term
IVRIT can be interpreted as "those who cross" and also "Ayin_70 of
the B'RIT_covenant". Alas, gaining critical mass was not enough,
they needed Hashem's help.
And The Infinite One - Baruch Hu, chooses none other than Moshe
Rabeinu to overcome the resolve of Pharaoh. Thus, the b'nei Yisrael
could act as IVRIT.
The sidra YiTRO contains a puzzling word [2:19:17] B'TaKHTYT
which is used to describe the location where b'nei Yisrael stand
in relation to Mount Sinai as "the fireworks" are about to begin.
VaYiTYaTZVU B'TaKHTYT HaHaR is generally translated as "they took
their place at the foot of the mountain" (JPS), "they stood
transfixed at the foot of the mountain" (Kaplan) or "and they
stood at the nether part of the mount" (Hertz). B'takhtyt relates
to underneath_takhat. Thus according to a midrash, a picture is
conjured up where Hashem uproots the mount and then - suspending
it directly above the heads of b'nei Yisrael - asks them if they
are willing to accept the mitzvot.
B'takhtyt occurs in this form nowhere else in Torah. Why was this
very unusually word chosen in this context? Its gematria (mispar
musaphi 1220+6) of 1226 draws attention to a subject that we just
discussed. The number 1226 [= 613 + 613] is repeatedly used to
invoke to the law of correspondence - as above so below.
We can thus appreciate why b'nei Yisrael practically HAD to
position themselves b'tokhtyt hahar immediately before the giving
of 613 mitzvot. The word b'tokhtyt tells not so much of a
physical location but rather of a special spiritually receptive
mode - ready to receive all 613 mitzvot that were about to be
given. Beyond that 1226 tells us that b'nei Yisrael are not
merely receptive but they have actually a strong desire to
receive 613. We can draw this conclusion based on the word
T'SHUKaTeKH_1226 [1:3:16] "and your desire shall be (for your husband)".
This word represents the authentic urge that
Chavah shall have for her husband after the expulsion from Gan
Eden. It is entirely in keeping with the tradition to view the
male-female carnal relationship as a metaphor to describe our
connection to Divine Presence.
Copyright © - C. Moshe Harlan 1996