Twenty-Six

Ever hear of gematria? Gematria is a method of assigning numerical value to a Hebrew name, word, or phrase based on its letters. The way it works: each letter in the Hebrew alphabet is assigned a number, as follows:

  • aleph = 1
  • bet = 2
  • gimel = 3

And so on. Once you reach 9, then it jumps by tens:

  • yud = 10
  • kaf = 20
  • lamed = 30

And so on. Again, when you reach 90, you then jump by 100’s. The 22 Hebrew letters, plus five variants, gives you every number from 1 to 900. So, in order to find the numerical value of a word, you just add up all the values of the word’s letter. We already saw that on Day 18, when I mentioned that 18 can symbolize the Hebrew word for life, chai. The reason for that is that chai is made of the letters het (8) and yud (10). Thus chai is 8 + 10 = 18. The Jewish mystical art of Kabbalah is based in part on this sort of thing, and there have long been attempts to find deep, encoded meaning in the Hebrew Bible, based on the numerology of gematria.

One example: Genesis 14:14: “When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.” Why 318? Well, perhaps it’s because 318 is the number of the Hebrew name Eliezer, who is Abram’s servant. It may mean that Abram only took Elizer with him. Alternately, 318 is also the numerical value of the word siach, which means “speaking” or “conversing,” and so perhaps it was through the power of speech that Abram won the battle. 

Another key example is Revelation 13:18, wherein the number of the beast is revealed to be 666. Well the Hebrew name for the emperor at the time, Neron Qesar, has a numerical value of 666, so the number may not refer directly to “Satan” or the devil” as many people have suggested, but rather to Emperor Nero.

Anyway, I still haven’t mentioned today’s number. It’s the number 26, and it’s a very, very holy number in gematria, because it’s the numerical value of the Hebrew word YHWH, which is the unpronounceable name of God. Oddly enough, you can find this in English as well. If you assign A = 1, B = 2, C =3, and so on up to Z = 26, you find that the word GOD = 7 + 15 + 4 = 26. Fascinating to me that in both Hebrew and English, the same number represents God. What does this mean? Probably nothing. But it’s pretty cool. Next time you see the number 26, say a little prayer.

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