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Gematria Shorts for Re’eh 5782

In Parashat Re’eh God warns us (Deuteronomy 12:30), “Beware of being lured into their ways [of the people inhabiting the land]” (הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן תִּנָּקֵשׁ אַחֲרֵיהֶם), whose value is 1839, which is also the value of “Torah, Prayer, Teshuvah” (תּוֹרָה תְּפֵלָה תְּשׁוּבָה). This equality reveals that the antidote to being lured into following the ways of the nations around is found in these three pillars of our faith. Many times, we find that when two opposite concepts have the same gematria because one can overcome the other. The best-known example of this phenomenon is that “Mashiach” (מָשִׁיחַ) and “snake” (נָחָשׁ) both equal 358, revealing that it is Mashiach who will bring about the ultimate rectification of the primordial snake from the Garden of Eden. 1839 is also 3 times 613, the number of mitzvot in the Torah. It is also the value of the verse (Psalms 119:18), “Open my eyes so that I may see the wonders of Your Torah” (גַּל עֵינַי וְאַבִּיטָה נִפְלָאוֹת מִתּוֹרָתֶךָ).

 The sixth aliyah (public reading) of parashat Re’eh is dedicated to various aspects of tzedakah. In it (ch. 15, verses 4-11), we find the highest concentration of the word for “needy” (אֶבְיוֹן)—a connotation for a person who has even less than one who is described as “poor” (עָנִי). The word “needy” appears 6 times in the 6th aliyah (and only 2 more times in the rest of the Torah). The six appearances, in the original Hebrew are: אֶבְיוֹן אֶבְיוֹן הָאֶבְיוֹן הָאֶבְיוֹן אֶבְיוֹן וּלְאֶבְיֹנְךָ. There sum is 474, the value of “knowledge” (דָּעַת), following the sages’ statement that the definition of a poor person is one who lacks knowledge (see Nedarim 41a and Ketubot 68a).

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