Parhsat Vayeitzei: The Place

In this article, we will take a look at a number of mathematical findings related to the three instances of “in the place” במקום that appear at the beginning of our parshah.

Previously, we saw that the verse in which the third instance appears: “Indeed, there is God in this place and I did not know,”1 the first part “Indeed there is God in this place” אכן יש י־הוה במקום הזה equals 612, and the second part “and I did not know” ואנכי לא ידעתי equals 612 as well. 612 is the numerical value of “covenant,” ברית , and when doubled is the product of “loving-kindness,” חסד (72), times “good,” טוב (17), alluding to the verse: “Only goodness and loving-kindness will find me all the days of my life.”2

We also saw that the value of the first instance “He arrived in the place” ויפגע במקום (357) is equal to the product of God’s Name “I will be,” אהיה (21), and “good,” טוב (17, which is also the value of the holy Name, אהוה , associated in particular with the Ba’al Shem Tov).

The second instance is in the words: “He slept in that place” וישכב במקום ההוא whosegematria is 543, the value of the full Name “I will be who I will be” אהיה אשר אהיה .

Adding the gematrias of all three instances together we get:

ויפגע במקום וישכב במקום ההוא אכן יש י־הוה במקום הזה = 1512 = חסד · אהיה

Or, “loving-kindness” times “I will be.”

The numerical value of just the first two instances, which appear in the beginning and end of the same verse, together ויפגע במקום… וישכב במקום ההוא = 900 = 302. 30 is the value of the letter ל (lamed), so 302 is like ל · ל , or לב the secret embodied in the Mystical (Jewish) Heart.3

As we saw, the gematrias of the relational pronouns “that” ההוא and “this” הזה are both 17, or “good,” טוב .

When Does “One” Times “One” Equal 169?

Now let us focus on the word immediately before each instance of “in the place.” In the first instance, it is “arrived,” ויפגע , “He arrived in the place.” In the second instance it is “He lay down,” וישכב , “He lay down in the place.” In the third, it is God’s essential Name,Havayah, י ־הוה , “There is God in this place….”

  • ויפגע (169) = 132 = אחד · אחד , “one” times “one”
  • וישכב (338) = 2 · 132 = 2 · אחד · אחד , 2 times “one” times “one” (or Havayah times “one”)
  • י־הוה (26) = 2 · אחד = 2 times “one”

A Place with Two Tents

Throughout the entire Bible, the word “in the place,” במקום , appears exactly חסד (72, “loving-kindness”) times. Half of these, or 36, appear in the Pentateuch and the other half, another 36 appear in the Books of the Prophets and the Writings. Since 36 is the gematriaof the word “tent” אהל , this alludes to the two tents in which Jacob dwelt: “And Jacob was an earnest man, dwelling in tents.” Even more beautifully, the value of במקום , “in the place,” is exactly equal to the value of “And Jacob” ויעקב . Two times במקום (188, referring to two tents) equals “Esau,” עשו (376), and also equals “peace,” שלום .

These two tents were the academies of Jacob's two teachers: Shem and Ever (Shem’s great-grandson4). In Chassidic teachings, it is explained that the subject of study in each academy was different. In Shem’s academy, the study of God and the seven Noachide commandments was approached from an intellectual point of view, while in Ever’s academy the studies focused on the emotional aspect of worshipping God and performing the commandments.

Intellectual study utilizes language as it manifests in the mind. The most distinctive characteristic of the mind is that its processes are hidden from others. Therefore, this type of language is known as light that shines to itself. The energy in it is focused inwards and is not meant to be revealed. The distinctive aspect of the emotions, or the heart, is that they utilize spoken language, whose purpose is to be heard, that is, revealed to others. Therefore, spoken language and emotional expression is referred to as light that shines to others. The key point to note here is that whereas intellectual development requires quiet, uninterrupted contemplation, emotional development requires interaction with others; a person cannot sit alone in a room and hope to develop feelings of love, or compassion, etc.

In Hebrew, the acronyms for both these types of energy, “light that shines to itself“ and “light that shines to others,“ spell the word “tent” אהל .5 This is a beautiful allusion to the two “tents” of Shem and Ever. Returning to the occurrences of במקום in the Bible, the 36 times in the Pentateuch correspond to the “tent,” אהל (36), of Shem. It is known that all of the words in the Pentateuch are Names or connotations of God. Shem literally means “name.” Moshe’s name in Hebrew, משה , permutes to spell השם , a derivative of Shem. The 36 times thatבמקום appears in the books of the Prophets and the Writings correspond to the “tent,” אהל(36), of Ever, where Ever literally means “crossing over.” To apply the intellectual teachings of the Torah in action, is the task of the heart, which has to overcome, that is cross the symbolic straights of the neck that separate the head from the heart. The backside of the neck symbolizes the obstinacy that a person has to changing his set ways and applying the products of the mind to his (or her) behavior.

Specifically in the Book of Genesis, we find the word במקום 6 times. 36 equals 62, thus these first six instances of this word, which again literally means “in the place” allude to the six extremes of space (up, down, left, right, front, and back) to which the sefirot form loving-kindness to foundation correspond.

Now, since we mentioned above that the value of במקום is half the value of “Esau” עשו , whose name equals “peace,” שלום , it follows that 72 times the value of במקום equals 36 times the value of “peace,” שלום . In Sefer Yetzirah it is written that the gift of peace (the opposite of war) corresponds to the sefirah of foundation based on the idiom “a covenant of peace,” ברית שלום . The tzadik symbolizes the sefirah of foundation: “a tzadik the foundation of the world.”6 In every generation there are 36 tzadikim who merit to see the light of the Divine Presence, the Shechinah, every day. The word “covenant,” ברית (of peace), is equal to 3 times the value of “tzadik,” צדיק , and to 36 times the value of “good,”טוב (17).

A Place of Joy

The filling of the word “place” (במקום minus the prepositional ב , which means “in”), מקום , isמם קוף וו מם = 358, the gematria of משיח , “Mashiach.” Since the filling of the prepositionalב “in” is בית , which means “house,” we see that the filling of the entire word “in the place”במקום is equal to and hints at בית משיח , literally “the house of Mashiach,” a well known idiom because its gematria is 770, as was made popular in our generation.

We mentioned before that the six instances of this word in Genesis correspond to the six directions of space. Jacob is the archetypal soul of the sefirah of beauty from which these six directions extend. 770 is also the value of “extend outwards,” פרצת , the blessing which Jacob received from God while sleeping “in the place”:

And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall extend outwards, westward and eastward and northward and southward; and through you shall all the families of the earth be blessed, and through your seed.7

The great numbers of Jacob’s progeny are referred to as דור ישרים , a “generation of straight [individuals],” an idiom whose numerical value is also 770! How does this idiom relate to Jacob? In the Mishnah we find the following adage: “Which is the straight path that a person should choose for himself [לו , in Hebrew; לו = 36, as above]? A path that is beautiful to himself and is beautiful to others.”8 Thus a straight path is the beautiful path for a human being to follow.

The essence of this entire teaching is the verse: “And to the straight of heart, joy!” The sages say that joy can break down barriers שמחה פורצת גדר and the adjective they use for “breaks down” is the same word that we have translated above as “extends outward,” פרצת , which equals 770. Joy is the product of a straight heart, one that extends outward to bring blessing and goodness to all those around it. God blessed Jacob with the blessing of extending outward because of his straight heart. Indeed, the value of the first few words of this blessing, “Your seed shall be as the dust of the earth and you shall extend outwards…,” והיה זרעך כעפר הארץ ופרצת , is equal to 5 times the value of “joy,” שמחה .9 This means that the average value of each of these five words is “joy”!

Based on the Daily Dvar Torah from Tuesday, 3 Kislev 5768 – November 13, 2007

1. Genesis 28:

2. Psalms

3. The Mystical Heart is the name of one of our pieces of jewelry designed on the basis of Rabbi Avraham Abulafia’s teachings. Click here for more.

4. Shem literally means “name,” in Hebrew and alludes to God’s Name, which between all of Noach’s progeny was carried on by Shem and his offspring. Shem gave birth to 26 nations that are enumerated in the Torah (Genesis 10), 26 of course being the numerical value of God’s essential Name, Havayah. Ever was the son of Shelach, who was the son of Arpachshad, the son of Shem. But, even though Ever was his great-grandson, Shem had a special affinity to Ever that is exhibited in the verse: “Shem also had progeny, [he was] the father of all the nations of Ever…” (Genesis 10:21). The word Hebrew comes from the name Ever, which in Hebrew is written עבר (“a Hebrew” is an עברי , pronounced “ivri”). The special bond between Shem and Ever led to Shem transmitting to Ever all of the teachings he had received from his father Noach, who had received them from Metushelach, who had received them from Adam. Finally, Jacob studied in both Shem and Ever’s academies and continued to transmit the teachings of God to Adam and Noach—teachings that together with the patriarchs' own insights formed the basis of the Hebrew tradition—until the revelation of the Torah at Mt. Sinai.

5. “Light that shines to itself“ is אור המאיר לעצמו , the initials spell: אהל . “Light that shines to others“ is אור המאיר לאחרים , and the initials spell אהל .


7. Genesis 28:14.

8Avot 2:1. Usually this adage is translated along the lines of: “Which is the right path that a man should choose for himself? The one that is honorable to himself and brings him honor from others.” We chose “beautiful” instead of “honorable” because the Hebrew word isתפארת , the name of the sefirah of beauty, thus stressing the connection between Jacob and the straight path, the generation of straight individuals.

9. 5 times the value of any word possessing four letters is that word written “front and back.” For example “joy,” שמחה , written front and back is: שמחה מחה חה ה ש שמ שמח שמחה .

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