Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Ramblings on 5768

Another reflection on the current Jewish year, 5768:

What is the luckiest number in Judaism?

OK, there's no such thing as luck. But what's the most meaningful number you can think of?

For example, let's say you make a donation to Chabad of Westboro (click here, by the way, so this doesn't have to be theoretical :-) or to any Jewish charity of your choice.

Which sum would you choose to donate?

Could it be that you'd donate in units or multiples of 18?

Why? Because the number 18 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word Chai (Chet=8, Yud=10). And Chai means life, right?

Wrong. Chai actually is an adjective which means "alive."

"Life" as a noun would be "Chayim."

The numerical equivalent of "Chayim" is 68, the last two digits of this year.

So one could make the case that 68 is more "alive" than 18. 18 is merely a description of life, whereas 68 is life itself!

(Time to start increasing your tzedaka from 18 to 68 :-)

Anyhow, now that we've established that 68 is an important number, let's consider the number 57, the first two digits of this year.

Fifty-seven is the numerical equivalent of "Zan," which means "sustains," or "the one who sustains" (zayin=7, nun=50). 57+68, then, could mean "the One Who sustains life."

Or perhaps, we can use Gematriya (Hebrew numerology) a bit more liberally, and say that 68 is the English word, "now" (nun=50, aleph=1, vav=6).

In this sense, 57 and 68 means: "Life Now," i.e. now is the time for life, lliving life the way life ought to be. Living life to its fullest, by filling it with Torah and Mitzvot.

But in truth, life for a Jew can't be lived to the fullest until Moshiach comes and rebuilds the Bais Hamikdash. At that time, life will truly be meaningful, as we will live in a more real, G-dly reality. Indeed, at that time, human life will once more be eternal, as it was intended to be prior to Adam's sin. In Kabbalah, only immortal life is true life. (This is why, even nowadays, life is only truly meaningful when imbued with Torah and Mitzvot, which are eternal.) Likewise, although life is the synthesis of body and soul, it is the soul which makes the body live, and not vice-versa. For the soul is eternal whilst the body is not. When Mashiach will come, however, a deeper perception of reality will become evident. It is the raw physical existence of the human body, the nethermost end product of creation, that expresses the essence of G-d. Hence, the body will become eternal as well. In fact, there will be a great paradigm shift in the symbiotic relationship of body and soul. At that time, the body will sustain ("Zan") the soul, and not vice-versa, as it is today.

Anyway, sorry for digressing. Back to the point --

So 5768, "Life Now," really means:

"Moshiach Now!"

May it be this year! Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think, Friends of Efrat is the best Jewish charity around. It simultaneously achieves major religious and political aims. I found it here and donated that same day which is sort of unusual for me.