Message in Numbers
Meaning of the Knots
"You will see the fringes and remember all God's mitzvot
and do them" Numbers
How the technique of remembering the commandements looking ar the
fringes is explained by the Rabbis using the system of gematria.
The word “geometry” came from this word
The most common form of gematria is used in the Talmud and
and elaborately by many post-Talmudic
A classic Biblical commentary incorporating a great deal of
Jacob ben Asher.
In this process every alphabet is associated with a number or
more. This would translate every word into a number. There are
several systems in use. The most common one is
the Mispar Gadol and this is the simplest and direct association.
And here are the codes of Mispar Gadol :
The number usually is defined by the knots seperated by double knot.
This may seem forced. However as a mnemonic it works fine.
The word Tzitzit
is : 400 10 90 10 90 which adds to 600
to this we add the 5 seperating knots and the 8 strings that hand we
you should remember all the commandments of the Lord
Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:40 - Since the numerical value of the
word Tzitzit is 600, and together with the eight stands and five
[double] knots, the total is 613 [the number of commandments in the
Rashi on Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:39
Rashi, a prominent Jewish commentator, bases the number of knots on a
gematria: the word tzitzit (in its Mishnaic spelling) has the
value 600. Each tassel has eight threads (when doubled over) and five
sets of knots, totalling 13. The sum of all numbers is 613,
traditionally the number of mitzvot (commandments) in the Torah. This
reflects the concept that donning a garment with tzitzit
reminds its wearer of all Torah commandments.
Nachmanides disagrees with Rashi, pointing out that the Biblical
spelling of the word tzitzit has only one Yod rather
than two, thus adding up to the total number of 603 rather than 613.
He points out that in the Biblical quote "you shall see it and
remember them", the singular form "it" can refer only to the "p'til" (thread)
of tekhelet, and that the reason for remembering the mitzvot is
the color of the tekhelet, which resembles the ocean, which in
its turn resembles the sky or heaven.
In the same way the unutterable word for God
to 26. In the fringes the first two sets of windings (seven plus
eight) equal fifteen. The third set of windings is eleven. Together
they come to twenty-six representing YHVH
The value of the
word Ekhad, meaning
"one in unity" works out to be 13.
Thus “the Lord is
one” can be spelled out numerically on each Tzitzit with four
sets of windings (7+8+11 and 13), each separated by a double knot, for
a total of 39 windings.
Thus we are reminded of unity of God by looking at these knots
The number value for the Hebrew
letters of the word for fringes
mitzvot). TaRYaG in the
gives the number "613". So it will read 613 Commandments.
What we have presented is the
simplest system. There are many other systems in existence used
widely by the Jewish mystics especially the Cabbalists.
Dozens of other far more
complicated methods are found in Kabbalistic literature.
But it should be remembered that the system itself has no intrinsic
sacredness. It is only a method of coding used in the mnemonic system
of how we can remember. If you know the code, you can know the
meaning. This is why we have several knotting techniques, each sect
using their own coding.
Many researchers connect the "Number
of the Beast", referred to in the
Book of Revelation
with either Greek or Hebrew Gematria as used by the early Christians.
These numerological interpretation are evidently forced and developed
into a somewhat magical charms. It is like using spoken words, bibles
and prayers as charms. Avoiding these pitfalls, these do serve as a
powerful means of communication and reminder which is what is intended
in the use of the Prayer Shawls and its Tzitzits with its knots and
colors. In fact the very fact that the interpretations are complex
will themselves act as good mnemonic system of associational
strength. After all even our words and actions are expressions of
the content that is intended to be transferred.
Here are a few other associations:
Mispar Gadol Method
Mispar Katan Method
The mispar katan method calculates the value of each letter as
its standard value but simply truncates all of the trailing zeros.
At Bash Method
Mispar HaKadmi Method
Mispar HaPerati Method
Mispar Shemi Method
We will illustrate the method in two most popular gematria
The Ashenazic method
If there is a blue thread, it is used as the binder bringing the
whites together into a unity. Remember blue is the extension of God
which enters the earth among men.
YHVH Echad =The Lord is One
The Ashenazic method of 7, 8, 11 and 13 has a total value of 39 which
numerically represents the Shama, or Yahweh is one. Again 39 is the
healing number as the Messia received 39 lashes. “By his stripes, we
Again 39 is the healing number as the Messia received 39 lashes
"But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed."
as the number of windings,
a combination that represents the spelling of YHWH
The Sephardic method of tying represents a letter in the Name Yahweh.
10 = YUD, 5 = HEY, 6 = VAV and 5 = HEY.