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Zohar Reading Commentary


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The Zohar says that Israel is a rose (Matt translation, p. 1). The

rose has thirteen petals which equals the thirteen qualities of

compassion surrounding Israel on every side. From the first

mention of God (Elohim) in the Torah, to the second time Elohim is

mentioned, there are thirteen words. From the second mention of

Elohim in the Torah, to the third time Elohim is mentioned there are

five words in between. These five words represent the five leaves

on the outer rose as support.

"These five are called salvation."

So we have the rose with 13 petals = 13 compassions surrounding


The 5 leaves = Salvation, the 5 gates.

The Rose is the cup of blessing. (Zohar, pp. 1-2).

The Rabbis bring up the idea that there are so many words

between when the word Elohim (God) is mentioned. I couldn't help

but wonder why. So, I engaged the text, counted the words, there

are indeed 13, and then 5. I then did a gematric calculation on

these 13 words and 5 words.

The thirteen words = 7116

The five words = 1880

Before I proceed, I wish to note that Paul Foster Case, "The Book

of Tokens," (p. 48), demonstrates a technique in Kabbalah that I

wish to perform on these gematria calculations. He notes after

showing some gematria that when we add the numbers of a final

number together we get yet another number that is significant. For

instance, say 434. We add the digits and come up with 11, hence

434 reduces to 11. Then we see what is significant about the 11.

So I took the total value of the 13 words together of 7116 = 7 + 1 +

1 + 6 = 15. This is the value of the divine name IH, or Jah,

especially ascribed to Wisdom! (Case, "Tarot: Key to the Wisdom

of the Ages," p. 163).

15 is also the number of the month of Passover, Abib!

It is also the number ga'avah, the "hoheit Gottes," which is God's

eminence (Koehler, Baumgartner, "A Bilingual Dictionary of the

Hebrew and Aramaic Old Testament," p. 161).

The primary meaning of this root of "ga'avah" is "to rise. There are

several verses that speak of God's "pride/majesty/excellency": Exo

15:7; Isa 2:10, 19, 21; I sam 24:14; Mic 5:3; Job 37:4; Job 40:10

(ga'on); Deut 33:26; Psa 68:35 (ga'awa); Psa 93:1; Isa 12:5; Isa

26:10 (ge'ut). In most of these passages the particular Hebrew

word is translated in the LXX by "doxa" or an equivalent and not by

"hubris." ("Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament," entry


15 is the number of the 8th Sephira, "Hod." Interestingly enough

this is called "Splendor." Hod, along with Netzach is in Zoharic

terms the "prophets of truth." (Zohar, p. 4, note 20).

In light of this, it is interesting to note that 15 = 0 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

5. It is the summation of the series, which in Tarot Card Major

Arcana terms, would say 15 once again reduces to 6 (1 + 5), the

Tarot Card the Lovers. Again, 15 being the sum of numbers 0 to 5,

so that the Hierophant (5) can be regarded as the summation of a

series beginning with 0, refers also to key 15, the Devil, and when

one compares the Tarot key, the Devil, the Lovers, and the

Hierophant, one quickly sees they are intimately related in

remarkable ways! (Case, "Tarot," p. 163). The idea of the Devil

card in the Tarot is the false illusion of the material world as the

total reality. It is a what you see is what you get attitude, which is

incorrect. The Devil presents this illusion to you. (p. 164).

With this in mind, it is remarkably interesting that the Zohar equates

the 13 words between the first two mentions of Elohim (God) in

Genesis 1, with the idea of protection, with compassionate

qualities, (Zohar, p. 2), since the 15th Major Arcana Tarot is the

Devil card, the reduction from the gematria of the first thirteen

words 7116! The Spirit of God in the thirteen words, and in

conjunction with the earth as tohu wabohu, that is formless and

empty in the darkness, is interesting in light of these words being a

protection for Assembly of Israel.

The number 15 is also that of the Hebrew Zuv, meaning a melting

or flowing, abundance, and overflowing, abounding. (Koehler,

Baumgartner, p. 252).

The 5 words between Elohims = 1880, reducing gives us 1 + 8 + 8

+ 0 = 17.

17 is the number of Tov, "good."

17 is the number of "Zebach," Sacrifice.

17 is the number of chazah, "to dream." Gesenius Lexicon notes

that this word means to see the real presence of God with "real

sight." (p. 268). Exodus 24:11 And upon the nobles of the children

of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw [chazah] God, and did

eat and drink.

The "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament" (the TWOT)

notes that it is "Any word meaning to see with the eyes, the most

vivid form of sensation, seems bound to be employed for almost

any sensation (by eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin) as well as any

mental or spiritual perception." (entry 633g). The literal sense,

perception with physical organs of sight (Job 27:12; Prov 22:29;

Prov 29:18). Gesenius noted Exodus 24:11, as does the TWOT.

Further the TWOT says chazah is the revelatory vision granted by

God to chosen messengers, i.e. prophets. Such apparently was

the experience of Balaam the son of Beor (Num 24:4, 16). This

vision of the prophets took place sometimes in the waking state,

but also in "the spirit" (see Num 24:2). Sometimes the experience

of "seeing" a revelatory dream is designated by chazah and

chazah' (Aram). See Dan 2:26; Dan 4:5, 9 [Hebrew verses 2, 6]


Because of the importance of the revelatory vision as means of the

prophets' special knowledge of divine things, the word sometimes

means to speak as a prophet (Isa 30:10, "Prophesy not unto us

right things"). It might be that this active sense (prophesying, to

speak as a prophet), rather than the passive one of receiving

prophetic revelation, may be the sense of Isa 1:1 ("which he saw,"

etc.)and other similar passages (Isa 2:1; Isa 13:1; Lam 2:14; Ezek

13:8; Amos 1:1; etc.).

17 is also the number of "chuwg" meaning to encircle, or

encompass. Gesenius Lexicon notes that it is used to describe the

arch of vault of the sky in Proverbs 8:27; Job 22:14, etc. Again, the

TWOT describes that in Job 26:10 the Creator has "compassed

the waters with bounds" (Kiv), or according to the more literal

rendering of the RSV, "He has described a circle upon the face of

the waters." This may mean the establishment of a boundary in the

distance as the NEB, "He has fixed the horizon," or at the shore (cf.

Job 38:8, 11). This is also the thought found in the use of the noun

in Prov 8:27, "He set a compass upon the face of the depth"

(KJV), which the NEB renders, "He girdled the ocean with the


Job 22:14 (KJV) declares that God "walketh in the circuit of

heaven" (chuwg shamayim); the "vault" of heaven is the expression

used by the RSV, NAB, and NEB. The JB translates, "He prowls on

the rim of the heavens."

Isaiah 40:22 (KJV) asserts that the Creator sits upon the "circle of

the earth" (chuwg ha 'aretz), a rendering retained by the ASV, RSV,

and JB. The NAB has, "He sits enthroned above the vault of the

earth," which the NEB amplifies as the "vaulted roof of the earth."

NIV: "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth." The poets of

the OT describe their universe phenomenologically, i.e. as it

appears to them standing on the earth and looking above and


Some have held that Isa 40:22 implies the sphericity of the earth. It

may, but it may refer only to the Lord enthroned above the earth

with its obviously circular horizon. Note the remarkable concept

given in Job 26:7, He stretcheth out the north over the empty

place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

The Zohar further notes that God wraps himself in light and

spreads out the heavens like a curtain (Psalm 104:2) (Zohar, p.


Leonora Leet in her "Universal Kabbalah" (Inner Traditions, 2004),

has noted this is explained by the Lurianic Tzimtzum idea, the

contraction of God for creation purposes (the putting on a garment

limits God), as well as the expansion of the Creation, the spreading

of the heavens like a curtain. (pp. 24-26). This is symbolized by the

Hebrew letter Chet, the "fence," or boundary, the limiter. "The letter

chet sets up the field of operation for the limiting qualities of the

sphere of Saturn, where "ayin" (no-thing) becomes something."

(Kevin Townley, "Meditations on the Cube of Space," Archer

Books, 2003: 17-19).

The number 17 is also chadah, to brighten or be made joyful. The

TWOT says the verb is used but once in the Piel in Psa 21:7,

"Thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance" (K)V).

It is used in the Qal in Exo 18:9 to describe Jethro's rejoicing when

he heard the report of Moses. Another occurrence has been

suggested at Jer 31:13 by reading the MT yachdaw "together" as

yachdu "shall be merry," a reading supported by the LXX and

adopted by the RSV, the JB ("Will be happy"), and the NEB ("shall

rejoice"). The MT reading is upheld by the NAB ("as well"). (entry


All these are increasingly interesting because the 17th Tarot Major

Arcana is none other than the Star card. 17 itself reduces to 8 (1 +

7 = :P, and there are 8 eight pointed stars in this card. This card is

represented by the Hebrew letter Tzadi, value 90. "Meditation is the

function attributed to Tzadi. It has been defined as 'an unbroken

flow of knowledge in a particular object.' It is a fishing for truth in

the depths of the sub-consciousness... it refers to the budding or

germination of ideas." (Case, "Tarot" p. 175). It is also the fishhook

letter signifying that which draws out the fish (nun) of the water


Robert Wang notes that this card is the symbolic reference to the

union of the Supernal Father, Chokmah, with the Sun, Tifereth, i.e.

the path of the Emperor in the Tarot, Netzach is the Chokmah

energy at its lowest arc, on the bae of the pillar of Mercury. Its

Elohim are the lower expression of the YHWH Elohim of Binah,

which the Book of Genesis tells us created the Garden and the two

trees. The star shows us Eden restored by Adam." (p. 164).

The Zohar indicates that Binah is the Mother, the female Elohim, as

the Mother of the daughter Shekhinah, which Israel is likened to.

With all this understanding of scriptures, the Tarot, Kabbalah Tree

of Life, its vicissitudes, and characters, the Zohars statement "Just

as the rose has thirteen petals, so Assembly of Israel has thirteen

qualities of compassion surrounding her on every side. Similarly

the moment Elohim. God is mentioned, it generates thirteen words

to surround Assembly of Israel and protect her; then it is

mentioned again. Why again? To produce 5 sturdy leaves

surrounding the rose." (P. 1-2). All this takes on enormously more

powerful and interesting meaning to us now.

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The main reason I enjoy Gematria is that it ingages me into the text. I don';t just read idly while thinking of something else. I am looking up the Hebrew, calculating the values, finding cross references, reading whole chapters, etc. I find it keeps me much more "into it" if I can say it that way.



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Where to begin? It would be helpful if I understood all of this. Best to ask a question.

Okay, okay. I'm not afraid to make a public fool of myself.

Are you saying that the Hebrew scriptures are embedded with hidden or deeper meaning via numerical/gematria symbolism?

Lady "did that sound terribly ignorant?" Sundancer

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Talking to myself here out loud on the screen now, since that seems to be the order of the day...I have either made a complete and public fool of myself or I hit one clear out of the park. The good thing to remember is that most folks reading the opening post are far less courageous than I am, not able to dive in to the deep end for fear of making the public spectacle of themselves and won't post here to start with, so I think I'm pretty safe with this. There is a fine line between genius and insanity isn't there? We'll soon find out. But how will they know, eh?


Lady Sundancer

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It is important to remember that there was an Apostolic Gnosis........ these people, the early Christians and Jews were adamant about the importance of the scripture having hidden codes and deeper meanings. As a dear friend of mine recently wrote and noted:

Don't simply "consider" buying this volume, Kieren Berry, "The Greek Qabalah." While some of its historical

conclusions are controversial and it does have a few weaknesses, this volume

will otherwise demonstrate *just how widely and commonly used* was

"alphabetic mysticism and numerology in the ancient world." It provides a

great introduction to the use of gematria among Gnostics, Christians,

Neoplatonists and Jews. Some here have cautioned that we might be

"overdoing" gematria, or seeing false patterns; Barry's book leaves little

doubt that gematria (i.e., isopsephy) was almost a permanent fixture of

Greek life, and used extensively.

The "controversial" aspect of his book is the argument that the use of

Gematria by the Jews was actually a later borrowing from the Greeks. In my

mind, his most persuasive argument in support of that view is how the Sepher

Yetzirah appears to assign correspondences based upon a pre-existing system

that has fundamental incompatibilities with the Hebrew language. For

example, he points out the inclusion of "resh" as one of seven "doubles" is

strained -- it doesn't really have a soft and hard sound like the other six

letters. He also points out:

"After making the association between the seven planets and these seven

"double" letters, fifteen letters of the Hebrew alphabet remained to be

ascribed. Unfortunately for the author of the Sefer Yezirah, the Hebrew

alphabet of twenty-two letters was less well suited to this accommodation

than the Greek, since the twelve signs of the zodiac and the seven planets

left only three letters for the five Aristotelian elements. Earth and ether

were, therefore, simply omitted altogether. The three remaining chosen

elements were attributed to the letters aleph, mem, and shin, which the

author, according to his own strange phonetic system, designates as

"matrice" letters" (Barry 181).

As I have mentioned elsewhere, Barry's book is serious scholarship. He has a

sharp mind, and his argument is persuasive. However, it is also possible

(though as yet not conclusively proven) that the Jews had a tradition of

number mysticism separate from the Greeks, with later borrowing and

adaptation from that system due to the Hellenization of the ancient world.

Evidence suggesting this would be the extensive recitation of architectural

and other measurements in the Hebrew scriptures. Some of these (such as the

dimensions of the Holy of Holies) seem to be significant precisely because

of their relationship with certain words and numbers. I agree with Leet that

the sacred science of the Jews included GEOMETRY, NUMBER, and WORD/SOUND,

and that there is evidence for this in the text of the Bible itself. To

Leet's assertion I would add that this science also apparently included

COLOR correspondences -- note especially the use of blue, purple, red and


So, Barry's book is important, in that it has academic merit. He also

includes an isopsephy dictionary in the appendix; for those interested in

Christian gematria, this sample dictionary seems too selective, and betrays

a few of the author's own predispositions, one of which is Thelema.



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Me lady that is precisely what the Jewish Rabbis taught! You hit one right outta the park! SHE SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P



NO BLESSED WAY!!!!!!! Really??? Oh my heck (swearing like a Mormon now), okay...are you saying that the Hebrew scriptures are like looking through...uh, let's say a prism....so....(they don't know it but I really think like this but he knows it so I'm okay) what we see on the surface in mere words when interpreted with the use of gematria (like shining a light through the prism)...EXPANDS THE MEANING beyond what we could even begin to imagine....that when we read the words of the Hebrew scripts we're only riding the surface of understanding?

Guacamole, is this why he likes it so much?

Lady Sundancer

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That's 2 fer 2 there lil lady........what, you reading in your Urim and Thummim tonight?

It is not only gematria the rabbis used, but an actual re-arrangment of the Hebrew letters within words, as well as reversing words to bring out other words and their extending the meanings, etc. There is the Atbash Cipher (Schonfeld actually claims it was used in the Dead Sea Scrolls!), etc. There are many different ways to bring out much hidden light within the recesses of the surface layer meaning of the scriptures.................


Lord "Me thinks the lady is showing off now :P : Kerry

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That's 2 fer 2 there lil lady........what, you reading in your Urim and Thummim tonight?

It is not only gematria the rabbis used, but an actual re-arrangment of the Hebrew letters within words, as well as reversing words to bring out other words and their extending the meanings, etc. There is the Atbash Cipher (Schonfeld actually claims it was used in the Dead Sea Scrolls!), etc. There are many different ways to bring out much hidden light within the recesses of the surface layer meaning of the scriptures.................


Lord "Me thinks the lady is showing off now :P : Kerry

Okay, so it's like looking down through let's say a multi-layer glass chess board or something? Showing off? I'm going out on a limb here. Way out...

Lady Sundancer

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