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Levels of Being & Levels of Meaning

by

Jacobus G. Swart

Part 1

[Kabbalahconcepts] Levels of Being & Levels of Meaning - Part 1


Tue, March 30, 2010 10:10:01 PM
From: Jacobus Swart <jacobsang@gmail.com>
To: Kabbalahconcepts@yahoogroups.com

Levels of Being & Levels of Meaning


by

Jacobus G. Swart

Part 1
(To read the Hebrew script, you will need to install the SPTiberian true type font [SPTi000.ttf] located in the
"Hebrew & Greek True Type Fonts" folder in the group files)

Following a query I received offlist regarding Hebrew letter-number systems, e.g. Gematria, I thought I would
respond onlist since this topic may be of interest to some of my fellow Companions on this elist, especially as these
Kabbalistic "methods of interpretation" were used to reach a deeper understanding of the hidden meanings of Divine
Names, and also as codes to comprehending sacred concepts from the perspectives of material manifestation to their
ascend into higher cosmic levels.

1. GEMATRIA

The basic premise behind Gematria is that the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are also numbers, which means that
each letter has a corresponding numerical value. It is believed that these numbers trace back to very ancient times,
and it is understood that their meaning relate to universal powers. In this regard, Gematria pertains to the art of
calculating the numerical value of a word by adding together the respective value of each of its component letters.
Whilst the system in its simplest format is based on the fact that every letter in Hebrew is also a number, and that
words with the same numerical value are considered to be related, the various uses of this information resulted in a
number of complex techniques. Simply put, Gematria comprises a whole variety of ways in which the "relatedness"
of words and even sentences are calculated.
This topic, comprising different methods employed by Kabbalists to reach a greater understanding of sacred
writ, and to enlarge awareness of the relatedness of ideas through Hebrew letter-number systems, is most interesting
and certainly valid, but employing these techniques takes an enormous amount of "mental acrobatics" which might
not only be very time consuming, but turn out to be as "dry as dust." Hence I do not particularly care for the manner
in which many today, who claim to be specialists of this aspect of Jewish mysticism, are juggling words and numbers
around in such obscure ways, that the average reader, unfamiliar with the intricacies of Gematria and Kabbalistic
cyphers, as well as with the fundamental reasoning of the "specialist" presenting the information, is in the end utterly
befuddled and bewildered.
It should be clear to everyone, that personal consideration and contemplation of the subject by the average
reader is only possible when he or she is able to establish connections between ideas, and they need to understand
how this is done. So in introducing this topic here, we will follow a specific line of thought, so as to clearly
comprehend the interrelationships of affiliated words and numbers as described by the various Kabbalistic letter-
number techniques, rather than throw them around at random which can only foster confusion.
It should be noted that Gematria is but one of a number of techniques used to find hidden meanings in the
Hebrew Scriptures. As said, it pertains to calculating the numerical values of the letters comprising Hebrew words.
Once the Gematria of a word is known, words or combinations of words with the same numerical value can be
compared. In this manner one number can become representative of several ideas, all of which are thought of as
being interpretative of each other.
A famous example is the Gematria of Genesis 49:10 which reads: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor
a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." By Gematria the
words "until Shiloh" (y’voh Shiloh hly# )by [y = 10 + b = 2 + ) = 1 + # = 300 + y = 10 + l = 30 + h = 5, total
358]), correspond with the Hebrew word for Messiah (Mashiach xy#m [m = 40 + # = 300 + y = 10 + x = 8,
total 358]). Hence, according to Kabbalah, there is a connection between "until Shiloh" and "Messiah." What is
more, there is a Gematria connection in Numbers 21:9 which reads: "And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it
upon a pole, and it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the Serpent of brass, he lived."
The serpent of brass is called Nachash (#xn [n = 50 + x = 8 + # = 300, total 358]). So there is a connection
between "Messiah," "until Shiloh," and the "Serpent of brass." This inspired Christian Kabbalists to later assume the
"brazen serpent" of Moses in the desert to be a prefiguration of the Christian Saviour on the Cross.
Using Gematria, Kabbalists "discovered" many remarkable Holy Names, the names of Angels, and revealed the
mysteries of the world of the Merkavah (the fiery Chariot Throne and the Angels). In this regard an example is the
numerical value of the entire verse of Song of Songs 6:16: "I have gone down into the nut garden," the Gematria of
which is equivalent to a verse in the Midrash (a Sacred Biblical Commentary) which reads: "That is the depth of the
chariot (Merkavah)."
Over the years the application of Gematria became increasingly more complex. Many ways of practising this art
were devised, and many remarkable discoveries were made. We certainly cannot go into all of them here, but what
should be understood clearly is that two schools of thinking exist in Kabbalah regarding Gematria. One favours it,
the other uses it rarely. Yet both factions employed it, and Gematria is a key system in the letter-number mysticism
of Kabbalah. The following set comprises the most important types of Gematriot:
1. Mispar Hech’rachi, which is the standard Gematria of a word, which is in turn equal to that of another. This
is the method explained in the examples listed earlier. A further example is the word hrwbg (Gevurah-
Severity — g = 3 + b = 2 + w = 6 + r = 200 + h =5) the Gematria of which is 216. This is equal to the
word hyr) (Aryeh-Lion — ) = 1 + r = 200 + y = 10 + h = 5 totaling 216). A connection is therefore
acknowledged between the ideas of "Severity" and "Lion" in Hebrew. Another good example, one which is
particularly highlighted in Kabbalistic literature, is the numerical connection between the Divine Name
yd# (Shadai-Almighty — # = 300, d = 4, y = 10) and the Angelic Name Nwr++m (Metatron —
m = 40, + = 9, + = 9, r = 200, w = 6, n = 50). The Gematria of both Names is 314.
2. Mispar ha-Me’ugal or Mispar Katan, pertaining to the reduction of numbers to single units. For example
the value of # (Shin = 300) is reduced to 3 or k (Kaf = 20) to 2.
3. Mispar Musaphi. In this instance the Gematria of a word is calculated in the same manner as described in
the first listed method. However, additionally either the number of letters are added to the Gematria of the
word, e.g. hbh) [Ahavah-Love — ) (1) + h (5) + b (2) + h (5) = 13 + 4 letters = 17], or the kollel is
included, that is adding an additional 1 for the word calculated, e.g. Ahavah [) (1) + h (5) + b (2) + h (5) =
13 + 1 word = 14].
4. Mispar ha-Kadmi, in this case the "positionary" values of all letters preceding a letter in an alphabetical
numerical series are added to the calculation. d (Dalet) is the fourth letter of the letter-numbers, and to use
this type of Gematria, one has to add up the values of the letters preceding Dalet, thus 1 ()) + 2 (b) + 3 (g)
+ 4 (d) = 10.
5. Mispar ha-Meruba ha-Klali refers to the squaring of the total value of words, e.g. the Gematria of Ahavah
which is 13, becomes 132 = 169.
6. Mispar ha-Meruba ha-Perati, in which the squared number is calculated by squaring the Gematria of each
letter in a word. For example the Ineffable Name hwhy (YHVH) squared equals 102 52 62 52 which equals
186, which in turn equates with the word Mwqm (Makom–Place [m = 40 + q = 100 + w = 6 + m = 40
totalling 186]). Makom is also considered a Divine Name.
7. Mispar ha-Mispari. In this particular method the Gematria of the individual letters comprising a word, are
read and calculated as words. For example, the Gematria of ) (Alef) is 1, and the Hebrew word for this
number is dx) (Echad — one). Employing this specific method we would arrive at ) = 1 = dx) () [1] + x
[8] + d [4]) = 13. If in turn we calculate the Gematria of the word dx) (Echad—one) by means of this
method, it will be ) = 1 = dx) (1+8+4) = 13; x = 8 = hnm# (Shemonah — eight: # [300] + m [40] +
n [50] + h [5]) = 395; d = 4 = h(br) (Arba’ah—four: ) [1] + r [200] + b [2] + ( [70] + h [5]) = 278.
Using this method, the total Gematria of the word Echad would be 686.
8. Mispar ha-Mispari ha-Gadol. This is a more complex application of the method described in the previous
paragraph. As described in the next method, Mispar Shemi, this application involves the names of the
individual letters of a word being spelled out in full. The Gematria of the words for the numbers of the
spelled letters are then calculated. Taking only the first letter of the Ineffable Name as a case in point, we
would have the letter y (Yod — normally valued 10) fully spelled and calculated as a word, i.e. y [10] + w
[6] + d [4] = 20. In turn the Hebrew word for the number 20 is Esrim (( [70] + # [300] + r [200] + y [10]
+ m [40]) = 620.
9. Mispar Shemi or Millui. This method, especially relevant to some Divine Names addressed in this book, is
the calculation of Millui meaning "filling" or "spellings." In this method the value of the letters comprising
the names of individual letters are calculated. As indicated, in Hebrew each letter is a word, and is
spelled as follows:

Hebrew Spelling Individual Letters

) Alef Pl) Alef—Lamed—Fay

b Bet tyb Bet—Yod—Tav

g Gimel lmg Gimel—Mem—Lamed

d Dalet tld Dalet—Lamed—Tav

can be spelled

)h Heh—Alef

hh Heh—Heh

h Heh yh Heh—Yod
can be spelled

w)w

wyw Vav—Alef—Vav

ww Vav—Yod—Vav

w Vav Vav—Vav

z Zayin Nyz Zayin—Yod—Nun

x Chet tyx Chet—Yod—Tav

+ Tet ty+ Tet—Yod—Tav

y Yod dwy Yod—Vav—Dalet

k Kaf Pk Kaf—Feh

l Lamed dml Lamed—Mem—Dalet

m Mem Mm Mem—Mem

n Nun Nwn Nun—Vav—Nun

s Samech Kms Samech—Mem—Kaf

( Ayin Ny( Ayin—Yod—Nun

p Peh hp Peh—Heh

c Tzadi ydc Tzadi—Dalet—Yod


q Kof Pwq Kof—Vav—Feh

r Resh #yr Resh—Yod—Shin

# Shin Ny# Shin—Yod—Nun

t Tav wt Tav—Vav

10. Using this type of Gematria the value of ) (Alef = ) [Alef] = 1 + l [Lamed] 30 + p [Feh] 80) totals 111; b
(Bet = b [Bet] 2 + y [Yod] 10 + t [Tav] 400) totals 412, etc. These Millui or fillings are very important in
the forming and permutations of Divine Names. Consider for example hwhy (YHVH), the sacred
Tetragrammaton, in which the letter-numbers h (Heh) and w (Vav) have different "fillings" (spellings). As
indicated already, the letter h (Heh) can be spelled )h (Heh-Alef), hh (Heh-Heh) or yh (Heh-Yod), and w
(Vav) can be spelled w)w (Vav-Alef-Vav), wyw (Vav-Yod-Vav) or ww (Vav-Vav). So with these letters
one can use three different kinds of spellings ("fillings") , traditionally called:

Millui de-Alfin (Alef filling);

Millui de-He’in (Heh filling); and

Millui de-Yodin (Yod filling).

Applying this to the word hwhy (YHVH), the Sacred Name can be varied accordingly to arrive at the so-called
"Forty-Five Letter Name of God," "Fifty-Two Letter Name of God," "Sixty-Three Letter Name of God," and
"Seventy-Two Letter Name of God."56 In fact, each of these names correspond to one of the "Four Worlds" of
Kabbalah, respectively the worlds of Assiah, Yetzirah, Briah and Atzilut. This is done in the following manner:

hh ww hh dwy (Yod-vav-dalet Heh-heh Vav-vav Heh-heh) comprises the "Fifty-Two Letter Name
of God," and in Gematria the word Nb (Ben - b [Bet] 2 + n [Nun] 50 = 52). The word Ben (son) is
thus representative of the "Fifty-Two Letter Name of God."

)h w)w )h dwy (Yod-vav-dalet Heh-alef Vav-alef-vav He-alef) comprises the "Forty-Five Letter
Name of God," which corresponds in Gematria to the word Md) (Adam - ) [Alef] 1 + d [Dalet] 4 +
m [Mem] 40 = 45). The word Adam (man) therefore symbolizes the "Forty-Five Letter Name of God."

yh w)w yh dwy (Yod-vav-dalet Heh-yod Vav-alef-vav Heh-yod) comprises the "Sixty-Three Letter
Name of God."

yh wyw yh dwy (Yod-vav-dalet Heh-yod Vav-yod-vav Heh-yod) comprises the "Seventy-Two Letter
Name of God," which is related to the "Name of Seventy-Two Names."

(to be continued)
evels of Being & Levels of Meaning
by

Jacobus G. Swart

Part 2
(To read the Hebrew script, you will need to install the SPTiberian true type font [SPTi000.ttf] located in the
"Hebrew & Greek True Type Fonts" folder in the group files)

Whilst Gematria is important to some Kabbalists, it was not considered of inestimable value to all Kabbalists. As
said, it is rarely used in some schools. Of course, there is really no limit to what can be yielded by employing a
method such as this, and the system will yield anything one wishes it to in terms of "hidden meanings." In this factor,
we are told, "lies the very weakness and danger" of Gematria. Whilst not decrying its value and its importance in say
Torah studies, Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet laconically observed that Gematria "is a double-edged sword." He noted
that Abraham Ibn Ezra maintained that "whosoever wants can devise a Gematria for good or for evil," and echoed
the concern of the great Spanish Kabbalist by stating that Gematria "can possibly be twisted in any which way, valid
or invalid....."
Personally I am inclined to share the sentiments of Robert Wang that Gematria may be "a petty trap." This is
especially clear when one considers the large dissertations and weighty tomes written by many "insightful"
mystics and magicians, who have found remarkable meanings "hidden" in the "numbers of words," only to discover
later that all their mental acrobatics have gone for a loop, since some of those Hebrew terms, which were central to
their reasoning, turned out to be spelled wrongly! One might also consider in this regard, the use made of this
technique in the last two centuries by mystery-mongering, "end-time," ultra-fundamentalist Christians, in order to
convince a gullible readership of their "doomsday" claims:
1. that certain politicians and clergymen are actually the "antichrist," (e.g. suppositions that the total numerical
value of the inscriptions on the crown of the Pope is 666, this being considered a fateful apocalyptic number
which strikes passion, excitement, apprehension and fear in the heart of the true fundamentalist); and
2. that they calculated the exact date of the "final doomsday," "resurrection of the dead" and the return of the
Christian Messiah.

It is worth noting that thus far, all the apocalyptic "letter-number prophecies" have been dismal failures, and have
only been of bullying and harassment value to those who wanted to terrorise people into heaven, or incite the mob to
attack the "infidel."
Have I made use of Gematria? Undoubtedly yes! In fact I still do on occasion. I have found Gematria both
useful and meaningful, but I need to add that one has to be extremely careful lest one gets caught in a "cage of logic,"
i.e. rattling concepts around the brain and jumping to conclusions, which can turn out to be merely "mental
masturbation" and nothing more.

2. NOTARIKON

The word Notarikon derives from the Latin Notarius, meaning a person who belonged to writer's class in the old
Roman system, and who wrote by using single letters to signify words, thus it is a sort of short-hand, or system of
acronyms. Notarikon is therefore a method in which the single letters of a word, become words themselves. For
example the name Adam, comprising the letters )-d-m, can be read Adam David Messiah.
Interesting discoveries have been made with the application of this system. Another example is the word Passim
(Mysp), meaning "many colours," referring of course to the biblical Joseph in Genesis 37:3 which reads "And he
made a coat of (Passim) many colours." According to some Kabbalists this word indicates all the tribulations of
Joseph, since as an acronym the individual letters P.S.I.M. (p - s - y - m) stands for Potiphar Sochrim
(merchants) Ishmaelites Medianites, i.e. those responsible for actualising his tribulations as reported in the Biblical
story.
The subject is certainly interesting, especially nowadays when, through computer technology, several
remarkable and hidden codes and meanings pertaining to history and well known personages, have been discovered
in the Bible, and many fanciful predictions have been made regarding the lives and deaths of these individuals.

3. TEMURAH

Temurah is a method of codes, whereby letters can be interchanged. Such exchanging of letters are applied in
accordance with certain rules:
1. Letters pronounced within the same location in the mouth, can be interchanged. The Sefer Yetzirah (Book of
Creation) lists five such "vocal groups," specifically:
"Dentals" - d + l n t (Dalet, Tet, Lamed, Nun, Tav), pronounced with the tongue;
"Sibilants" - z s # r c (Zayin, Samech, Shin, Resh, Tzadi), pronounced with the teeth;
"Labials" - b w m p (Bet, Vav, Mem, Peh), pronounced with the lips;
"Gutterals" - ) x h ( (Alef, Chet, Heh, Ayin) pronounced using the throat; and
"Palatals" - g y k q (Gimel, Yod, Kaf, Kof) pronounced using the roof of the mouth.
2. Then there are a number of letter codes, as shown in the following table comprising Hebrew ciphers:

m
k ny s+ (x pz cw qh rd #g tb l)

ml nk sy (+ px cz qw rh #d tg b)

m
b nl sk (y p+ cx qz rw #h td g)

n #
m sl (k py c+ qx rz w th gb d)

s
ng m (l pk cy q+ rx #z tw db h)

sn (m pl ck qy r+ #x tz dg hb w)

p #
sd (n m cl qk ry + tx hg wb z)

(s pn cm ql rk #y t+ hd wg zb x)
q
(h ps cn m rl #k ty wd zg xb +)

p( cs qn rm #l tk wh zd xg +b y)

#
pw c( qs rn m tl zh xd +g yb k)

cp q( rs #n tm zw xh +d yg kb l)

cz qp r( #s tn xw +h yd kg lb m)

m
qc rp #( ts xz +w yh kd lg b n)

m
qx rc #p t( +z yw kh ld g nb s)

m
rq #c tp +x yz kw lh d ng sb ()

m
r+ #q tc yx kz lw h nd sg (b p)

m
#r tq y+ kx lz w nh sd (g pb c)

m
#y tr k+ lx z nw sh (d pg cb q)

m
t# ky l+ x nz sw (h pd cg qb r)

tk ly m nx sz (w ph cd qg rb #)
+

m
lk y n+ sx (z pw ch qd rg #b t)
3.
To use these ciphers you simply exchange the right letter with the adjacent one on the left in each row.
Amongst the more well-known ciphers is the one titled Atbash (#bt)), comprising the very bottom
row of the table. In this specific instance the letter Alef ()), being the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is
exchanged with Tav (t), the last letter, and likewise the letter Bet, the second letter, can be exchanged with
Shin (#), the second last letter. An example of the use of this cipher is the word Sheshach (K##) in
Jeremiah 25:26, which nobody seems to be able to give any meaning to, until the Atbash cipher is applied,
and then it reveals this word to be the same as Bavel (lbb - Babel).
An equally well-known Hebrew cipher not included in the table, is the one titled "Albam" (Mbl)), in
which the letters are exchanged in the following order:

tk #y r+ qx cz pw (h sd ng mb l)
4.
Such ciphers have been employed in Hebrew amulets and magical recipes. Kabbalists have been using these
ciphers to arrive at a number of powerful Divine Names, amongst others a set of curious variations of the
Ineffable Name, like Cpcm (Matzpatz), derived from the interchange of Hebrew glyphs using the Atbash
(#b - t)) cipher, or (p(#, constructed by means of the Albam (mb - l)) exchange.
Another of these ciphers, specifically the one called Avgad (dg - b)), pertaining to the substitution of
a Hebrew glyph with those immediate adjacent to it, have led to one of the most used Divine Names in
Judaism. I am referring here specifically those created around the four letters of the Tetragrammaton,
hwhy. By exchanging the four letters of the Ineffable Name with those preceding them in the Hebrew
alphabet, we arrive at dhd+ which Moses Zacutto tells us is pronounced Teidaheida.
On the other hand, by exchanging the four letters with those succeeding them, we arrive at the wzwk
(Kozo), which is part of a much larger and very well-known construct wzwk zskwmb wzwk
(pronounced Kozu b¡¦Mochsaz Kozu according to Moses Zacutto), called the "Fourteen Letter Name of
God" which we are told was amongst the Divine Names used to "awaken the dead." This Name, used on the
reverse side of the Mezuzah scroll, was formed from the letters succeeding those comprising the Divine
Names in the Shema, specifically hwhy wnyhl) hwhy (YHVH Eloheinu YHVH). It is said this Name
represents the sphere of Mercy (Chesed or Gedulah) on the Tree of Life, whereas the transposed version
pertains to the sphere of Severity (Gevurah).
5. In conclusion, we need to look at system called AYaK BaChaR or AIK BeKaR cipher, popularly known as
the "Qabalah of the Nine Chambers" amongst Hermetic Kabbalists. It is represented as a square comprising
nine boxes ("chambers"), each box containing three letters whose Gematria can be reduced to the same
single digit, e.g. ) (1) - y (10) - q (100) = 1; b (2) - k (20) - r (200) = 2; etc, as shown in the
following illustration:

#lg rkb qy)

Msw Knh tm
d

Cc+ Ppx N(z


6.
The title of this system, like those of others in this category, is derived directly from the listed sets of
Hebrew letters. As you probably noticed, in order to work this specific cipher, one has to include also the
five so-called "final letters," i.e. K (500), M (600), N (700), P (800) and C (900).

To be continued