Parshas Lech Lecha
Genesis 12:1 - 17:27

Building An Altar Of Observance ©

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Gematria is a particular study of Jewish mysticism based on the numerical value of Hebrew letters in the Aleph Bais (Hebrew alphabet) as inscribed in the Torah. Jewish Gematria has many disciplines.

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Dr. Kathryne Lynn
Wright, may she rest in peace.

Now Hashem had said to Avram, Get out of your country, and {away} from your birthplace, and {away} from your father’s house, {and go} to a land that I will show you. And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you; and through you shall all families of the earth be blessed.

So Avram departed, as Hashem had told him, and Lot went with him: and Avram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Charan. And Avram took his wife Sarai, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions they had acquired, and the souls {followers} they had converted in Charan; and they set out to go into the land of Canaan. They came to the land of Canaan.

And Avram passed through the land until the place of Shechem, until the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanites were in the land. And Hashem appeared to Avram {not visually}, and said, “To your seed will I give this land.” And there he built an altar to Hashem, who appeared to him. Genesis 12:1-7

These seven verses constitute the first 102 words of Parshas Lech Lecha. These 102 words consist of the first 395 letters of Parshas Lech Lecha. I mention this because the Gematria of Baw Neem, meaning sons / children equals 102. This has great significance because the words here promise, “I will make you into a great nation...{and} to your seed will I give this land.” It was these promises that motivated Avram to build an altar to Hashem. The news Hashem gave Avram was Nech Mawd, meaning pleasant. Avram chose to express his delight at hearing this pleasant news. Rashi stated, “There he built an altar...” {in thanksgiving} for the tidings of {his having} children and for the tidings that they would inherit Eretz Yisroel.”

From right to left:

Baw Neem {sons / children}
102 = Mem = 40 + Yud = 10 + Nun = 50 + Bais = 2

Nech Mawd {pleasant}
102 = Dalet = 4 + Mem = 40 + Chess = 8 + Nun = 50

I mention 395 because in last week's parsha we spoke of the letter Samech in reference to the cycle of life in our Gematria article Survivors Of The Flood. What is interesting here is that the Samech is absent from the first 102 words and 395 Hebrew letters of Hashem’s promise of children to Avram. In fact the Samech is the only letter of the Aleph Bais {Hebrew Alpha Bet} missing in this passage. The other twenty-one letters are each represented. The absence of the Samech is extremely significant because the Samech represents the cycle of life. The Word Ni Shaw Mah {meaning “Souls”} has the Gematria of 395, the total letters of this passage, which again testifies to the fact of Hashem’s promise of children to Avram!

From right to left:

395 = The number of Hebrew letters of Hashem’s
promise to the children to Avram in Genesis 12:1-7

Ni Shaw Mah {Soul}
395 = Hey = 5 + Mem = 40 + Shin = 300 + Nun = 50

Now within this passage there are four words that stand out: “Vah Yee Vayn - Shawm - Meez Bat Ach Lah - Hashem,” meaning “And there he {Avram} built an altar to Hashem...” The regular Gematria of this passage is 521, however the Kotel Gematria of this passage is 536. The difference between the regular Gematria and the Gematria Kotel is 15. To arrive at Gematria Kotel we simply add the total number of letters of Vah Yee Vayn - Shawm - Meez Bat Ach Lah - Hashem to the regular Gematria total. There are 15 letters. Again, the 15 represents the letter Samech, which is the 15th letter of the Aleph Bais. .

From right to left:

Vah Yee Vayn - Shawm - Meez Bat Ach Lah - Hashem
{and he built
there an altar to Hashem}

Vah Yee Vayn {and he built} {4 letters}
68 = Nun = 50 + Bais = 2 + Yud = 10 + Vav = 6

Shawm - Meez Bat Ach Lah {there an altar} {6 Letters}
397 = Ches = 8 + Bais = 2 + Zayin = 7 + Mem = 40 + Mem = 40 + Shin = 300

La Hashem {to the L-rd} {5 letters}
56 = Hey = 5 + Vav = 6 + Hey = 5 + Yud = 10 + Lamid = 30

536 = 68 + 397 + 56 + 15 letters { 4 + 6 + 5}

The Gematria 536, which includes the words and letters of Avram building an altar to Hashem, expresses a most important point. That point is: It is imperative to follow every letter and every word of Hashem’s commandments. When Avram built the altar to Hashem this was his expression of appreciation for Hashem’s promises of children! Yet, even though Hashem made these promises to Avram, the15th letter was missing! The Samech was missing! The cycle of life was not present in the letters or the words of Hashem’s promises! Even though the Samech was missing from the words of the promises, Avram did not base his observance on what was missing! He built the altar in celebration of Hashem’s promises to him! Now, notice this, the Samech which is represented by the number 15 and which was missing is added in. It is included by the Gematria Kotel represented by the 15 letters of Avram’s actions. {521 + 15 = 536 } 536 is the same Gematria for Mitz Vos, meaning “commandments”. In other words, the Samech was added as Avram observed Hashem’s Commandments!! The same can be true for us! When we observe all of Hashem’s Commandments the things that are missing from our lives can be added simply because we are observing what Hashem has commanded.

From right to left:

Mitz Vos {Commandments}
536 = Sav = 400 + Vav = 6 + Tzaddi = 90 + Mem = 40

Another point of interest, Mah Tzohs {meaning bread without leaven} is spelled the same as Mitz Vos but pronounced differently. This teaches us that when we observe Hashem’s commandments the leaven which represents sin is removed from our lives, from our pattern of living, which in turn paves the way for Hashem’s promises to be fulfilled!!

From right to left:

Mah Tzohs {bread without levan}
536 = Sav = 400 + Vav = 6 + Tzaddi = 90 + Mem = 40

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk