Parshas Bereishis
Genesis 1:1 - 6:8

From The Future To The Past ©

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 Mr. Michael and Mrs.Channah Sakash, may they rest in peace.

We read that “Hashem G-d made to grow out of the soil every tree that is pleasant to look at, and good for [producing] food; the Tree of Life in the middle of the Garden, and the Tree of Knowledge of what is good and evil.” Genesis 2:9

The soil that we live on is an interesting substance. Mother Earth consists of many different types of soil. Some soil is rich and produces much vegetation and some soil is poor and produces little or no vegetation. The location of soil can greatly affect the produce. In the mountains we have an area called timberline which is used to describe a natural dividing line that trees will not grow beyond. Timberline is about 11,500 feet in Colorado. Colorado has almost 100,000 mines and most of these mines have mine tailings. Mine tailings have absolutely zero organic matter. Nothing can grow in tailings. If you drive along Interstate I-70 from Denver to Glenwood Springs there are many examples of mine tailings that prohibit growth. Then there is also sandy wilderness soil that supports sagebrush and the occasional cedar tree.

In our world there are places where the soil is so rich it can support dozens of cattle per acre. Then there are places in the world that require acres and acres to support just one calf. So the location of the soil, the altitude of the soil and many other external factors help determine what the soil will be able to produce. As a child I remember reading a book about George Washington Carver, a famous African American scientist who studied the soil. Through his work farmers were better able to grow produce suited to their particular soil.

Within our home in the mountain suburbs of Colorado, we grow tomatoes, radishes, squash and many other garden items. We have huge pots filled with organic matter. Naomi and I enjoy watching our plants grow from seeds. It's wonderfully therapeutic! We receive so much pleasure marking the progress of our plants and in eating our produce.

So, holy reader, it is most interesting when we read about the Tree of Life and about the Tree of Knowledge that Hashem caused to grow out of the soil. The Tree of Life and Knowledge were pleasant to look at. Genesis 2:9 Later we read they were very desirable. They were attractive! Genesis 3:6 Yet, we are informed that Adam and his wife Chava were forbidden to eat from these two trees. We also know that these trees produced fruit which was appealing to the eyes. Genesis 3:6

Without straying too far from our intended subject one must wonder, Why would Hashem create fruit trees desirable and pleasant to look upon then forbid us to eat of their fruit? Wouldn't that be something like taking a child into a candy store and letting them see all the candy there on display while at the same time forbidding them to have even one small piece of candy? It may appear this way. We do not understand every intention of Hashem. We do know that Hashem is Just, Fair and Righteous!! We also know that if we have an ox grinding in a mill that we cannot forbid the ox to enjoy some of the grain he is grinding. In a similar sense we read that Adam was placed in the garden to keep it. He and his wife were permitted to eat of every tree in the garden except for theTree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Now doesn't this seem a bit unfair? Doesn't this seem a little out of line with the instructions regarding the ox in Deuteronomy 25:4?

Hashem gives us many foods to enjoy while on the other hand He requires us to abstain from certain non kosher foods and animals. Then during Pesach there are additional foods which are kosher but not kosher for Pesach because they are from one of the five grains and may have leaven in them. On Yom Kippur we are forbidden to consume any food or drink. Noach before the Flood was only permitted to eat vegetation and fruit. Genesis 9:1-3 So from the very beginning of Creation we observe certain food restrictions.

Yet, we read that “Hashem G-d made grow out of the soil” all this very special produce some of which we can eat and some of which we are forbidden to eat. It causes one to wonder, What's going on? Observing kashrus can be tricky, trying and quite frustrating at times ... However kashrus gives Jewish people a form. Kashrus gives Jewish people boundaries. Now one may wonder why is it necessary to mandate Jews to forms? Why are Jews given boundaries? To answer this all we need to do is remember that in the beginning when G-d created this world from nothing that the first phase of this world was unformed and desolate. Our world was covered with darkness. There was no light! There was no dry land! We have dry land because G-d paced boundaries on the oceans. We have daylight and nighttime because G-d placed boundaries on the day and placed boundaries on the night. What would this world be like without the boundaries placed there by G-d?

Now we must stop and ask ourselves, What would the Jewish people be like without boundaries? What would we be like without the Torah? What would we be like without kashrus? It is the boundaries that Hashem has placed on His people that separate us from the rest of the world and all the other peoples living in the world. Without these forms and boundaries we would just blend into the rest of society and be completely unnoticed. It is the boundaries that separate us from the rest of the world. G-d has given us a form to follow and boundaries to live by. This form is the Torah!

While the rest of the world may seem to enjoy certain pleasures forbidden to the Jewish people there are pleasures we receive by observing the Torah. Our pleasures are not offered to the rest of the world! For example, only one people was chosen to be G-d ' s people. Only one people was selected to receive and observe the Torah! People with responsibility... people with serious obligations cannot do as they feel, desire or as they want because if they do the results could be disastrous! As Jews we have a serious responsibility to G-d and to the world He created. We are intended to be the light of righteousness.

Consider people with responsibilities. A judge cannot speak openly about the case he is trying. His comments could affect the jury. A stockbroker has restrictions ... the president and the board of a corporation have restrictions ... Parents have restrictions. They cannot just walk out on their children. So why is it such a big thing for Jews to have restrictions, to have forms, to have boundaries?

We see a parallel Gematria for the number 411. The Torah says, Vah Yahtz Mach Hashem Elohim Meen Haw Ah Daw Maw, meaning “Hashem G-d made to grow out of the soil.” What was it that Hashem made to grow out of the soil? What was it that Hashem formed from the soil which separated the water? Why did Hashem plant two trees in the middle of Gan Eden?

When we carefully examine Hashem’s acts we discover form. We discover boundaries! When Hashem gives us responsibility part of our fiber that was previously undisciplined / unformed is required to except FORM. The unformed parts of our life must accept boundaries! Without boundaries nothing will grow from the good soil provided by Hashem. The Torah states that “Hashem G-d made to grow...” The method that Hashem used to make grow was forms and boundaries!! Without boundaries, water would still be covering the soil. Without boundaries, darkness would be drowning out the light.

So in our Gematria we see Vah Yahtz Mach Hashem Elohim Meen Haw Ah Daw Maw {and Hashem G-d made to grow out of the soil}...OUT OF THE Soh Hoo, meaning out of the unformed soil... out of the water-covered soil, out of nothingness... every tree that is pleasant to look at, and good for [producing] food; the Tree of Life in the middle of the Garden, and the Tree of Knowledge of what is good and evil...

From right to left:

Vah Yahtz - Hashem - Elohim - Meen - Haw Ah Daw Maw

Vah Yahtz Hashem
180 = Hey 5 Vav 6 Hey 5 Yud 10 - Chess 8 Mem 40 Tzddi 90 Yud 10 Vav 6

86 = Mem 40 Y ud 10 Hey 5 Lamid 30 Aleph 1

Meen Haw Ah Daw Maw
145 = Hey 5 Mem 40 Dalet 4 Aleph 1 Hey 5 - Nun 50 Mem 40

411 = 180 + 86 + 145

Soh Hoo {out of the unformed soil}
411 = Vav 6 Hey 5 Sav 400

Holy reader, it is our forms and boundaries that identify us as Jews. Be proud of your heritage!

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk