Chayei Sarah
Genesis 23:1 - 25:18

Death / Life ©

By Dr. Akiva G. 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 Mrs. Ethel Sakash Belk, my mother, may she rest in peace.

If you would like to dedicate a Gematria lesson for our cyberspace class in the memory of a dear friend or loved one we will do this for a gift of Chai, $18.00 American dollars.

The Torah's usage for the word "DEATH" Vah Taw Maws, meaning "and death" is an interesting choice because Vah Taw Maws is not the common word for death. Moos is the common word for death. Hashem chooses special words to emphasize special meanings. Here Hashem helps us to understand what happens when our soul is released from our body at death. We discuss this more in the article "The Life of the Soul," a study of Parshas Chayei Sarah.
{Read from right to left}

Vah Taw Maws
846 =
Sav = 400 + Mem = 40 + Sav= 400 + Vav = 6

Sav Vav Mem

Both Taw Maws and Moos are found together in Hashem's warning, "But from the Tree of Knowledge of what is good and evil, you shall not eat from it, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die." Genesis 2:17 The exact translation is "you will die death." This means your soul will be separated from G-d. When man ceased to observe Hashem's commands he was immediately uprooted from his place of perfection! This is what happened when man sinned. Man's soul suffered separation from G-d.

How do we know this? Neither Adam nor Chava {Eve} physically died as we thought they would based upon Hashem's instruction "...you will certainly die!" So what actually happened? What died? Their minds as individual computer terminals were separated from G-d, the Master Computer. They could no longer access G-d as in the past. Their access was denied!

Holy reader, each of us from birth only experience our computer terminal being separated from G-d! We have no concept of what it may have been like being connected to access the Creator's knowledge bank. We have only experienced separation. That being the situation one must ask, 'What can restore our access to G-d as Adam experienced before his sin?'


Our lifetime goal is to restore access through observing Hashem's commandments as stated in the Torah... When we die in the physical we should be approaching a life of "PERFECTION." The Gematria Mispar Katan of Vah Taw Maws = 18 which represents Chai, meaning life. So in the same word Vah Taw Maws we have both death and we have life.
{read from right to left}

Vah Taw Maws
18 =
Sav = 4 + Mem = 4 + Sav= 4 + Vav = 6

18 =
Yud = 10 + Ches = 8

When man is born he begins with the Aleph and through life, G-d willing, climbs to the greatest height, to the letter Sav which is the last letter in the Aleph Bais. The Sav is twenty-two steps from the beginning. The letter Sav, representing observance and PERFECTION, is the letter {"sign"} that restores access to G-d! In heaven, Hashem begins with the Sav and reaches down to the first letter, the Aleph where man is. So in the word Taw Maws we see the ending Letter Sav representing Hashem reaching out to man from heaven on the one side. On the other side we observe man at life's conclusion arriving at the Sav which represents "MAN'S PERFECTION" at death.

We see this being accomplished by "Shema Yisroel":

"Hear, O Israel: Hashem our G-d Hashem is One! And you shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: {Vi Shee Nahn Tawm} And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as tefillin between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house, and on your gates."

Observance of Vi Shee Nahn Tawm restores access. The gematria of Vi Shee Nahn Tawm is 846. Vi Shee Nahn Tawm reverses the effects of separation.
{read from right to left}

Vi Shee Nahn Tawm
846 =
Mem = 40 + Sav = 400 + Nun = 50 + Nun = 50 + Shin = 300 + Vav = 6

We see this being accomplished by fulfilling Hashem's commandments. You shall keep {guard} the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command you today, {Lah Ah Soh Sawm} to do them. Lah Ah Soh Sawm reinforces the importance of observance! The Gematria of Lah Ah Soh Sawm is 846. Lah Ah Soh Sawm reverses the effects of separation.
{read from right to left}

Lah Ah Soh Sawm
846 =
Mem = 40 + Sav = 400 + Vav = 6 + Sin = 300 + Ayin = 70 + Lamid = 30

The beginning Sav represents PERFECTION and the ending Sav represents PREFECTION. At Sarah's death they witnesness that her life was {Sav} perfect - {Mem} from - {Sav} perfect. In other words Sarah's life was perfect from beginning to end because she followed Hashem's perfect commands. Our sages state, 'When Sarah was 100 she was like 20 years old, regarding sin. ...At twenty Sarah was considered NOT to have sinned because she had not been punished for any sin. So in Sarah's life and death we see perfection... we see eternal life... So the focus on the title of this parsha is on life as opposed to death.

So, dear reader, how does this affect us, seeing as a more common form for the Hebrew word death is used {Moos} as opposed to Vi Taw Maws? Is eternal life as certain for us as our matriarch Sarah? Moos does not begin with the Hebrew letter Sav. For most of us, our beginning was considerably differrent than Sarah's... Yet Moos begins with the mystical letter of Mem which is the center letter of Emes, meaning truth. Also note that our final letter is a Sav which is the last letter for Emes. The middle letter is a Vav which conects the Mem {the center letter of truth} and the Sav {the final letter of truth}. {See Sav on JewishPath Gematria page.} This indicates that our conclusion is determined by the "Truth", by the Torah of Truth! The Sav was used by Hashem in Ezekiel 9 to differentiate the righteous ones destined for life in the World to Come from the wicked who were doomed to perish in This World and in the next. Our final destination is a Sav but our question is which Sav. The Sav of life or the Sav of death? In the end it depends upon our observance...

{read from right to left}

Emes = Truth
Mem Aleph


Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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