Parshas BaMidbar
Numbers 1:1 - 4:20

The Chapter of Life ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Will Goodman, may he rest in peace.

Story: The Chapter of My Life
When I was a young child completing the sixth grade, my father said to me, "Son, you have completed a chapter in your life. You're growing up." When I was finishing middle school, he again said to me, "Son, you have just finished a chapter in your life." Upon graduating from high school he said the same thing. Upon graduating from college, marriage, post grad, etc. he would say something to the same effect. Then there were those times like when I entered the military or when our first son was born or when we purchased our first home. He would say, "Son, you're beginning a new chapter in your life."

My father associated events in life as pages and chapters in the book of one's life. It's a very interesting concept. One could say that we are known by the pages and chapters of our life. Every day is a sentence or maybe several paragraphs.

In this week's parsha, men within B'nei Yisroel are selected to serve in the army based upon their heritage, upon their family ancestry. The nation as a whole is divided into camps based upon their father's family ancestry. So in this sense we could say that on a larger scale each family member is part of this huge book of history and events, etc. One may think in terms that each of us is a paragraph or a few pages recorded in this massive eternal book. In fact in Genesis 5:1 we read that there is a sefer entitled "The Book of the History of Man." The Torah speaks of the "Book of the Covenant" {Exodus 24:7} and the "Book of Wars" {Numbers 21:14}. Most of us are acquainted with what our sages term as "the Book of Life." Each of us is inscribed in the Book of Life. We pray each Rosh Ha Shanah, New Year, that we will be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year.

The word Sefer, meaning "book" is found dozens of times throughout Tenach. There is also another term which has the exact same spelling as sefer. It is in fact Saw Pawr, meaning "to count" as in to number or as in to account for one's actions. Then there is See Payr, meaning to recount, not like the Florida elections but like recounting the story of Pesach or to relate an event, etc. Then there is Su Pahr, meaning to be told, to be narrated as in a story. There is also a second meaning to See Payr, which is "to cut."

Dear reader, the meaning of the letters Samech, Pey, Reish include the book which counts our actions as a record of what we have done or not done as in a recounting of a story. In the end what is written in our book will determine if we 'get the ax,' i.e., cut from the Book of Life, G-d forbid.

So, holy reader, the concept of our lives being written or recorded in the ledger of the Eternal Book is not a new concept. It is thousands of years old. This being the situation, maybe we should stop to consider just what is being written about us. What has been written has passed. It cannot be erased. It is permanently inscribed for all to read. All that any of us can do NOW is to be careful about what is written from this point on.

Now we have related this to focus on two Gematria words. Meesh Pah Chas, meaning "family", is frequently associated in Parshas BaMidbar with family ancestry. The second word is Vi Chaw Saw Taw, meaning "you shall write." We especially associate this word with the Shema with a Mem added. The word is Voo Chi Sawv Tawm, meaning "and you shall write them [the words of Torah] upon the doorposts of your house and on your gateposts." Deuteronomy 6:9

Meesh Pah Chas {family}
828 = Sav 400 Ches 8 Pey 80 Shin 300 Mem 40

Vi Chaw Saw Taw, meaning {you shall write}
828 = Sav 400 Bais 2 Sav 400 Chof 20 Vav 6

Chassidim, what is really intended here in addition to what we write on our doorposts and gateposts is the concept that our lives are a book, a written account recounting our Torah mitzvahs and Torah observances. When we pray "these words shall be upon your heart," our understanding should be that we have the power to carefully observe them, thus insuring that in fact they are written upon our hearts and the hearts of our children.

Both the Gematria of Meesh Pah Chas {meaning "family"} and the Gematria Vi Chaw Saw Taw, {meaning "you shall write"} are 828. If we observe their mystical connection we will insure that our contribution to the history of man and to our family ancestry will be a record filled with Torah Mitzvahs and observance that will be recounted for generations to come!

May Hashem bless us with Torah Mitzvahs and Torah observance!

Best wishes!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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