Shaddai

Learn Hebrew

Audio Tanakh

Hebrew for Christians
BS''D
8.5  Overview of Hebrew Gematria

Printer-Friendly Version

Hebrew Gematria

Finding numerical relationships in the Texts

Within the earliest Jewish traditions, groups of Jewish scholars counted the number of times each letter appeared in the Scriptures (as well as the number of words, verses, paragraphs, etc.). These textual specialists were called Soferim (counters). The Soferim ensured that every Torah scroll (and the other books of the Tanakh) were identical, noting any unusual words and spellings and replicating them exactly through their scribal arts. Many Jews believe that Ezra the Scribe instituted many of the practices of the Soferim.

In the medieval mystical text called Sefer Yitzirah: The Book of Creation, the letters of the Alphabet are described as the stones used to build a house. They are called the "twenty two letters of foundation." This doctrine highlights the belief in the essential relationship between letters, words and the creative process.

Gematria is a type of numerological study that may be defined as one of more systems for calculating the numerical equivalence of letters, words, and phrases in a particular Hebrew text. These systems are used for the purpose of gaining insight into interrelating concepts and for finding correspondences between words and concepts. Although not identical, gematria is also in the same orbit as the so-called "Bible Codes" and "Equi-distant Letter Sequences" (ELS) that have become fashionable recently.

According to most practitioners, there are several methods used to calculate the numerical value for individual words and phrases. When converted to a number, words/phrases can then be compared to other words/phrases and similarities drawn. I list the most common Hebrew gematria methods below.

The Standard Method

Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is given an assigned number, beginning with one for Aleph, two for Bet, and so on. The tenth letter, Yod, is numerically equivalent to 10, and successive letters equal 20, 30, 40, and so on. The letter Kaf near the end of the alphabet, equals 100, and the last letter, Tav, equals 400. This method is sometimes called "Ragil." Using this method, you simply add up each letter of a given word (or phrase) to determine its numerical value:




Examples:
The value of the word shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 300+30+6+40 = 376.
The value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) is 10+5+6+5 = 26.

Note: In the Mispar Mussafi method, the value of a word (or phrase) is the standard gematria value plus the number of letters in the word (or phrase). For example, the value of the word shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 300+30+6+40+4 or 380, and the value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) is 10+5+6+5+4 or 30.

Mispar Gadol Method

The mispar gadol method is the same as the standard method (above) but counts the final forms (sofit) of the Hebrew letters as a continuation of the numerical sequence for the alphabet. These sofit letters are assigned from 500 to 900, respectively:




Example:
The value of the word shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 300+30+6+600 = 936.
The value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) is 10+5+6+5 = 26.

Mispar Katan Method

The mispar katan method calculates the value of each letter as its standard value but simply truncates all of the trailing zeros. Thus the Gematria of Chet is 8, Tet is 9, but Yod is 1 (not 10), Kaf is 2 (not 20), etc., Peh is 8, Tsade is 9, Qof is 1, Resh is 2, and so on:







Examples:
The value of the word shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 3+3+6+6 = 18.
The value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) is 1+5+6+5 = 17.

A variation of this method renders the value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) as 5+6+5+10 = 26 (standard gematria) but removes the zeros to form 2+6 = 8.

Ordinal Value Method

Using this method, each of the 27 Hebrew letters is assigned an ordinal value from one to twenty-two. For example, Aleph (the first letter) equals 1, Bet (the second letter) equals 2, and so on up to the final Tsade (the last letter), which equals 27:




Examples:
The value of the word shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 21+12+6+24 = 63.
The value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) is 10+5+6+5 = 26.

At Bash Method

Using at Bash, each letter (of a word or phrase) is exchanged with its "opposite" letter and then the result is calculated. "Opposite" letters are determined by substituting the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph) with the last letter (Tav), the second letter (Bet) with the next to last (Shin), and so on. The table below shows the values of individual letters:




Examples:
The value of the word shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 2+20+80+10 = 112.
The value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) is 40+90+80+90 = 300.

Mispar HaKadmi Method

With the mispar hakadmi method, each letter is the sum of the all the standard gematria letter values preceding it. Therefore, the value of Aleph is 1, the value of Bet is 1+2=3, the value of Gimmel is 1+2+3=6, and so on.

The table below shows the values of individual letters:




Examples:
The value of the word shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 1095+105+21+145 = 1366.
The value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) is 55+15+21+15 = 106.

Mispar HaPerati Method

With mispar haperati, the value of each letter is the square of its standard gematria value. Therefore, the value of Aleph is 1*1=1, the value of Bet is 2*2=4, the value of gimmel is 3*3=9, and so on. The table below shows the values of individual letters:




Examples:
The value of the word shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 90000+900+36+1600 = 92536.
The value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) is 100+25+36+25 = 186.


Note: the Mispar HaKellali method takes the standard gematria value of a word or phrase and squares its value. For example, the value for the word of Shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 300+30+6+40 or 376. Squaring that value yields 141,376.

Mispar Shemi Method

Millui or full-letter filling - The value of each letter is equal to the value of its name (the spelling of the name of the number comes from the Talmud). Therefore, the value of the letter Aleph is (1+30+80) = 111, Bet is (2+10+400) = 412, etc.




Examples:
The value of the word shalom (Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem) is 360+74+22+80 = 536.
The value of the word chen (Chet, Nun) is 418+106 = 524.
The value of the Name YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) is 20+6+22+6 = 54.

Gematria Learning Resources:

The Keys to the Bible. Bible Codes. Gematria. Equidistant Letter Sequences. You've heard about these things in the in the news, but have you ever looked at the evidence for yourself? Using this unique software program now you can!
This program also comes with quizzes, slide shows, a training movie, a more.

Click for details

Tanakh Plus. Bilingual Hebrew-English Bible with concordances and amazing Gematria tools. This software program allows you to do research on the Scriptures that more expensive programs cannot do. It also includes a complete Hebrew concordance of the Jewish Bible, invaluable for doing Hebrew Word Studies and analysis!

Click for details

<< Return


 

Hebrew for Christians
Copyright © John J. Parsons
All rights reserved.

email