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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [1]

a word borrowed from the Greek, either corresponding to Γεωμετρία or Γραμματεία , denotes, among the Cabalists, a rule according to which the Scripture was explained. The idea of this rule was. since every letter is a numeral, to reduce the word to the number it contains, and to explain the word by another of the same quantity. Thus, from the words, "Lo! three men stood by him" ( Genesis 18:2), it is deduced that these three angels were Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, because והנה שלשה ; And Lo! Three Men, and אלו מיכאל גבריאל ורפאל , These Are Michael, Gabrie, And Raphael, are of the same numerical value, as will be seen from the following reduction to their numerical value of both these phrases: ו ה נ ה ש ל ש ה 5+300+30+300+5+50+5+6=701 ל ו מ י כ א ל ג ב ר י א ל 30+1+10+200+2+3+30+ 1 +20 +10+40 +6+30 ו ר פ א ל א +1 +30 +1 +80+200+6=701. From the passage, "And all the inhabitants of the earth were of one language" ( Genesis 11:1), is deduced that all spoke Hebrew; שפה being changed for its synonym לשון , and הקדש =5+100+4+300=409, is substituted for its equivalent אחת =l+8+400=409. Or the word צמת in the passage, "For behold, I will bring forth my servant, the Branch" ( Zechariah 3:8), must mean the Messiah; for it amounts numerically to the same as מנחם "Comforter" ( Lamentations 1:16)=138. So יבא שילה in the passage, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come," amounts numerically to the same as משיח =358; hence Shiloh must be the Messiah. (See Cabala). (B.P.)