The 613 Commandments
I got an email yesterday from myjewishlearning.com seeking a donation of $6.13. It suggested that by my doing so I would be performing one of the 613 mitzvahs as instructed in the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah. That got me thinking.
According to Wikipedia:
‘The Talmud notes that the Hebrew numerical value (gematria) of the word Torah is 611, and combining Moses’s 611 commandments with the first two of the Ten Commandments which were the only ones heard directly from God, adds up to 613. The Talmud attributes the number 613 to Rabbi Simlai, but other classical sages who hold this view include Rabbi Simeon ben Azzai and Rabbi Eleazar ben Yose the Galilean. It is quoted in Midrash Shemot Rabbah 33:7, Bamidbar Rabbah 13:15–16; 18:21 and Talmud Yevamot 47b.
‘Many Jewish philosophical and mystical works (e.g. by Baal HaTurim, the Maharal of Prague and leaders of Hasidic Judaism) find allusions and inspirational calculations relating to the number of commandments.
‘The tzitzit (“knotted fringes”) of the tallit (“[prayer] shawl”) are connected to the 613 commandments by interpretation: principal Torah commentator Rashi bases the number of knots on a gematria: the word tzitzit (Hebrew: ציצת (Biblical), ציצית, in its Mishnaic spelling) has the value 600. Each tassel has eight threads (when doubled over) and five sets of knots, totalling 13. The sum of all numbers is 613. This reflects the concept that donning a garment with tzitzit reminds its wearer of all Torah commandments.’
Other Mathematical Properties of 613
Again, according to Wikipedia:
‘613 is the sum of squares of two consecutive integers, 17 and 18, and is also a lucky number and thus a lucky prime.’
In other words The Stars and The Moon. Interesting.
The pomegranate is said in Judaism to have 613 seeds.
So what have all these entries about 613 have in common? They’re about God, and how to reach perfection: 6+1+3=10.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of GodRomans 3:23 KJV