Ancient Paths

Numerical Surprises

In Hebrew, each letter has a numerical value. The numerical value of the dreidel’s nungimmelhey and shin is 358. This is also the numerical value of some key words in Hebrew. It’s the same as Nachash – the snake that tempted Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge in the book of Genesis. It’s also the numerical value of the Hebrew word Moshiach, or Messiah, who will ultimately redeem the Jewish people.

Echoing both the lowest and the highest reaches of Jewish history, the letters of the dreidel remind us that Jewish history is ours to shape; through our actions we have the power to raise our Jewish nation up. The fact that the letters remind us of the Messiah also reassure us that no matter how much danger the Jewish people seem to be in, God will never abandon us.

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