In Judaism there is something that is called gematriah, translated as numerology. Numbers have significance, value apart from their natural one, a special meaning. This is what many people that learn Torah know.
In the life of my family, numbers play some mystical role tying people and generations. Sometimes I am trying to figure out how to connect the dots, and what the pictures made out of them mean.
The person who opened my eyes to real love, Love with a capital L was born on October 11. They say that a person born on that day is defined by thoughtfulness and seriousness. Thoughtfulness, for sure. They also say that friends and family often marvel at this person’s ability to let the needs of others outweigh their own. This was for sure true – every old relative of ours was visited by him every so often just because.
October 11 is also the birthday of my youngest niece all of two years old, a perfect picture of life to the fullest for her own amusement directing, it seems, every step of her parents and two big sisters. It does seem that she has a familial sense of humor. I keep wondering how are these two souls connected.
My daughter just got married making sure her wedding date is as close to March 15, the birthday of my father z’l as it could be. She was always attentive to everyone in the family, but now it seems with her family getting so much larger with the addition of a real Jewish persian one, her heart became even bigger, just like her grandfather’s and her father’s before that.
Two of my other relatives, a couple that spent all their life together have lost their lives right or very close to my birthday, on the Hag of Shavuot. He couldn’t spend anymore time without her, it seems, and so went after her exactly a year after losing her. Meanwhile, despite all of this, I still acknowledge the great holiday, and the fact that my Hebrew birthday falls on it.
And, then there is Hanukkah. The most joyous holiday in the middle of winter cold, and the saddest time in my family life. Although time has passed, and my life, thank Gd, changed so much for the better recently, no one in my family will ever forget three men going far far away at this time: a son, a father after him, and another son just a couple of years later.
It says in the Akeydat Yitzchak by Eliyahu Munk:
“Although in the affairs of man, numbers are used mostly for the purpose of keeping records, and the numbers themselves do not have independent significance, such is not the case in the Torah. Whenever numbers appear, they have an independent significance, imparted to them by their Creator”
If we look at our lives and everything around us a part of the Torah, we sometimes can get a glimpse of The Divine Plan at least as it concerns our own lives.
We are almost at 13th (the number that has interesting connotations, completely different in Jewish and Russian traditions) of June, that day that forever changed the lives of my family, all of it. Changed, obviously, for the worse. However, 1 boy and 3 little girls that she never got to see connect all of us today – her 3 girls and the rest of us living in 3 different countries.
Seven is my favorite number, and seven little kids have come to my life with the man I love. They now happily run to me, and I wonder if all of our souls are / were / will be somehow connected forever.
I am not even sure I was able to relay the thoughts that are fighting in my head for a while now. Maybe it’s age, and I am trying to rethink my life looking for significance where there is none. But maybe …. maybe I will still learn more about that and will find some new connections that I have never thought before of.