The middle letter of the Torah is….

The middle letter in the Torah is in this week’s reading, and is a Vav. It appears in the word gachon (belly) in Leviticus 11:42.
A Torah scroll writer is called a sofer”, which literally means ‘someone who counts’. I think of mother duck who “counts” her eggs. Anything we really care about, we treat with utmost attention. Counting the Torah letters was no different. A Torah scroll contains 304,805 letters, so this Vav should be the 152,403rd letter (with 152,403 letters on either side). However, a careful count (which I admit, I didn’t do but accept the findings of those who did), shows that this Vav is actually the 157,237th letter. The middle letter accordingly would be in Leviticus 8:28, and is an Alef of the word הוא, hu (pronounced like who), which stands for He, and that’s another long story.
But most still teach that it’s the Vav. There are ways to rearrange the count; say we’re counting “long” letters, “unusual” letters, with or without spaces; how are we counting “double words” (“Abraham, Abraham” in Genesis 25:19) and others. One way or another, we teach that it’s the Vav.
Vav, the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, literally means a “hook” and is used as “and” in the Hebrew language. For example Abraham and Sarah is “Avraham veSarah”. Extra meaning is added by the fact that “and” in Hebrew is not a separate word but only one letter that “hooks” to the next word and becomes one with it.
I often say that the commentary teaches more about the commentator than about the issue. I believe this is a critical rule in learning. In this case, even though we count the letter carefully over and over again, the message is stronger than the objective count. Vav, the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, literally means a “hook” and is used as “and” in the Hebrew language. For example Abraham and Sarah is “Avraham veSarah”. Extra meaningful is added by the fact that “and” in Hebrew is not a separate word but only one letter that “hooks” to the next word and becomes one with it.
We want to be mindful that this whole book is all about making a meaningful connection, between people, and between us and G-d.
And while we’re on letters:
The three most frequently occurring letters in Hebrew are yod, heh and vav. These are also the letters that make G-d’s name. According to some, these are the hints for G-d’s presence in the world; according to others, this is how the world was made – it was all one “G-d block”, which was broken into smaller chunks that we can comprehend and that will be meaningful to us.
Shabbat Shalom.

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2 Responses to The middle letter of the Torah is….

  1. Efrat Simhi-Aloni says:

    מקסים!

    תודה רבה! אפרת

  2. neskama says:

    Michal…shavuah tov….love the G-d block picture….thanks

    Tomorrow as soon to 12:30 as you can get.

    Neska

    For fast-acting relief, try slowing down – Lily Tomlin

    ________________________________

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