n. An ancient system of Hebrew numerology in which each Hebrew letter possesses a numerical value, allowing words or phrases to express possible "hidden" meaning (derived by adding the letters' values).
Languages of Origin
- Textual Hebrew
גימטריה, may derive from Greek for "geometry" or "gamma + tria" (Gamma, 3rd letter of alphabet)
- Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
- North America
- Great Britain
- South Africa
- Australia / New Zealand
- The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003).
- The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
- The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
- Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).
Who Uses This
According to gematria, the letter aleph corresponds with the number 1, while the letter bet represents a value of 2. The Talmud used a semi-decimal approach as the 11th letter is 20, twelfth 30, the nineteenth 100, the twentieth 200, up to 400.
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