October 27, 2005
Secret Codes Within the First Five Verses of Genesis
By HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok. Copyright (c) 2005 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.


The topic of the Genesis narrative is personally very intimidating to me. I have studied Torah for over a quarter century, I have delved in Genesis repeatedly, and as much as I do uncover, at the same time I discover just how much more there is to explore. The text is overwhelming and its profundity is beyond what words can describe. I cannot see how anyone exploring this narrative with a mathematical eye cannot but see the Higher Hand than stands behind this text. After much study, I confess I am left with much frustration. With all that I understand, there is so much more that I do not. Frankly, in my opinion the Torah contains way too much material for the human mind to grasp and comprehend.

In order to share with you my readers a glimpse of exactly to what I am referring, I am writing this essay. Due to the overwhelming amount of material and information, I cannot in any precise form deal with more than just the first five verses of Genesis. These five verses contain just 52 words consisting of 197 letters. Yet, the numerical values of the words, phrases, Reshei Tevot (capital letters) and Sofei Tevot (end letters) will begin to expose us to layers of understanding far deeper than what the simple text appears to be saying. Indeed, everything I am about to reveal, I confess just scratches the surface of the secret codes to be found within the Torah. May my efforts inspire new explorers who will join me in the quest for the Truth.

Please note that in order for this material to be understood one must be able to examine the five verses in their original Hebrew. Translations here will matter little. We will be dealing with mathematics and Hebrew. Knowledge of both is required.

Gen. 1:1 - Bereshit Bara Elokim Et HaShamayim V’et HaAretz.

There are seven words in this pasuk. Is this a coincidence or possibly a shadowing that the world to be created will be done so in seven days? There are 28 letters in this pasuk. 28 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word Koah (power). Indeed, nothing more than the act of creation reveals the power of the Creator. Is this what is subtly be suggested by having exactly this many letters in precisely this place?

The Reshei Tevot of this pasuk are Bet, Bet, Alef, Alef, Hey, Vav, and Hey. Their numerical value is 22. As we know, there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alef-bet. Also, as we know, G-d created the universe by “speaking” it into being. G-d said, “let there be” and there was. Thus, G-d spoke the universe into being. What G-d “spoke” were words. Words are made up of letters, specifically the 22 letters of the Hebrew alef-bet. The Kabbalah teaches that the entire universe and everything within it are just different combinations of Hebrew letters. Thus, the entire universe is one construct after another of the 22. Is this being subtly suggested by having the Reshei Tevot of the first pasuk add up to 22?

The Sofei Tevot of this first pasuk add up numerically to 1,271. This number was too large for me to calculate mentally. Maybe someday someone smarter than I will come along and offer meaning and intent here whereas I cannot.

Gen. 1:2 – V’haaretz Haytah Tohu Vabohu V’hoshekh Al Penei T’hom V’ruah Elokim M’rahefet Al Penei Hamayim.

This pasuk contains 14 words and 52 letters. Both of these numbers are significant. 14 is the numerical value for Yad (hand, which also means a memorial or a sign). It is also double the number of the seven words in the first pasuk, is there a meaning in this?

14 is also the numerical value of the word Zahav (gold). This is the metal said to signify Divine severity. The Midrash and Kabbalah teach that between the first verse and the second verse of Genesis a great deal of unrecorded events transpired. Our Sages teach that prior to the creation of our world G-d created and then proceeded to destroy other universes. The Kabbalah refers to this as the “shattering of the vessels.” Thus in the beginning was revealed the element of Divine severity. Indeed, the Kabbalah teaches that the entire first act of creation known as the “Tzimtzum” the withdrawal of Divine Light from a finite place in order to create a space for a universe to exist, was itself an act of establishing boundary and demarcation, this being an expression of the Divine “severity.” Is any of this being hinted to by the fact that the pasuk speaking about Tohu and Bohu has exactly 14 words, which implies a connection between the number and the concept?

52 is a significant number in the Kabbalah. 52, Bet Nun, is the numerical value of the expanded form of the Holy Name Havaya (Yod Kay Vav Kay) that corresponds to the tenth sefirat Malkhut and referred to as BEN. Malkhut is the metaphor corresponding to physical space. It is here in Malkhut (BEN) that the shattering of the vessels occurred. It is no coincidence that the 14 words that speak of the devastation left by the primordial shattering of the vessels should have 52 letters in them, a subtle hint to the Holy Name of BEN that was blemished thereby.

The Reshei Tevot of this pasuk add up to 1,175. This number perplexed me for some time until I realized that this number is actually 25 x 47. These two numbers play a significant role in the pasukim to come. So we will see that this number 1,175 has great meaning about the nature of the rectification of the shattering of the vessels. Yet, we must discuss the 25 and 47 each in their place. Only then can their combination here in pasuk 2 make any sense.

The Sofei Tevot of the pasuk adds up to 735. I have not yet been able to ascertain any significant meaning to this number for being in this place. As I said above, I invite and encourage all others to explore the hidden possibilities concealed herein.

Gen. 1:3 - Vayomer Elokim Y’hi Ohr Vayhi Ohr.

Six words made up of 23 letters. We recognize the significance of six right away for it was in six days of work that G-d spoke the creation into being. Here is an interesting side note; G-d spoke creation into being and then rested on the seventh day, the Shabat. G-d’s “rest” must have been that He refrained from “speech.” What a proper moral lesson for us; to observe the Shabat by being silent, instead of running off our mouths with all types of disrespectful and dishonorable speech.

23 is the numerical value for the word Hayah (life), found in Gen. 1:20. There is a direct relationship between the Light created here on Day 1 and the Life Force in creation. Indeed, this Light of Day 1 was no ordinary physical light similar to the Sun and Moon. These were created on Day 4. This Light of Day 1 is something different, significant and most profound.

The Reshei Tevot of this pasuk add up to 25. By itself I am not able to apply meaning to this number in this place. However, as I mentioned above, by associating this number 25 with the number 47 to be introduced shortly, then the meaning of the Reshei Tevot of this pasuk will soon become apparent. We will also associate it with the number 42 to be introduced in the next pasuk.

The Sofei Tevot of this pasuk are most revealing and signify a profound teaching of our Sages regarding this Light of Day 1. Our Sages have taught that this Light of Day 1 was concealed and not revealed here on earth. This Light is said to be stored away for the righteous in the World to Come. Is it a coincidence that the numerical value of the Sofei Tevot of this pasuk adds up to 660, the numerical value of the word Seter (concealed), as in the verse, “one who sits in the supernal concealment” (Psalm 91:1). The Sofei Tevot suggest to us the hidden nature of this Light of Life created on Day 1. More about this Light will be discussed as we proceed.

Gen. 1:4 – Va’yar Elokim Et Ha’ohr Ki Tov --- Va’yavdel Elokim Beyn Ha’ohr U’beyn Ha’hoshekh.

This pasuk is prescribed as one verse, however in order to understand its hidden meaning we must break it into two section, one for each act mentioned within it. At first G-d sees that the Light is good. Then secondly He separates it from the darkness. Both of these acts each have their hints and their meanings.

Together the pasuk has 12 words and 45 letters. Both of these values have profound meaning. Twelve is a very significant number throughout the Torah. It is the number of the Tribes of Israel, the months of the year and the signs of the Zodiac. Each one of these three was created in correspondence with the other two. The Sefer Yetzirah explains the significance of the number 12.

The Hebrew letters are divided into three groups, “mothers,” doubles and singles. The single letters are 12 in number. The Sefer Yetzirah describes that these 12 letters gave rise to the physical forms and parameters of our physical space/time universe. The metaphor used to describe physical space is that of a square with 12 point to its edges and center. Thus 12 comes to describe the boundaries of that aspect of creation generically referred to as “the earth.” Mind you, when the Torah speaks about the creation of “the earth,” it is speaking about our entire physical space/time universe; our planet, outer space and every other planet and star out there. The “Heaven” spoken of in verse one is a reference to the creation of what we call the Heavenly universe, of angels, the Supernal Throne and the like. The Genesis narrative does not speak about the creation of these. It mentions only the creation of our physical universe. Thus with the separation of Light that is to be concealed in “Heaven” (the non-physical spiritual “other-side” of the universe), a reference to the 12 metaphorical dimensional parameters of space/time is here subtly referred to.

45 has great significance in that this number is a reference to both G-d and man. The name Adam is numerically equal to 45. Yet, there is an element of Divine revelation also associated to this number. The expanded Holy Name of Havaya (Yod Kay Vav Kay) of 45 Mem Hey (MAH) corresponds to the sefirat Tiferet. This is metaphorically also referred to as Zeir Anpin, the Small Face of G-d, or His metaphorical “Face” of Justice (as opposed to Keter, the metaphorical Long Face, the Face of Pure Mercy). This Face of G-d is metaphorically called MAH (Mem Hey) and is assigned the Divine “task” to be the rectifier of the shattered vessels of the BEN. Indeed, it is the MAH that rectifies and elevates the BEN. Yet, in order to do this, there must first be a clear separation between the two. This is the secret of the “nesirah” (sefirotic separations), the meditations of which permeate the holidays of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur.

The fact that G-d would look upon the Light of Day 1 and see it to be good signifies the function and work of the MAH; it is thus no wonder that it is hinted to here. Mind you, when later the Torah teaches that man was created in the Image of G-d, it is in this image of the MAH in which we are created. Thus, like the MAH above, man below inherits the obligation of rectifying the fallen vessels and repairing the physical universe symbolized as the BEN. For this do we have Torah, mitzvot and the practices of Halakha.

The Light of Day 1 is said to be concealed. The Light of MAH above does not shine directly here below on earth. In order for the Light of MAH to shine here on earth, it needs its own vessel. This is the soul of man Adam, numerically 45, as is MAH. We are the vessels of MAH and thus the Light is within us. This is the Light of the Neshama soul, and it is good, and separated by Divine design from darkness.

The Reshei Tevot of the pasuk together add up to 67, the numerical value of Binah (understanding), which is the Name of the sefirah from which comes forth all of creation, and indeed, also emanates both MAH and BEN. We will discuss more about this 67 as we proceed, but first we must review each action of the pasuk separately.

The Reshei Tevot of the first action, that of G-d seeing that light and it being good (the first six words), numerically equals 42. 42 is a significant number is creation and is spoken of in Kabbalah as being a reference to a specific combination of 42 letters through which G-d created the universe. Being that G-d’s purpose in creating the universe was to bestow His good upon His handiwork, the source of that good, this 42-letter Name, is rightfully subtly hinted to here.

The numerical value of the final six words is also 25 and thus we have the full value of 67, Binah. Binah is a very significant power that is called the Supernal Mother and author of creation. Binah is the source of the Neshama soul and practically speaking is manifest within the human experience as our thinking rational minds. Indeed, our minds (both conscious and unconscious) are the identity and meaning of our Neshama souls.

Binah is the power of thought, of mind. Metaphorically speaking, prior to G-d speaking out creation, He first “thought” about it. The realm and dimension of pure thought is outside of our physical space/time universe. Thus our spiritual source literally comes from out of this world. This realm of mind called the sefirat Binah or the sefirotic Face of Supernal Mother (Imma Ila’ah) is our true spiritual home, and thus the ‘womb” of creation. It is here that parameters are measured and established prior to their being given form. Thus Binah/Imma represents that aspect which we call the source of Divine severity. Not that Binah is severe in and of itself, but the power of the mind is specifically used to create differentiation and to distinguish one thing from another. In this way creation becomes the multiple manifest wonder that G-d has intended it to be.

In pasuk 3 we read about the creation of Light and wondered about its words being formed with 25 letters with apparently no meaning. Now we see that this Light was good, spoken of with 42 letters. 42 + 25 = 67. Together, both make a reference to Binah and suggest to us to true nature of this concealed Light of Day 1. this Light of Life is the Light of pure mind, and clear thought. it can be called the Light of consciousness; a gift truly reserved for those who make the efforts to receive it. While this world of physical parameters only allows us a glimpse of this primordial light, we know the path how to cultivate a relationship with it. This is why our Sages have said that the study of Torah is more important than anything. For by bonding one’s mind with the Words of Torah one bonds with the source of Light concealed within them. Thus study brings one to enlightenment and enlightenment brings one to Life. This thus fulfills the purpose of creation, when one is essentially embracing the same 42-letter Name as did G-d in creation. When one studies Torah and acts based upon what is learned one is acting as the MAH wielding the 42 letter Name and thus fulfilling the purpose of creation, which is the repair of the shattered vessels of the BEN.

The Sofei Tevot of this pasuk also confirm this message. The Sofei Tevot of the first three words clearly spell out Alef, Mem, Tav, Emet, (truth). The next three Sofei Tevot numerically equal the word Harbeh (much). Thus the first six Sofei Tevot of this pasuk clearly state “much truth.” These three Sofei Tevot also numerically equal the value of the word Zohar (brilliance) and is commonly referred to as a reference to the book of that name and thus a general reference to Kabbalah study. There is no greater rectification for the mind and the purity of thought than the study of Kabbalah. This is the truth. This is what “is good” in the eyes of G-d. This is the secret of the Light of Day 1.

The last six Sofei Tevot numerically equal 390, the value of the word Shamayim, the place where the Light of Day 1 in concealed. A fitting hint to subtly state when making a reference to the darkness, which is what is left once Light is concealed. Yet, this darkness also holds its mysteries. 390 is also the numerical value of the word HaShekhina (the Divine Presence), a reference to the Divine Holy Name of BEN (52) mentioned above. This Divine aspect underlying our physical space/time universe is said to be “in darkness,” concealed through human ignorance. The only way to release the Shekhina and elevate BEN is through MAH, which is the refinement of the mind through the observance of the Torah.

Gen. 1:5 – Vayikra Elokim La’ohr Yom V’lahoshekh Kara Laylah Vayhi Erev Vayhi Boker Yom Ehad.

There are 13 words made up of 49 letters in this pasuk. 13 is the numerical value of the word Ehad (one) as in the Shema. Interestingly, the word Ehad is here found at the end of the pasuk. Indeed, this pasuk does not say “the first day,” but rather Day 1. This indicates a specific period of time, but not necessarily the first period of time. 13 is also the numerical value of Ahavah (love). For indeed, it is an act of love of G-d’s part that there be a clear and defined distinction between day and night, between periods of activity and rest, between enlightenment and ignorance. For if all were the same and no differentiation in existence, how then would the shattered vessels be recognized, all the more so repaired?

49 is also a number of significance. 49 as is known is 7 x 7. The seven days of creation are said to correspond to the seven lower sefirot. It was in these seven that the shattering of the vessels occurred and therefore our universe was created in seven metaphorical days corresponding to these sefirot. As is known each sefirah has within it an aspect of each of the others; thus in essence we have not just seven, but seven times seven, thus 49. 49 is also the numerical value of the expanded Holy Name Havaya of MAH (45) plus the numerical value of the base 4 letters (Yod, Kay, Vav, Kay). It is the MAH that rectifies the “seven days.” It is only fitting that it should be subtly referred to here.

It is here in the Reshei Tevot that we have some profound and rather practical meanings. The numerical value of Reshei Tevot of the words, “Vayikra Elokim Laohr Yom” is 47. This number is most revelatory here. 47 is the numerical value of the two Holy Names Havaya (Yod Kay Vav Kay) and Ehyeh (Alef Hey Yod Hey). Throughout the Kavanot system of the Ari’zal/Rashash these two Names figure prominently. The Kabbalah teaches that indeed it is the sefirotic Face of Zeir Anpin, the MAH, that rectifies the shattered vessels of BEN. However, this repair takes place in accordance to a process. Remember, MAH is the metaphorical Face of Justice. Yet, for Justice to reign and be implemented, it must first receive input from both the “mind” and the “heart.” In order for MAH to shine it needs to receive its power from the upper sefirot of Binah (the supernal Mind) and Hokhma (the supernal Spirit). These are referred to metaphorically as Imma (Binah) and Abba (Hokhma), for they both extend their influence and power into the MAH in accordance to a very intricate and precise formula known and practiced by authentic Kabbalistic meditators.

47 is thus the number of the union of Hokhma, represented by Havaya and Binah, represented by Ehyeh. When the two are merged, then there is a union of heart (spirit) and mind, conscious and unconscious. With full inner harmony, the expression of spiritual/mental energy is complete and is thus able to penetrate the lower worlds of activity and translate from potential into actual and realistic change. In this way the shattered vessels of the BEN are repaired. Thus the “calling of the Light day” signifies the merger and union of conscious and unconscious mental faculties thus bringing completion of strength and focus of purpose to get the job done.

This procedure for the manifestation of Light and the rectification of the shattered vessels also seems to be subtly indicated above by the Reshei Tevot of the second pasuk, which as you remember had the numerical value of 1,175. If we take the value of 47, the number of the rectifying power and multiply it by 25 the number signifying the Light itself, we get the value of 1,175. Indeed, with the immediate mention of the primordial devastation and void comes a subtle hint as to its repair.

The numerical value of the Reshei Tevot of “V’lahoshekh Kara Laylah” is 136. This is the numerical value of the word Kol (voice). The Voice plays a very important role in Kabbalistic meditation. It is said that the voice of the individual below becomes a vessel for the supernal Voice from above. This is the secret of Ruah HaKodesh (divine inspiration) and prophecy. The voice here below however pure and refined still is no match in intensity and power for the Voice above. In comparison therefore, it is like darkness to the day. Therefore, the secret of its presence, its reality and its limited potential is subtly referred to here.

The numerical value of the Reshei Tevot of the final six words is 95. Alone, I failed to find the significance of their meaning in this place. However, when the numerical value of the Reshei Tevot of this entire pasuk is viewed we receive a by now well- understood message. The value of the Reshei Tevot of the entire pasuk is 278, no coincidentally the value of the words Ohr Ganuz (concealed light), the meaning of which we have already discussed.

The Sofei Tevot of this pasuk also have what to reveal. The first four Sofei Tevot equal 281, the numerical value of the words Ruah Binah (the spirit of understanding). The next three Sofei Tevot equal 26, the numerical value of the Name Havaya. Finally, the final Sofei Tevot of this pasuk equal 266, which interestingly is the value of the name Hevron. Hevron is the location of the cave burial chamber of Adam and Eve and the Patriarchs. It is said that the cave is the entryway into the Garden of Eden. Many a strange tale has been told about people coming too close into the mouth of the cave and then disappearing forever. The Garden is said to be the place where the concealed Light is to be found. Some how there is some type of space/time passageway in this cave that can transport one into Eden. The details of this are best kept secret due to the volatile political situation in the area at this time.


It is interesting to note that if we add the numerical value of the Reshei Tevot of the three pasukim, three through five, that speak about the creation of Light, we have the numerical value of 370. This is the value of the word Shalem (complete).

Also, take note that is the first two verses that speak about creation prior to the forming of Light, we have 21 words in total. We recognize this number as the numerical value of the Holy Name Ehyeh, the Name of the sefirat Binah, the supernal mother who metaphorically “gave birth” to creation. Ehyeh is here hinted to right from the start. The following three pasukim speaking about the Light have a total of 31 words. This is the numerical value of the Holy Name El (Alef Lamed). This Name corresponds to the first of the seven lower sefirot Hesed. It was the attribute of Hesed that was manifest on Day 1 of creation, so it is fitting that the name associated with it should be hinted to here in this way.

52 words in total. We now know the value of 52 is Havaya of BEN, the sefirat Malkhut, the Shekhina, whose shattered vessels are in need of repair. The Torah has come to tell Her story and direct us in assisting in the rectification.

As for why these five pasukim has 197 letters, 80 that speak about the initial creation and a remaining 117 that speak about Day 1, sorry, I cannot say. The only significance of the number 117 that I know of is that it is the number of angels who guard over a certain type of communication with Heaven. Is this reference to 117 a reference to them and that they are somehow conduits for the enlightened mind to receive the sparks of the Light of Day 1 here in this world? I have not received a tradition on this from my teachers and therefore I am not in a position of authority to say. I can only raise the question. Let is suffice that the answer is known in Heaven.

Well, there you have it. This is the best I can do with the little time and ability that I have. I pray that I may have opened up these words for you just a crack. I pray that you may walk away from this study with a little more appreciation of the profundity of Torah and with a whole lot more respect for G-d, the author.

May HaShem bless you and continue to enlighten your minds as you walk the paths of Torah.


Shalom, HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok

Thank you for reading our KosherTorah.com essays. If you would like to express your appreciation for our work and to support our endeavors, please click on the link below.

phone: 818-345-0888
Stop! Take a moment, and say a sincere "thank you" to HaShem for all the the good things you have right now.