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Kenneth Cohen

Depth of Torah

The Baal Haturim is one of the commentators on the Torah, that was blessed with an incredible mind. He was a master of mathematics as well as a great Torah scholar.
These two traits allowed him to delve into the realm of סוד, where he revealed secrets of the Torah. One area of סוד, that he excelled in, was the use of Gematria. This meant attaching a numerical value to words of the text, and finding other words that had an equal numerical value.

The Gematria that is truly amazing from Parshat פקודי, comes from the words, ותכל כל עבודת המשכן, “And all of the work of the Mishkan was completed.” The Baal Haturim found that the same numerical value was contained in the words, בעשרים וחמשה בכסלו נגמר, “It was completed on the twenty fifth day of Kislev.”
There is a Midrash that confirms that the portable Temple of the desert, known as the Mishkan, only took two and a half months. There was an appeal from the nation to contribute all necessary materials on the day after Yom Kippur, the completion was on the date that eventually became Chanukah, and the dedication was delayed until the spring, on the first of Nissan.

This is a great example of showing that there is no book that compares with our Torah. It can be studied on many levels. But the depth of knowledge contained in it, cannot ever be completely known to any man. It is the task of every Jew to continue to study on his level, and gradually, more and more will be revealed to him.
Who knows, perhaps there are some great minds out there, that would make the Baal Haturim proud. This is what is meant by the Mishna that tells us to continue to review, because everything is contained in it.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at www.cafehebrew.com