Notariken and the Hebrew Letters

The Greek word Notariken means Letter substitution. Letter Notariken is a well known method of revealing Torah Wisdom. There are many different alphabets within the Hebrew Aleph Bet. One of them is the well known regular order of the Hebrew Aleph Bet. One understanding is that when letters follow the normal pattern that is considered a Chesed relationship within the frame of the meaning of the word. When the letters follow the Reverse order the Torah teaches that there is a Gevurah or Judgment relationship within the frame of the meaning of the word. Let me explain.

The word Av spelled Aleph Bet means father or dad. Also, the word Aba spelled Aleph Bet Aleph means father. The order of the letters in Av is the regular order. Dad generally implies the loving kindness parent since he is the one who provides the Parnasa and the sharing aspect of housing and food for the children. Father implies a mixture of Loving Kindness and Judgment which are both necessary in the raising of children. Yet we can see that the rules as explained above do work.

Mother or Mom are also spelled in a similar way. Aleph Mem spells Mother and is pronounced Ehm and Aleph Mem Aleph spells Mom pronounced Emah. So we can see that the female is also included in these rules of Torah.

Each transformation system of Notariken relates to a Partzuf and a Sefirah. The Atbash system relates to the Partzuf of Imma and the Sefirah of Binah. This is the teaching of the Modern Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh.

Now let's look at the Aleph Bet itself as it will help us relate to the Notariken. The first row is the regular order of the Aleph Bet and the second row is the reverse order of the Aleph Bet. Together they make up one of the Letter Substitution Methods. It is called:

Atbash א - ת: ב - ש:

The Naming of all the different methods follows, for the most part, the same pattern of naming. As you can see At represents Aleph substitutes for a Tav and Bash relates to a Bet substituting for a Shin.

א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת

ת ש ר ק צ פ ע ס נ מ ל כ י ט ח ז ו ה ד ג ב א

The Atbash substitution follows the top row to the bottom row. As an example the Pey becomes the Vav; the Yood becomes a Mem; and the Caf becomes a Lamed.

The Atbash method is called the Central Column system because it combines the Loving Kindness and Judgment; Chesed and Gevurah as explained above. It balances the two different approaches.

Rashi explains how the Torah alludes to the Atbash method itself. This comes from his commentary on the last 3 words of Deuteronomy - Devarim Chapter 33 verse 2

ויאמר יהוה מסיני בא וזרח משעיר למו הופיע מהר פארן ואתה מרבבת קדש מימינו אשדת למו

And he said: The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came from the myriads holy, at His right hand was a fiery law unto them.

Rashi explains that the fiery law is a law of contrasts: Black fire on white fire or the black print on the white parchment. The Rokeach explains that the word Eshdat (the second to the last word) has the same gematria has BeAtBash. This translates as "with AtBash." Eshdat is law or the Torah. We see that the Torah can be explained with AtBash as well.

We also learn that the last 5 letters of this verse דתלמו can be permutated to the word Talmud תלמודwhich is the written form of the Oral Law that was given to Moshe at Sinai along with the Esser Debrot.So we see from these two teachings that the Atbash method also applies to all of the Torah not just to the Scroll or 5 Books of Moshe. It applies to the Prophets, The writings and the various writings of the Sages over the Millennium.

The Rokeach also explains a hint to Atbash in the first word in the Scroll, Beraishit בראשית. Beraishit can be permuted to be 3 pairs of letters as follows את בש רי. The Rokeach explains that when we substitute, using the AtBash method, the Reish becomes a Gimmel and the Yood becomes a Mem. Together they spell the word Gam which means also. Therefore concealed in Beraishit is the following spiritual teaching. The Torah can also be explained using the At Bash Method.

Referring to one of the teachings above, the same letters of Eshdat are used in the Torah description of the third day of creation where the Torah says, "Let the earth sprout (Tadshah) forth vegetation and plants bringing forth seeds..." (Beraishit 1:11). One sage teaches that this verse also refers to the Torah which is like a large variety of vegetation since each explanation and interpretation of the Torah continues to sprout and grow continuously just like earthly vegetation.

Just as Eshdat has the same letters as Tadshah, they have the same gematria, which is equivalent to "With AtBash." The different alphabet transformations sprout forth new interpretations and explanations and meanings just like the vegetable world. It can be said that these teachings produce a "new species" of teachings and meanings. They also reveal various spiritual laws that are meant to be revealed through this method as well.

The Rambam teaches the method to change bad character traits is to go to the extreme. If one wants to eliminate anger, one just needs to change his behavior to never get angry no matter what the provocation. Once one has succeeded in this endeavor one can start to move back towards the middle ground. The Atbash method which transforms from the outer edges to the middle represents this human transformation as suggested in the structure below:

|א | ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש | ת |

א | ב | ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר | ש | ת

א ב | ג | ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק | ר | ש ת

ב ג | ד | ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ | ק | ר ש ת

א ב ג ד | ה | ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ | צ | ק ר ש ת

א ב ג ד ה | ו | ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע | פ | צ ק ר ש ת

א ב ג ד ה ו | ז | ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס | ע | פ צ ק ר ש ת

א ב ג ד ה ו ז | ח | ט י כ ל מ נ | ס | ע פ צ ק ר ש ת

א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח | ט | י כ ל מ | נ | ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת

א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט | י | כ ל | מ | נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת

א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י | כ | ל | מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת

Please note the straight up-down line that sets off the Atbash transformations. This structure forms a funnel that starts at the widest transformation and funnels down to the narrowest transformation.

The Rambam teaches that one method of transforming our negative character traits is to go to the opposite extreme. For example, when one wants to transform the negative trait of anger, one needs to go to the opposite and never get angry no matter what the provocation. When one has succeeded in this endeavor, one can then return to the middle ground and use the illusion of getting angry to prove a point.

The funnel above manifests this rule as we shall see: The narrowest part of the funnel has the letters ימ כל and the widest part of the funnel has the letters את בש. The narrow letters spell the word Yimloch which translates as "will be King." The widest letters form the words "Shabbat Aleph" which translates as One Shabbat.

This teaches the spiritual rule that all people who follow a spiritual path need to keep One Shabbat in order for the Mashiach to manifest and announce that HaShem is King and no longer say "will be" King. This also explains the litmus test for an observant spiritual person- "Do you keep Shabbat?" Only people who answer yes can say they are observant spiritual people.

The Gemara (a section of the Talmud) in Shabbat 104a calls the Atbash transformation the AlphaBet of Teshuvah. This is related to the idea that there are two paths to Teshuvah. One is blowing of the Shofar on Rosh Hashana and the other is by Keeping Shabbat. Both actions awaken someone to do Teshuvah. They achieve the same result. To move to be closer to HaShem. This is actually the reason why the Shofar is not blown on Shabbat since blowing the Shofar and Keeping Shabbat achieve the same result.

The Atbash transformation helps us remember which day of the week a particular holiday falls.

א ת The first day of Pesach is always on the same day of the week as Tisha B'Av.

ב ש The second day of Pesach is always on the same day of the week as Shavuot.

ג ר The third day of the Pesach is always on the same day of the week as Rosh Hashanah.

ד ק The fourth day of the Pesach is always on the same day of the week as the Kriat Torah for Simchat Torah.

ה צ The fifth day of the Pesach is always on the same day of the week as the Fast day (Tzom) Yom Kippur.

ו פ The sixth day of the Pesach is always on the same day of the week as Purim.

Words that are explained by At Bash

In Jeremiah Chapter 25 Verse 26, the word Sheshach which is the name of a place that is unknown, Rashi uses AtBash to transform Sheshach to Bavel which is Babylonia. This same technique is used in Jeremiah Chapter 51 verse 41 for the same word. The third place in scripture that we use AtBash to understand the meaning of a verse is in Jeremiah 51 Verse 1 where we learn through the Atbash transformation that Lev Kamai means Kasdim, the word for Chaldeans. Without Atbash we would not understand these three words of Torah and the three verses from which they come.

Echad when transformed by Atbash becomes Tasik which means "to ascend." Thus we have a truly unique understanding of the meaning of unity since Echad means oneness.

chanoch חנוך transforms into סטפל. The gematria is now 180 when adding the Colel. 180 represents 18 x 10 which is a perfect structure for life. This is showing the potential of the name Chanoch to get close to God as the first Chanoch accomplished when "He walked with God" as testified in the Torah.

In my opinion the most important Atbash spiritual teaching comes through the word Mitzvah מצוה. The shoresh of Mitzvah can be either tzav which means command or getting closer to HaShem through the shoresh of Tzom meaning fast. With the Atbash transformation of the first two letters the Mem becomes a Yood and the Tzadi becomes a Hey creating the Name of HaShem. The only question left is why do we only transform the first two letters and that comes from the reality of the concealed upper worlds and the revealed lower worlds.