Hebrew Letters

There is a traditional teaching from the Talmud that there are 600,000 letters in the Torah. In this computer age the calculation is truthfully 304,000 plus. How do we reconcile this apparent discrepancy?

This discrepancy is actually a very serious issue, although most people shrug it off today. To understand why this is a serious issue lets read below.

In the Talmud there are many things that are inaccurate according to modern science, Although the teaching was accurate at the time of its writing based on the science of the generation. Some of things even lead to serious disagreements today in how do we deal with Jewish teachings from the Talmud as well as potential Halachot (Jewish Law) based on erroneous teachings like "spontaneous generation of worms" and other such teachings.

To explain spontaneous generation: At the time of the writing of the Gemara, the science of the day said worms did not lay eggs (the eggs are too small to be seen with the naked eye) so that the new generation must come from spontaneous generation since we can see no connection between the older generation and the newer generation. There are certain worms who are considered Kosher due to this teaching of spontaneous generation which in light of science today would be considered non Kosher.

This leads to disagreements and creates separation among groups of Jews. The general teaching is that previous generations are higher spiritually than more current generations. Since they are higher spiritually their teachings have greater weight and must be followed rather than secular teachings from the world of science.

This leads to the ultimate question. Do i follow the Truth or do i follow custom and falsehood?

The Torah teaches us to follow the Rabbi's. Even if the Rabbi is teaching us that Left is Right and Right is Left. Yet whenever a teaching of the Rabbi is not the truth according to science or another essence of Truth such as "My intuition" it leads to a breakdown in respect for the Rabbi's the Teachings , and ultimately Hashem (God forbid).

This is why the issue is serious.

Lets return to the issue of the Number of Letters in the Torah and discover alternatives to reconcile the discrepancy. One Teaching is that for each letter there is a space. In each space there is concealed another letter and therefore there are twice as many letters as physically counted. What is wrong with this teaching? Nothing except that there is not 304 thousand letters in the Chumash but in the Tanach. You do know the difference. The teaching from the Talmud is that there are 600,000 letters in the Chumash. The authors of this space equals double letter theory reconcile this conflict by stating that the teaching meant to say the Torah which includes all that is in the Tanach and did not mean to say the Chumash only.

Here are two links supporting an alternative teaching. It also has discrepancies and potential conflicts as we will discover. Click on the first link and we will read together.

What do you think? Please send me an email with your opinion.