Erratum and Addendum: Nitzavim-Vayelekh (Deut. 29:9-31:30)

OK, so I can’t count any more.
Last week I wrote:

“This week, we read a short double portion.  No, that’s not an oxymoron. Nitzavim (Deut. 29:9-30:20) and Vayelekh (Deut. 31:1-30) together encompass only 69 verses, maybe half of a normal single portion.”

No.  Nitzavim contains 40 verses, not 39, so together that adds up to 70 for the double portion.  And why does that matter?  In Hebrew, each letter of the alphabet has a numerical value, so you can play around with them to identify a word or phrase that is numerically equivalent to the number in question and therefore has some related significance.  This Hebrew numerology is called gematria.  Anyhow, 40 corresponds to “his heart” (lamed-vet-vet-vav = 30+2+2+6=40) and 70, to “my Lord is God”.  It’s in the footnotes of the Stone edition of the Torah and Haftarah readings.  I don’t know if 30 is also supposed to mean something; the Stone edition left that out.

Rosh Hashanah items will come shortly.
L’shanah tovah,

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