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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beware of Spiritual Gematria Gibberish

Today's victim has an especially spiritual Hebrew tattoo. So spiritual, in fact, that its impossible to know what he meant by it at all...

See, according to the victim, this Hebrew tattoo is supposed to have some Gematria meaning.

Gematria is the Jewish practice of converting Hebrew letters into numbers and then looking for some special meanings based on that value. This practice is of course completely bogus - you can pick and choose your results to suit your agenda, but it looks impressive enough to con the ignorant. For example, it might lead you to believe that Sarah Palin is the devil's disciple.

Back on topic, today's Hebrew tattoo is simply composed of random letters, and does not mean anything. Sure, it might convert to some number in Gematria, but who cares? In the Hebrew language this tattoo is just a pile of gibberish.


  1. It could, however, be a sort of odd way of spelling שמטא or שמתא...

    And as a public service, that word means rag, is not in Hebrew but in Yiddish, and is generally spelled שמאטע... Gematria value 420, and equivalent (among other things) to אני אוהב אפרוחים.
    (Calculation courtesy of http://www.underdogprojects.com/gematria/ - which has provided me with many hours of fun.)

  2. So perhaps this person is simply showing the public his love for marijuana.

  3. Ha. I also first read it as 'Dish-rag' with a tet, there as a spare, just in case. Hmm.. first 'Egg-of', then 'I ♥ baby chicks'. Can't believe I read the whole gematria link(!). Right up/down there with Astrology and Poultry-geists (sp?)

  4. The Palin thing was a JOKE. HUMOR. HA HA.

    Shin Tav Tet = 709
    Mem Tav Alef = 441
    All together = 750???!?!?!

  5. Actually this one is a Kamea found in Sefer Shorshei HaShemot. I think this one is actually right.

  6. If you mean the 72 names of God from the Kabballah - this tattoo doesn't use any of them.

  7. שתט
    is 300+400+9=709
    is 40+400+1=441

    i hardly see how they were supposed to match in gematria.
    and just to show you how absurd a practice gematria is...

    the word מתא
    which can also be twisted around to spell
    which means "thruth" and is a word with a kabalistic significance,but in gematria it also equals:
    אכל שמן
    which means "ate oil" just some absurd example i came up with to show how gematria is BS.

    other gematria for 709:

  8. Gematria is not at all absurd, this person may be absurd with such a tattoo, but Gematria is endlessly fascinating - if you are bored/uninterested by math and/or orthodox-Kabbalah then it would not likely be interesting to you but that is no reason to chime in the passed-judgment remark, many mathematicians love it and it goes a lot deeper than just arithmetic based on letter values, that is like judging literature as a topic when you have only read kindergarten books.

  9. "Gematria is endlessly fascinating - if you are bored/uninterested by math and/or orthodox-Kabbalah then it would not likely be interesting to you but that is no reason to chime in the passed-judgment remark, many mathematicians love it"

    "interested by math" like how republicans are "interested in climate science" I suppose.

  10. Gematria can yield some surprising connections, but should always be taken with a grain of salt. That is to say, YMMV.

  11. if you read it top to bottom, right to left, it spells משתטא, which means "fooling around" as in being an idiot. i don't think that's what he had in mind, but maybe the tattoo artist did...

  12. This is not necessarily "bad hebrew" or "gibberish." There are literally thousands of abbreviations employed in Hebrew, which it would seem nobody has been considering might be the case in this instance. Furthermore, in Jewish Mysticism there are equally numerous ways in which unique "Divine Names" are constructed. Whilst I am not exactly sure whence the curious combination of letters comprising the tattoo in question might have been derived, or what the construct represents, it has been suggested in an earlier response that it is a Hebrew amulet found in a work titled "Shorshei ha-Shemot" by Moses Zacutto. As it is, I am presently gleaning this text for possible details on this tattoo, and will forward the relevant details if I should chance upon any. Be that as it may, I believe one should not so glibly dismiss items such as these as absurd, without considering that they might be comprising Hebrew abbreviations, e.g. of biblical verses, etc., much of which are wellknown and quite genuine.


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