Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Oh God! (From the "If Chanukah is over it must be time for Purim" Dept.

In my Jewish Thought Through Film course I have extensive material on the 1977 George Burns movie "Oh God!" I posted my material at:

I was doing the lesson today in MTA. Someone asked about the license plate number on Jerry Lander's 1977 AMC Pacer in the movie. Well. The number is 825-DQI (a clear still is at According to their placements in the alphabet corresponding to the aleph-beis, d=4 (daled); q=100 (quf) and i=9 (tes). 4+100+9=113. Adding that to 825=938. 938 in gematria is אני ה' בעתה אחישנה (Yeshayahu 60:22), which means "I am God, at the right time I will hasten the redemption." (Chazal's derashah of zachu achishena, lo zachu b'ittah fits too.) Very apropos, no?


  1. Why don't games like this shake your faith in gematrios altogether? After all, you just showed that it doesn't take a sacred text in order to find such associations. So, when you do find a gematria in the Megillah, how do you know when it's real or when it's part of the background randomness you can find in anything?

    (This parallels a question Brian McKay tried to ask about Torah Codes, but his version requires believing that the researchers looked for arrows and then drew targets around them. E.g. played with the spelling of names, choice of appellation, or the date of death in order to increase the number of hits. Here though, the entire exercise is a human looking for arrows, in contrast to a blind computer search.)

  2. What "faith" do I have in gematriyos. The Tanna was very precise when he called them (assuming he was referring to our notions of gematriya) פרפראות לחכמה. In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss: "These things are fun, and fun is good."

    That said, however, let me state that I do believe that Hashem in His Hashgocho was mesavev that the movie I use to teach Yahadus have such remazim, so as to make a more profound roshem on my talmidim many years later. If a chochom can see the nolad, al achas kamma v'kamma HKB"H!