Libyan Dictator Gaddafi (1986)
Today’s Golden Oldie is from January 1986.
Twenty-five years ago.
A Dry Bones fan wrote to me and requested I find and run the cartoon. An appropriate choice as we watch what everyone agrees is Libyan Dictator Gaddafi’s final act. We’ll soon see if “everyone” is right.
-Dry Bones- Israel’s Political Comic Strip Since 1973
The World’s Greatest Gematria
In the Sephardic version of the haftorah reading for Parshat VaYakhel, the verse in 1 Kings 7:23 – describes the portable mikveh built by Shlomo (ים של שלמה). The size of the vessel, according to the text, is a diameter or 10 amot, a circumference of 30 amot and a height of 5 amot. It was carried by 12 oxen.
There are 2 anomalies in the text. The word for the circumference line – קו – is spelled in this sentence as קוה. It is the only place in תנ”ך where the word is spelled קוה.
A second anomaly is the mathematical error in calculating the circumference. The formula is Π D, or the diameter times the value of pi. As such, the correct calculation for the circumference is 3.1415926 * 10 or 31.415926 amot, and not 30 as written in the text.
How to explain the inaccuracy of the text?
One answer is that the text is indeed accurate, that 30 is so close to the actual number as to be a vindication of the text. (If the number 10 was rounded up from 9.58, then it would be closer to 30 than 31.416.)
There is another astonishing answer, provided by the Vilna Gaon. The gematria of קוה is 111. The gematria of קו is 106. If you multiply 30 by the relationship of the word קוה to קו, you get 30 * 111 /106 = 31.415094. This makes a difference of 0.00083219. In short, the calculation is accurate to less than one thousandth of an amah, or a difference of 0.00026%. which is a phenomenal degree of accuracy.
(More accurate numbers are: PI=3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375 * 10 = 31.41592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375
30 * 111/106 = 31.415094339622641509433962264151)
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