Numerical musings

All five days of this week, I put “musings” on certain integers.  All five of the musings have something in common, which will quickly become apparent.  For those blog readers who don’t read my Facebook account, here are the five statements I made:

1) 14 is a very HANDY number… and it can also be converted into something quite close to ME…

2) The number 64 is a square… and on the vertices, correct spelling of annihilate, COMFORTABLE, UNCONVENTIONAL SPELLING OF MY NAME, and favourite list…

3) Many people know that Interstate 94 connects the North and South Sides of Chicago, but what they don’t know is that this Interstate is also a SIDE of Chicago…

4) A certain proverb claims that 79 > 210. Yikes! And it’s even one that I tend to abide by…

5) In Lincoln, 56th Street is a significant artery, but it takes special significance NEXT MONTH…

OK, so what do all of these have in common?  Notice in each of them that I have certain words capitalized.   Indeed, there is a connection between the capitalized words and the numbers, and after the first one, it might become a guessing game as to what the others are.

OK, starting with number one.  Although 14 has many significances, the reason that I call it a “handy” number has to do more with a certain numerical value.  In Hebrew, the word for “hand” is יד, which has a numerical value of 10+4 = 14.  Actually, the number 14 was what encouraged me to start this sequence of musings: I was biking toward my Hebrew class this Monday, and looking at my watch, had 14 minutes before class started, and all of a sudden, realized, “Hmm… 14 is the numerical value of יד!”

And as the conversion? The number 14, in Celsius, corresponds to about 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit.  If we take the ceiling function of that converted number, the answer is 58… and נח is my name… don’t wear it out!

But, in Hebrew, oftentimes extra “vav” or “yud” are added when vowels are not used. So, an unconventional spelling of my name in Hebrew is נוח which happens to also be the word for “comfortable.”  And, the numerical value: 50 + 6 + 8 = 64.

That’s quite a story too!  After all, “64” was the number that I pulled at the spelling bee in seventh grade, and though I won the competition, I did not spell EVERYTHING that I was asked correctly, but once down to two, an error does not mean elimination: there is a “win by two” clause.   So, at least to me, “64” has at least a square of implications.  As I have mused before, you can find significance in any number and take it as your own!

Well, since it is now obvious that I am introducing numerology here, clearly EVERY one of the musings is related to a Hebrew word.  The third one, about the Sides of Chicago, is 94.  The Hebrew word for “side” is צד with value 90+4 = 94.  Of course, the way I like to use that word is while biking, with the phrase “על צד שמאל שלך!” [On your left!]

The fourth one.  What proverb might use a “greater than” sign?  Well, might is often seen as a sign of greatness.  And let’s write 79 = 70 + 9 and 210 = 8 + 200 + 2.  These translate to the Hebrew words עט and חרב, respectively.  Those words… “pen” and “sword.”  I’m afraid we’ve got a loss in translation here! (Of course, there’s also another disturbing coincidence of the number 210: חבר (friend)).

And the last one, which is probably quite anti-climactic: 56 = 10 + 6 + 30 + 10, for the word יולי which is indeed a cognate of the English word “July.”  You never know what words and numbers will be salient, and obviously I used 56th Street a lot in Lincoln.
Of course, I wonder if there is English numerology with values of words, other than Scrabble scoring?  It might be interesting to consider.

Odd… this is also my 72nd post on this blog, and 72 is a main street in Omaha.  Have I mentioned that I have always been quite obsessed with roads?  That’s maybe another topic for another day!

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