Jews for Judaism
“In this Jubilee year, each man shall return to his ancestral land.” (Leviticus 25:13)
A careful reading of the original Hebrew text of this verse reveals two anomalies:
1. Why does it say, “In THIS year of the Jubilee…” Since the Jubilee takes place every 50 years, the verse should have said, “In the Jubilee year, each man…”
2. The Hebrew word for ‘return’ is written as Ta’Shu’vu. Normally, this word would be spelled with an additional letter ‘vav’ that serves as the vowel for the “U”. Here, the word only has one ‘vav’ instead of two. Is there anything significant about this unusual spelling?
Our mystics have suggested that this verse is hinting at a particular Jubilee year, one derived from the numerical value of the letters of the word “ta’shu’vu”. The gemmatria (numerical value) of this word is 708. Hebrew years are written without the thousand place, just like we might say this year is ’16 and know that it’s not 1716. The Hebrew year 5708 corresponded to 1948! It was in THIS special year that we returned to our ancestral land!
(One clue that the verse is alluding to the year 5708 and not 4708 or 3708 is the missing letter “vav”. The numerical value of this letter is six, which may be a hint that the year is in the 6th millennium. Also, it may be hinting at the fact that when our people returned to the land in 1948, we were missing the “vav” – the six million who perished in the Holocaust).
There are actually numerous hints in the Torah about the significance of 1948. For example, there is a teaching that each verse in the Torah corresponds to a year in history. So, the 5708th verse would correspond to the year 5708 (or 1948 in our calendars). Here is that verse:
“Then Hashem your God will bring back your captivity and have mercy upon you, and He will gather you in from all the peoples to which Hashem, your God, has scattered you.” (Deuteronomy 30:3)
There’s also a fascinating allusion to this year found in rabbinic literature. The Talmud, Sanhedrin 38b and Pirkei d’Rebbe Eliezer chapter 11 describe what happened on the day that Adam was created hour by hour:
“In the first hour, his [Adam’s] dust was gathered; in the second, it was kneaded into a shapeless mass. In the third, his limbs were shaped; in the fourth, a soul was infused into him; in the fifth, he arose and stood on his feet; in the sixth, he gave [the animals] their names; in the seventh, Eve became his mate…”
We’ll come back to this in a moment. There is a famous tradition that the history of the world will last six thousand years (Sanhedrin 97a) and that each of the six days of creation corresponds to each period of one thousand years. This is based upon Psalms 90:4 which states that “a thousand years in Your eyes are like a day that has passed.” The creation of Adam on the 6th day corresponds to the coming of the Messiah before the peace and tranquility of the Sabbath day representing the Utopian Messianic age.
The beginning of the process leading to the Messianic age would begin in the 5th hour of the 6th day of creation when Adam arose from the dust and stood on his feet.
If we have a formula that each day is a thousand years, then we can calculate that each hour in a day equals about 41.6 years. We can then determine the year that would correspond to the 5th hour of the 6th day of creation. Five days has already passed, which would equal 5000 years. The Biblical day begins in the evening. So, the 6th day (Friday) actually begins at the conclusion of the 5th day at nightfall on Thursday night. From nightfall on Thursday night until sunrise on Friday morning would be 12 hours. This would be another 500 years according to the formula of one day equaling 1000 years. To arrive at the 5th hour on Friday morning (11am) would be calculated by multiplying 5 by 41.6 or 208. In total, the 5th hour of the 6th day would be 5000 + 500 + 208= 5708!
So, Adam, prototype of the Messiah, arose out of the dust and stood up in the 5th hour of the 6th day corresponding to the year 5708 or 1948. This may allude to the beginning of the Messianic process in the year 1948 after the Israel arose out of the dust and ashes of the Holocaust.