Torah for Today! This week… Jewish News’ 1,000th issue!

Torah for Today! This week… Jewish News’ 1,000th issue!

Rabbi Ariel Abel looks at the Torah's angle on a topical issue

Ariel Abel is rabbi of the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation

The first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, aleph, has a numerical value of one and has three different meanings in the Hebrew Language: “teaching”, “cattle” and “thousands”.

The symbol for the first letter of the alphabet in ancient Hebrew is the horned head of an ox.

The primeval desire to be blessed with wealth was expressed in being able to count heads of thousands of sheep and cattle. Thus, all three connotations of the letter “aleph” are connected.

In the Torah, the maximum age for a human being was 1,000 years. Rabbinic tradition teaches that Adam fell short of attaining this age because he donated 70 of his allotted years to David, the future king and prophet.

Moses assigned a senior judge to every thousand persons to ensure that peace was kept in the Israelite camp. This meant that there were at least 1,200 such judges for the adult population of the Exodus.

The Book of Psalms notes 1,000 years in human experience is logged as a passing daytime or evening in Divinely-recorded time.

At the end of his life, Moses blessed Israel with a 1,000-fold blessing to the people and then qualified it by adding that God should bless them as per His word.

The presumption is that 1,000 as a human blessing is limited, whereas Divine blessing is limitless.

One thousand soldiers per tribe were conscripted to the ancient Israelite army, a ratio of one soldier to 120 citizens.

Were that to be applied to modern-day Israel, there would be only 50,000 soldiers serving in the Israeli army.

In the event, almost half of Israel’s population – three million – is the total fit for service at any one time.


υ Ariel Abel is rabbi of Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation and wrote the celebratory article for the 800th anniversary of Jewish News

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