What’s in a number? This week: 1111
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What’s in a number? This week: 1111

Rabbi Ariel Abel helps to figure figuring out Jewish history in numerical terms.. this week he looks at 1111

Ariel Abel is rabbi of the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation

Mazal tov to Jewish News for its 1,111th issue! The nearest to 1111 in the Bible is the 1,100 pieces of silver held in trust by the mother of Michah for her son, who lived in the land of Ephraim.

Michah informed his mother that he had decided to dedicate the entire sum to holy work and took 200 of this amount to start his mission.

By this, he meant that he would dedicate an idol for worship and travel through the land ministering to people.

Had Michah added 11 to his deposit, he might have been reminded of Joseph’s fated dream of having his 11 brothers bow down to him, and Michah would have given up his idea of setting himself up as an sponsor of idolatrous practice.

Michah located a Levite to spread his gospel and this ended in tears for all the tribes of Israel.

On his journeys, the Levite travelled through the land of Benjamin, where tragedy struck when his concubine was gang raped and died from her wounds.

1111 is doubled 11, which reminds us of the tribes who waged war against Benjamin for this murderous assault and how as in Joseph’s dream, 11 tribes subjugated one out of the twelve and almost annihilated it.

The twist is that it was Joseph’s youngest brother Benjamin that was so nearly exterminated.

In “mispar katan”, which involves counting the lowest common denominator among numbers or eliminating the zeroes, 1111 equals 4.

This reminds us of the individuality of each of the 4 sons who attends the Seder, each one with its own gifts and limitations.

Hopefully the rabbis’ columns will continue to bring out the best in all the sons and daughters of community by enlightening the public with words for Torah for many years to come!

Rabbi Abel serves Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation and is padre to HM Armed Forces

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