Jews around the world recently finished an annual cycle of reading the Five Books of Moses (the Torah) and immediately began reading again from the beginning of Genesis. Since so many of us met the “stories” in Genesis as children, we sometimes neglect to view the book with adult eyes. Ancient Jewish wisdom analyzes each letter and word, revealing treasure that we can only uncover with a mature viewpoint. I’d like to share one example.
In the beginning, God created 92 basic elements including the well-known hydrogen, oxygen, gold, silver, copper, platinum, uranium, calcium and lead. The remaining 83 include lesser known elements such as titanium, tellurium, caesium and cadmium.
While it is true that the periodic table today contains over 100 elements, only the first 92 occur naturally. The others must be artificially made and are generally unstable. They undergo nuclear rearrangement and radioactive decay shortly after being synthesized.
In other words, the entire universe is made with only 92 basic building blocks we call atoms. Everything that we use and which makes life possible and wonderful comes about through combining the atomic building blocks into compound molecules.
Thus, water, air, steel, wood, plastic, wool, silk, potatoes and marshmallows are all mixtures of those 92 building blocks. Even the table salt that our bodies need and which adds flavor to French-fries is a mixture of sodium and chlorine.
Obviously, true science never conflicts with the Torah and many of the secrets that God embedded in His book reveal this. If you’ve been learning with me for a while, you know that every Hebrew letter has a numerical value. The Hebrew word for nature, HaTevah, has the identical numerical configuration (86) as the ineffable name of God, the Creator, that appears in Genesis 1:1 Elokim (86). The lesson is that to understand God, we must try to understand His creation.
The account of Creation runs from Genesis 1:1 all the way to Genesis 2:3. Those 34 verses contain exactly 92 separate discrete Hebrew words. That’s right! The building blocks of Creation number exactly the same as the building blocks used to describe it. 92 words to describe 92 elements! Please tell me that you’re utterly astounded by God and His Book. I know that I am.
We can’t leave it there. We must ask what valuable lesson God is imparting to us. The lesson is clear. God created a world for connection. He created atoms to connect into molecules and molecules to connect into the things we need. He created words to connect into verses, musical notes to connect into songs, and people to connect with one another for fulfillment and happiness. Every socio-medical study arrives at the same conclusion. People with strong connections to other people – friends, family, worship community and business associates – live healthier and happier lives. From the first word of Genesis, God is urging us to absorb the reality of a world of connection.