The Hebrew Year 5783

November 19, 2022

On September 25, 2022 we are entering the Hebrew year 5783. 

In Hebrew, every number is tied to a Hebrew letter, which in turn carries many shades of meaning through its name and its pictograph. What insights can we gain as we look at the Hebrew year 5783?

Deciphering Gimmel and Peh

To understand the Hebrew year 5783, we are going to focus on the Hebrew letter Gimmel (representing 3) and Peh (representing 80).

For many of us, the last few years have been challenging financially, and the outlook may be even worse for the year ahead. In this context it is interesting that the meanings of Gimmel relate to abundance and overflow. 

For example, Ps 103:2-3 says “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits (g’mul from gimmel). Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction…”. The psalmist is here reminding us of God’s abundant blessings in our lives. These blessings are not just financial, but also include salvation, healing and redemption. For the year ahead, let us take heed to the psalmists admonition and give thanks to God for the many blessings we enjoy in our lives. 

The Hebrew Sages say that the letter Gimmel resembles a man walking. Where is this man walking? He is walking in the direction of the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet—the letter Dalet. Dalet comes from a root word meaning weakness and poverty, in contrast to Gimmel that relates to abundance and blessing. Like Gimmel, we are all truly blessed in so many ways by God’s blessings. And in this year ahead, let us remember to be generous with those blessings and share with those who are less fortunate than ourselves. 

From the word Gimmel we also get the Hebrew word for camel. When a camel stops to drink, it can consume large amounts of water. This large reserve of water can keep a camel going for up to a week’s travel through harsh desert climates. The Holy Spirit is described in John 4 as a fountain of living water within us and a source that similarly satisfies us so that we ‘never thirst again’. In this year ahead, let us be like the camel and drink abundantly of God’s Spirit, storing up a reserve within us to handle any difficult times we might face.

Let us make sure we daily take the time to fill our hearts with God’s promises…

On the Day of Pentecost, the 3rd person of the God-head, the Holy Spirit (who is also connected to the letter Gimmel), was poured out in abundance on the disciples. Being filled with the Spirit to overflow, they began to speak in tongues and prophesy, and were filled with a new sense of boldness and power. Although many of us have had similar experiences in the past, Paul reminds us of the need to be continually filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18). In other words, let us not just settle for our past encounters with Him, but let’s seek Him this year for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit. 

From the word Gimmel, we also get the word ‘to wean’. A weaned child is one who is no longer demanding food constantly from his or her mother, but can instead simply rest in the loving embrace of their parents. As young believers, many of us were constantly seeking for our own needs, and were like a very dependant unweaned child. In the year ahead, the Holy Spirit wants to bring us to maturity, so we are no longer just seeking God for our own needs, but are simply coming to enjoy His presence and to give Him the glory He deserves. 

The letter Gimmel also appears in the story of Aaron’s rod. The tribal leaders in Israel had become increasingly jealous of Aaron’s unique role as High Priest, and a test was arranged to see who God had chosen. The staff of each leader was placed in the Tabernacle of God overnight. In the morning, as they checked these staffs, Aaron’s staff had ‘gimmeled’. Gimmel here means that this dead piece of wood had come to life, sprouted blossoms, developed fruit and ripened them overnight. The story of Aaron’s staff is a picture for us of the Work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He has come to take us away from the selfishness of an unweaned child, and away from the deadness of our own selves, to ripening and bearing much fruit. And as we bear fruit through Him, this is the true evidence that we are anointed, chosen and called by Him. 

We have seen how Gimmel relates to God’s abundant blessings, to our responsibility of being generous, to finding satisfaction in God and bearing much fruit for Him. May we see this in the year ahead!

Moving to The Hebrew Letter Peh (80)

Returning to the Hebrew calendar year, you could say that we are currently in the ‘80’s’. This decade is symbolised by the letter Peh, which represents a mouth, speech and language. 

Jesus declared ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks’ (Luk 6:45). In other words, you can often tell the contents of a person’s heart by the words they speak. Are we speaking words of complaint, bitterness and anger, or words of praise and thanksgiving? 

If our words are constantly negative, how do we break the cycle and change the words we speak? I believe the answer can be found by examining what we are allowing into our hearts. 

As we face the year ahead, let’s not allow ourselves to be consumed by the worries and cares of this world which are constantly being bombarded at us through mass media. Let us rather make sure we daily take the time to fill our hearts with God’s promises and enter His presence. Let our hearts be full of thanksgiving as we daily remind ourselves of His many benefits (Gimmel) in our lives. And as we do, I believe we will discover the secret to abundant living as we enter 5783.



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