|Nicholas Gura, photo by Melanie Einzig|
Nicholas Gura is the author of the new book Divine Wisdom and Warning: Decoded Messages from God, which explores the practice of Jewish numerology. He worked on Wall Street for more than 20 years, and he lives in New York City.
Q: In your book, you write, "After 9/11 we all searched for answers." Can you describe the impact of 9/11 on your work with Jewish numerology that led to this book?
A: Eventually, I discovered that the numbers 9 and 11 were associated with other tragic and horrific events. For example, in 586 B.C.E. on the 9th day of the 11th month of the Hebrew calendar (the ninth of Av), the First Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians.
And on the 9th day of the 11th month of our modern calendar, on November 9, 1938, in Nazi Germany, Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) occurred. Kristallnacht foreshadowed the coming Nazi atrocities. These discoveries encouraged me to explore the hidden meaning of numbers through Gematria.
Q: Can you give us a brief introduction to Jewish numerology, for people who are unfamiliar with it and its history?
A: Gematria is the 3,200 year-old practice of assigning numbers to Hebrew letters in order to convert Hebrew text into a number. This practice allows words and phrases of identical value to be compared. When two phrases share the same numerical value it reveals a hidden relationship between them teaching us hidden meanings and associations.
The first reference to Gematria occurs in the Book of Genesis Chapter 14:14, when Abraham’s disciple Eliezer is referred to as “318 disciples.” This is because the numerical value of the Hebrew name “Eliezer” is 318.
Q: Your subtitle is "Decoded Messages from God." What do you say to those who are skeptical that these are messages from God?
A: In the past seven years, I’ve studied tens of thousands of Hebrew words and phrases from both the Bible and the modern Hebrew dictionary. The consistency and complexity of the results seem to imply that a higher intelligence has deliberately embedded and encoded both the Bible and the modern Hebrew language.
Q: What surprised you most as you worked on this book?
A: That the techniques I’ve developed work with both biblical text and with modern Hebrew terms such as “quantum,” “karma,” and “website.” In addition, my work provides new insights into secular topics including the environment, the treatment of women, and the reconciliation of science and religion.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Promoting my book.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Two things: A recurring theme in my book is that we have the free will to pursue the path of either making peace or promoting hatred. However, there are consequences to either path: blessings, if we choose peace, and shame and humiliation, if we promote hatred.
In addition, the mathematically generated messages emphasize that our relationship with God is determined by how we treat each other.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb