In this study I would like to examine the significance of the number fourteen. The meaning of fourteen is related to the Hebrew characters that represent fourteen, the yod (ten) - י and the dalet (four) - ד. Fourteen is thus represented as: יד. Yod dalet, in addition to being a number, is also the Hebrew word for “hand” – yad - יד. Fourteen is also the number of joints in the human hand.

 

Our Sages teach that the number fourteen symbolizes the "strong hand" or "yad hachzaka" (יד החזקה) of Moshe, who was the recipient of the Torah.[1]

 

Sefer Yad Hachzaka is also the subtitle of the Mishneh Torah, a code of Jewish law (halakha) by Maimonides.[2] The Mishneh Torah is regarded as Maimonides' magnum opus. The work consists of fourteen books.

 

Maimonides also wrote a book titled Sefer HaMitzvot (The Book of the Commandments). This book sets forth a series of fourteen “roots” which are general principles for identifying, enumerating, and classifying the Torah’s mitzvot.

 

Finally, Maimonides also wrote a book titled, “The Guide for the Perplexed”. In this book he informs us that he has “divided all the commandments into fourteen classes”.[3]

 

In the life of Yaaqov

 

Yaaqov left his parents' home in Be’er Sheva at age 63, but arrived in Charan 14 years later at age 77. Our sages explain that for fourteen years Yaaqov hid himself in the home of his ancestor and teacher, Eber (the great-grandson of Shem), where he immersed himself in the study of Torah.

 

When he completed his studies, Yaaqov worked fourteen years for Rachel. This is where we find the first use of the number fourteen in the Torah:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 31:41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.

 

From previous verses we know that Yaaqov worked seven years to earn Rachel and received Leah. He then worked an additional seven years to acquire Rachel. The fourteen years are made up of two sets of seven years. Further, these two sets of seven were for the purpose of securing and providing for his wives.

 

This suggests that the meaning of fourteen is: The strong hand of HaShem to acquire and take care of His Beloved Bride. As Yaaqov worked to secure his brides, So HaShem works with His strong hand to acquire His bride.

 

Rachel was barren for fourteen years before she bore Yaaqov two sons, who became fourteen when they entered Mitzrayim.

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 46:22 These are the sons of Rachel, whom she bore to Yaaqov: all the souls, fourteen.

 

This pasuk suggests that the care that Yaaqov lavished on his beloved allowed her raise up fourteen children and grandchildren. We know that ten of these grandchildren are the sons of Benyamin. Yosef had two children. Finally there were her children, Yosef and Benyamin.

 

* * *

 

Another way to understand the meaning of the number fourteen is to see it as a compound number composed of the ‘ten’ part and the ‘four’ part. As we have seen, in Hebrew the number fourteen is also a compound number.

 

We learned in our study of the Temple that the body of Mashiach is a body composed of the righteous of Israel. This body is a unity composed of parts. The body is composed of Israel and the head is Mashiach. This is the ultimate expression of ten: A unity made of parts.

 

According to Chazal, our Sages, the number four signifies completion, wholeness, or fullness.

 

Thus the compound number fourteen has the meaning of its parts: A whole or complete unity as expressed in the body of Mashiach who is the complete unity composed of member, the righteous of israel.

 

* * *

 

How many times does ‘Zeh toledot’ (these are the generations) appear in the Tanakh? The answer is thirteen, and they are found in:

 

1. Genesis 2:4

2. Genesis 5:1

3. Genesis 6:9

4. Genesis 10:1

5. Genesis 10:32

6. Genesis 11:10

7. Genesis 11:27

8. Genesis 25:12

9. Genesis 25:19

10. Genesis 36:1,9

11. Genesis 37:2

12. Exodus 6: 16,19

13. Numbers 3:1

 

‘Zeh toledot’ appears an additional time in Matthew’s genealogy. Matthews genealogy makes fourteen. This means that his genealogy had to have divisions of fourteen.

 

Gen. Rabbah 57:1 tells us that Rivka was three years old. The Hakham suggests that this is 3.5 times the four hermaneutic levels (peshat, remez, drash, and sod) which = 13.5.

 

The previous insight was found at:

 

http://vic.australis.com.au/hazz/Toldoth.html

 

http://vic.australis.com.au/hazz/number014.html

 

 

* * *

 

The Rebbe Ramash, in his gloss to the Haggada, explains the Mishna (beginning of Pesachim): "On the evening of the fourteenth, one searches for chametz by the light of a lamp". Fourteen is the aspect of midot, the emotional attributes (corresponding to the seven midot of the Divine soul and the seven midot of the animal soul); here one needs to search for chametz, and the search must be by the light of a lamp - that is:

 

Mishlei 20:27 The soul of a man is a lamp of G-d.

 

* * *

 

The number of stitches used to stitch together the tefillin, is fourteen.

 

* * *

 

At the Pesach seder we have: four cups of wine, three matzot, six items on seder plate (beitza, z'roa, karpas, chazeret, marror, charoset), and salt water = fourteen items used at the seder.

 

* * *

 

fourteen is the number of calendrical permutations (i.e. depending on whether the year has twelve or thirteen months, what day Rosh Hashana is on, etc. the calendar can take on fourteen different arrangements).

 

* * *

 

In the megilla of Ruth, there were fourteen advisers to King Achashverosh.

 

* * *

 

The Jews settled in Gilgal on the western shore of the Jordan, where they set up the Tabernacle which stayed there for fourteen years, until Joshua and the Bne Israel conquered and divided the Land of Canaan.

 

We spent fourteen years conquering and settling the Land of Israel by Joshua and the twelve tribes.

 

* * *

 

There were fourteen separate ritual components of the seder, kadesh urchatz, etc. (Motzi-matzah is regarded as one).

 

* * *

 

Sukkah 27a R. ELIEZER SAID, A MAN IS OBLIGED TO EAT FOURTEEN MEALS IN THE SUKKAH, ONE ON EACH DAY AND ONE ON EACH NIGHT. THE SAGES HOWEVER SAY, THERE IS NO FIXED NUMBER EXCEPT ON THE FIRST NIGHT OF THE FESTIVAL ALONE.

 

* * *

 

The word "return" is used fourteen times in the Megilla of Ruth (the word in v4:15 is of the same root but has a different meaning, a not uncommon finding when using this method). This indicates that it is the Key-Word, one that encodes and conceals the key to interpretation. This tells us that the concept of return is the key to understanding this book.

 

* * *

 

The word, hineini, appears just fourteen times in the Tanach, but each time it appears in a memorable and meaningful story.

 

* * *


 

 

A time to be born

and a time to die.

A time to plant

and a time to uproot.

A time to kill

and a time to heal.

A time to wreck

and a time to build.

A time to weep

and a time to laugh.

A time of mourning

and a time of dancing.

A time to throw stones

and a time to hoard stones.

A time to embrace

and a time to shun.

A time to seek

and a time to lose.

A time to safeguard

and a time to discard.

A time to tear

and a time to sew.

A time to be still

and a time to speak.

A time to love

and a time to hate.

A time of war

and a time of peace.

 

The Fourteen Years of the Septennial Torah Cycle

Tishri Cycle

Nisan Cycle

3½ years of Pshat

3½ years of Remez

3½ years of Drash

3½ years of Sod

 


 

* * *

 

Avraham spent fourteen years from the time he left Charan until Yitzchak was born.

 

* * *

 

II Corinthians 12:2 I know a man in Mashiach: above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not: God knoweth), such a one caught up to the third heaven.

 

* * *

 

Galatians 2:1 Then, after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me.

 

* * *

 

Fourteen is the number imprinted on Succoth, as we can see from the following pasukim:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:13And you shall offer a holocaust for a most sweet odour to the Lord, thirteen calves of the herd, two rams, and fourteen lambs of a year old, without blemish:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:15 And the tenth of a tenth to every lamb, being in all fourteen lambs:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:17 On the second day you shall offer twelve calves of the herd, two rams and fourteen lambs of a year old, without blemish:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:20 The third day you shall offer eleven calves, two rams, and fourteen lambs of a year old, without blemish:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:23 The fourth day you shall offer ten calves, two rams, and fourteen lambs of a year old, without blemish:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:26 The fifth day you shall offer nine calves, two rams, and fourteen lambs of a year old, without blemish:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:29 The sixth day you shall offer eight calves, two rams, and fourteen lambs of a year old, without blemish:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:32 The seventh day you shall offer seven calves and two rams, and fourteen lambs of a year old, without blemish:

 

* * *

 

Gold - זהב = fourteen

 

While we wait for Mashiach, we are in the period of Midrash and how to rule the people of HaShem.

 

When Mashiach comes we will be concerned with how to rule the universe.

 

Chakma (ח) + Binah (ב) + Daat (ד) = ChaBaD – חבד.

 

ChaBaD = 14 times the three letters (חבד) = forty-two.

 

David (דוד) = 14 = the hand of HaShem.

 

The bench of three is the hand of HaShem. David is the hand of HaShem.

 

14 is now. 42 (3 times 14) is the number we are becoming.

 

42 = How to become Hakhamim

 

* * *

 

Fourteen means kingship. They derived this from the gematria of David - דוד. The gematria of דוד is 14.

 

* * *

 

According to Maimonides’ list of the 613 Torah Commandments, there are fourteen Mitzvoth contained in the scrolls of the head Tefillin, and they are:

 

6 To know that God is One, a complete Unity (Deut. 6:4).

 

7 To love God (Deut. 6:5).

 

12 To learn Torah and to teach it (Deut. 6:7).

 

19 To bind tefillin on the head (Deut. 6:8).

 

20 To bind tefillin on the arm (Deut. 6:8).

 

21 To affix the mezuzah to the doorposts and gates of your house (Deut. 6:9).

 

23 To read the Shema in the morning and at night (Deut. 6:7).

 

122 Not to eat chametz on Passover (Ex. 13:3).

 

123 That chametz shall not be seen in an Israelite's home during Passover (Ex. 13:7).

 

124 To discuss the departure from Egypt on the first night of Passover ( Ex. 13:8).

 

368 To redeem the firstborn human male (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20; Num. 18:15)

 

369 To redeem the firstling of an ass (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20).

 

370 To break the neck of the firstling of an ass if it is not redeemed (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20).

 

459 To sanctify the firstling of clean cattle and offer it up (Ex. 13:2; Deut. 15:19).

 


* * *

 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address:  gkilli@aol.com

Web page:  http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com

 


 



[1] Devarim 34:12, which contains the Rambam’s first name (Moshe): "And for all the great might [lit. 'mighty hand'] and awesome power that Moshe displayed before all Israel.".

[2] Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known by the Hebrew acronym of RaMBaM, usually written "Rambam" in English.

[3] The Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides, III, 35, page 535.