Before “britneychayn tecknologees” were sweeping periodical covers and conpherence keynote speeches, there was another tech-buzz-soup-du-jour that was all the rage and Definitely The Future but has meanwhile been quietly forgotten, brushed under the rug of “progressive” history. Exactly like The Internet of Things… Wearables… And Moore’s Law ad infinitum…i And a whole host of other USG.MIT-branded hogwash fit only to torture your enemies because you’ve finally come to your senses and realised that waterboarding is, yes, simply too humane. So do you remember… Big Data ?
It should ring a bell. It wasn’t even a year ago that the full concert of agitprop gears were spinning in exactly this direction. But like everything else out of the socialistoid playbook, it’s been tried, tried again. And again. Often as recently as their fellow Soviets across the Atlantic, but sometimes as distantly as a millenium afore. Spake Rashi while uncharacteristic kaballahsm :
“One silver bowl” (קערת כסף אחת)—The numerical value of the letters of these words is 930,¹ corresponding to the years of Adam, the first man.² “Weighing 130 [shekels]”— When [Adam] began to establish a family to perpetuate the world, he was 130, as the verse states, “Adam lived 130 years, and he fathered…”³
“One silver sprinkling basin” (מזרק אחד כסף)—Its numerical value is 520,⁴ representing Noach, who began to establish a family when he was 500 years old, and representing the 20 years that the flood had been decreed before his children were born…⁵ “70 shekels”—corresponding to the 70 nations which emerged from [Noach’s] sons.
“One spoon”—corresponding to the Torah, which was given by the hand⁶ of G‑d. “[Weighing] ten gold [shekels]”—corresponding to the Ten Commandments. “Filled with incense” (קטרת)—Its numerical value corresponds to the 613 commandments.⁷
1. ק = 100, ע= 70, ר=200, ת= 400, כ= 20, ס=60, פ= 80, a total of 930.
2. Bereishis 5:5
3. Bereishis 5:3
4. מ= 40, ז= 7, ר= 200, ק = 100, א= 1, ח= 8, ד= 4, כ= 20, ס= 60, ף= 80, a total of 520.
5. see Bereishis. 6:3
6. In Hebrew, the word כף means both “spoon” and “palm,” alluding here to the “hand” or “palm” of G‑d.
7. As Rashi explains: Provided that you convert the ק into a ד with the system known as At Bash א”ת ב”ש. (In this system, the first and last letters of the alphabet are interchangeable, etc. Thus קטרת is: ד= 4 (exchanged), ט= 9, ר =200, ת= 400, a total of 613.)
You see, numbers have always been just another way to tell a story, and if you’re numerate, literate, and cultured – like a good Jew – then you can take a bunch of datas or letters or geometric shapes and pretty well weave a tale as tall as a mountain and as deep as the sea without all that much difficulty. If you think Hollywood, Wall Street, and the potato industry are anything other than this : finely tuned Storymaschinen, I have a bridge to sell you.
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