Re: Equal Interval Reading

Akiva Miller (
Mon, 30 Dec 1996 09:15:22 -0500

Previous postings reminded us of the tradition that "vav deGichon"
(Leviticus/Vayikra 10:42) is supposed to be the middle of the Torah in
letters. However, many people who have examined today's Torah scrolls
have come to the conclusion that the actual midpoint is about 5000
letters away from that "vav".

I would like to suggest that today's scrolls may actually be consistent
with that tradition.

What is the significance and proper explanation of the tradition about
the "vav deGichon"? I recall it having something to do with sofrim
[scribes] in general, and the historical period of the Sofrim in
particular. I also recall that from a sofer's [scribe's] perspective,
the letter "aleph" can be considered to be equivalent to two yuds and a
vav; if I'm not mistaken, a "mem" is likewise equivalent to a kaf and a
vav, and a "ches" (in the scribal font) is two zayins.

What I am suggesting is that perhaps the "vav deGichon" IS in the exact
middle of our texts, and that we simply have not been counting the
letters properly. Agreed, counting an "aleph" as three letters might
also be the wrong way of counting. For all I know, the true meaning of
the tradition might be that the total gematria [numeric value] of all
the letters before the "vav deGichon" equals the total gematria of the
letters after it. Somewhere along the line, I've gotten the feeling that
scribal traditions can get pretty esoteric and kabbalistic, and people
should be very wary of claiming to understand them.

Akiva Miller
(now at both and at