Re: Equal Interval Reading

Hillel E. Markowitz (hem@hrb.com)
Sun, 12 Jan 1997 10:19:13 -0500 (EST)

Akiva Miller <kgmiller@datacorinc.com> wrote:
> 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 have also been told that the sofrim also counted the spaces in between
the words. The spaces would also be considered "letters" for various
purposes (consider the spaces between parshiyos and the five chumashim).
I have heard it suggested that this spacing as well might be the cause of
our differences. Since we no longer have the full traditions as to how
these numbers were reached, we cannot say for sure what was meant.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
H.E.Markowitz@hrb.com