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Monday, March 22, 2021

3333 Years of Pesah - the Hag Ha'Emunah

We are now quickly approaching Pesah 5781, the holiday wherein we renew and reinvigorate our Emunah in HKB"H's providence and love of the Jewish people.  It is often called חג האמונה - the Holiday of Faith.  We sit at the Seder retelling the story of the Exodus, which is the quintessential affirmation of this faith.  It's an essential part of our religion.  We've been doing so for quite a while - 3,333 years to be exact.

What is the significance of 3,333?  3,333 = 3 x 1,111

Let's examine each part of this equation.

The Number 3

The number 3 has great significance, as per the Maharal, who (based on an Aish article by Rebbetzin Heller):

tells us to imagine a link chain. When you hold it up, the first link touches the second one. The second one touches both the first link and the third one. The third one touches the second one and not the first. Thus the third link is the first in the series that doesn't have any connection to the first link. The number three thus symbolizes something new, but not disconnected.

The Maharal refers to this quality (new, but not disconnected) as "nivdal", which means in Hebrew separate or transcendent; it is part of a process, but also beyond it. Thus, for example, Moses, the third child in his family, was connected to the heritage of monotheism that Abraham initiated, but he took it a step further, giving his people a sense of nationhood based on the Torah.

The Maharal also explains that the number 3, since it contains both a pair and a separate element, represents completeness.

We are hopefully soon entering an era that is very much connected to the previous eras, but is nevertheless Nivdal - separated from the previous era.  We are also hopefully soon entering an era of completeness - when the Tikkun of the world will be complete.

(A comparison to the 3 Batei Mikdash is an appropriate example.)

The Number 1,111

The only verse in the Torah with the gematria of 3333 is:

מח  וַיִּקְרְבוּ, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, הַפְּקֻדִים, אֲשֶׁר לְאַלְפֵי הַצָּבָא--שָׂרֵי הָאֲלָפִים, וְשָׂרֵי הַמֵּאוֹת.48 And the officers that were over the thousands of the host, the captains of thousands, and the captains of hundreds, came near unto Moses;

The number 1111 is hinted to in the verse since:

  • A captain of thousands is charged with 1000 men
  • A captain of hundreds is charged with 100 men
  • There are 11 words in this verse
  • 1000 + 100 + 11 = 1111
We also know the following:

1,111 = קץ דעות כוזבות (the end of false beliefs)

As we said, our Emunah that we celebrate and reaffirm on Pesah is quite important.  But there were times throughout Jewish history where this faith wasn't always in line with traditional Torah thought.  The 13 Principles of Faith listed by the Rambam were not always affirmed by our coreligionists throughout history.

As we are 3,333 years from the Exodus, we will examine every 1,111 years since that year of 2448.


This was a great year for the Jewish people, but it also came with tragedy caused by various Israelite sects who didn't have the requisite Emunah:

  • 80% of the people didn't believe in redemption from Egypt so they died in the plague of darkness
  • Some people questioned if Hashem was with them or not, thereby causing the Amalek War
  • The Erev Rav didn't believe Moshe was coming down from the mountain, causing the terrible Sin of the Golden Calf

2448 = 2448 + (1111 * 0)


Seder Hadorot writes that Antiochus III (the grandfather of the notorious Antiochus IV ימ"ש) first ruled in the year 3559.  He was the first Seleucid (Syrian Greek) king to rule over Judea, taking over from the Ptolmeic (Egyptian Greek) kings.  When he took over, Hellenism was already well-entrenched into Jewish culture.  Hellenism gave birth to the Tziddukim, who only believed in the Torah Shebichtav - the Written Law - which when absent the belief in the Oral Law is a distortion of Judaism.  These ideas were a direct attack against the beliefs of traditional Judaism that was practiced since the time of Moshe Rabbeinu.  

The start of Seleucid rule over Judea proved to be the beginning of the end of the Hellenists taking over Judaism completely.  Although Antiochus III was benevolent toward the Jews, his grandson, Antiochus IV, was anything but.  The latter's rule prompted the revolt against Hellenism by the Hashmona'im which provided the salvation of traditional Judaism.  Hellenistic Judaism and the Tzidukim were eventually relegated to the dustbin of history. This all was set in motion by HKB"H in 3559.  

3559 = 2448 + (1111 * 1)


The next major schism in Jewish history occurred during the Ge'onic Period when Anan founded the Kara'ite distortion of Judaism.  In 4670, this movement was at its peak.  They too only believed in only the Torah Shebichtav and their denomination contained numerous followers.  The first major attack on this belief came from Rav Saadia Gaon, who, in the year 4675, composed כתאב אלרד עלי ענן (a book in Arabic that roughly translates to "The Book that Refutes Anan").  Rav Saadia Gaon wrote this book when he was only 23 years old and was his first of many polemic writings against them.  With the help of Rav Saadia Gaon, the bulk of Judaism was set back on track toward tradition, while today, the Kara'ites have been greatly diminished and are all but nonexistent.  All this was set in motion by HKB"H within 5 years of 4760.

4670 = 2448 + (1111 * 2)


That brings us to today.  Today, we have Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Humanistic Judaism, and (sad to say, but I must include) Open Orthodox Judaism - all distortions of traditional Judaism.  One can even say the same about Xtianity too.  Denominations in Judaism that deviate beyond the pale are just bad copies.  As the old advertisements for the anti-car-theft device "The Club" used to say: "Accept no imitations."

Just as the other movements in history are either gone or almost so, the new imitations we have today will soon fade away.  We have already seen a major decline in the membership of these movements at a surprising (or not) rate even way before the pandemic hit.  And that doesn't even account for the diminished percentage of the Halachically Jewish status of its members.  The pandemic was quite a major blow to these congregations as well, forcing them all to have "virtual services", which is actually an apt name for even their in-person services that occurred before the pandemic hit.  The pandemic was started by HKB"H within a year of 5781.1 

5781 = 2448 + (1111 * 3)

קץ דעות כוזבות indeed.

May all from our brethren who believe in any of these false beliefs, ideas, and movements come back to traditional Torah-true Judaism before the Birur hits and it's too late.

We hopefully will soon see a separate and complete world.  Let us shore up and even increase our Emunah during this Pesah season so that we can merit such a world when the Complete Redemption comes speedily in our days.  Amen.

1) Incidentally, there is a (contested) belief that the coronavirus was started by a bat.  Even if it wasn't, its makeup mimics one that would be started by a bat.  The only verse in the Torah that has the gematria of 1111 is:

יח  וְהַחֲסִידָה, וְהָאֲנָפָה לְמִינָהּ; וְהַדּוּכִיפַת, וְהָעֲטַלֵּף.18 and the stork, and the heron after its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat.


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