Comment From The Hebrew Scribes


Leviticus 11:36-42


A Sesame Street routine used to show a picture of, say an apple, a peach, a plum and a gorilla.  They would sing a song that goes “One of these things is not like the others…”  




The above text is from Leviticus 11 in the Hebrew (BHS).  The Hebrew scribes played that game as well.  One of the letters above is not like the others.  To make it easier, I’ll even tell you that it appears in verse 42.  The 42 appears in the last line of Hebrew text above.  And remember, Hebrew reads right to left, so start your search at the LEFT of the 42.


The English reads “Whatever crawls on its belly, whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet among all creeping things that creep on the earth—these you shall not eat, for they are an abomination.”  Oops, I almost gave it away.


Leviticus 11:42 is (about) the middle verse of the Pentateuch.  “Belly” is (about) the middle word of the Pentateuch.   That A eleven letters to the left of the 42 is precisely the middle letter of the Pentateuch.  It is sometimes called the “belly of the Torah.”


So concerned about accuracy were the Masorites (the real name of a Hebrew scribe) that they oversized the belly of the Torah.  And no copy of the scriptures was accepted unless the letters before the A were counted, and the letters after the A were counted, and it was certified that the counts matched.




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