During our Kabbalat Shabbat service this evening, we will bless our TBS congregants Rita and Dan Zipnick on the occasion of their 64th wedding anniversary. In general numerology, the number 64 is considered to be the number of self-determination – a determination to take action in ways that benefit the family. The energy represented by the number 64 explores new ideas and new ways of doing things that can be implemented by others.
This general concept of the number “64” is especially fitting when we think about the 64 years that Dan and Rita have been married, their determination to share their love, commitment and devotion to each other. Their determination to take action to build a beautiful and healthy family whose values reflect those of Rita and Dan. Their determination to support each other through the vicissitudes of life: the joys and the sorrows, the challenges and the “smooth-sailing”, the ordinary and mundane.
What does our Jewish notion of numerology, “gematria,” teach us about the number 64? (Gematria is a numerological system by which Hebrew letters correspond to numbers. This system, developed by practitioners of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, derived from Greek influence and became a tool for interpreting biblical texts).
In our tradition, the number 64 by itself does not have a specific biblical or traditional significance. However, it can be viewed in a few meaningful ways within our Jewish framework. 64 = 8 x 8. The number “8” in gematria is represented by the Hebrew letter “chet” – which is the first letter of the word “chai – life.” Symbolically, 64 can be seen as encompassing the concept of “life” magnified eight times (still with me?). Along with this, “chai” also represents vitality and abundance. So multiplying this by eight, represents an even greater abundance of life’s blessings and vitality. For Rita and Dan who are celebrating 64 years of marriage, whose smiles and joy radiate when they are together, their marriage exemplifies what it means to live a life of vitality and abundance in partnership with one another. They exemplify a couple who live a life of depth and richness of shared experiences. Each year that passes reinforces the strength of their commitment, the depth of their love, and the memories they continually create together.
Ultimately, while the number 64 itself may not have a specific significance in our tradition, we invite you to join us this evening at 6 pm as we celebrate Rita and Dan and their many 8 X 8 years, their 64 years together, as a reflection of determination, abundance, completion and the blessings that come from a life well-lived in harmony, love, partnership and devotion. Mazal Tov! L’chaim! To life!
Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel
Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Sholom