I have taken an initial pass at the Sefir Yetzirah and some other Kabbalah texts, and have had several personal experiences myself where I was able to make "associations" between patterns pretty fluidly, such as thinking about the digital clock time and the numbers and letters and cycling through them, tying them to various things with "standard" number and letter values such as the 7 visible stellar bodies, the 12 musical notes, the 26 letters of the English alphabet, the 6 directions, the 7 visible colors of the rainbow, etc.. You can really "derive" a lot of associations just by thinking about the numbers and standard encounters, and sometimes it's interesting.
However to a lot of people this feels like "random" and "meaningless" pattern matching. That is, arbitrary associations being created by your brain based on your experience, upbringing, and memory. Basically, many people feel "I can easily come up with associations between letters and numbers, but what makes my associations better or worse than the ones you came up with?"
I say this after reading through the Sefir Yetzirah where it says there are 3 elements, for example, air, water, and fire (or ether, I'm not sure). But to another person there are 4 elements (earth, air, water, fire), or to modern science there are no longer elements but states of matter (plasma, liquid, solid, gas). To a fish or a dog there are not 7 visible colors but some other number of colors, some bees can see ultraviolet light, etc.. Other animals have other senses like how birds have basically a magnetic sensor to help them navigate vast distances across the Earth. Or another example, there are thousands of spoken languages, potentially dozens/hundreds of writing systems, some with alphabets, others like Chinese with logographs, others are syllable-based like Ahmaric. Hebrew technically is an abjad and only represents consonants, so it is different from an alphabet. Each of these systems has a different number of symbols, so you could do "gematria" in any of these systems perhaps. Another example is the sephirot, at first it was somewhat nebulous, now it is 10, or possibly 11, nodes in the diagram. Sometimes things have 4, sometimes 5, sometimes 7, etc.. Sometimes they can be seen as green and blue, other times as red and yellow. Sometimes you break it up like this, sometimes you break it up like that. Like there were 7 heavenly bodies when all we had were our eyes, then there were 9 "planets" (including pluto), now there are only 8 (minus pluto). The 10 fingers of the hand are associated with the 10 sephirot, but some people might have a mutation with an extra digit, etc..
Basically, it is like there are repetitions of "patterns" in an experience, and they form an impression on us. Like how there were 7 heavenly bodies for at least 100's of years. These "patterns" are then used to create associations with other things, but the pattern may evolve or change at some point in the future, or based on a different way of looking at it (a different perspective/culture/etc.). It is sort of like machine learning, how it is all statistics based. Our brains find meaning in repeatable patterns, even if they are only temporary or not exact or can change based on perspective/knowledge. Then we use these patterns to create associations with other patterns, etc..
But like how the Sefir Yetzirah says there are 3 elements, when the idea of "elements" really breaks down in modern science, I wonder when we should adhere to a pattern, and when it is arbitrary or meaningless. In Judaism, what do they have to say about these "pattern associations"? When are they relevant, when are they meaningless? What do they say about the fact that the numerical values of things may change based on knew knowledge or a different perspective (like the 3 elements)? Basically wondering what is the science or systematic framework behind making associations, given they are so dynamic.