We read in Bnei Yissaschar: “From where do we know that gematriot that differ by 1 are considered equal? We learn this from Yaakov's statement that Ephraim and Menashe (gematria of 726) are equivalent in his eyes to Reuven and Shimon (gematria of 725). And when did Yaakov say that? On the occasion when he reversed his right and left hands.”

But this implies that two gematriot that differ by 2 are also the same, because each is equal to the number between them, from which they differ by only 1. Likewise if they differ by 3, etc. So, by transitivity, they are all alike. Is there a response to this argument among the commentaries?

  • 2
    Dunno about commentaries (are there even any on BY?), but logically I don't see why transitivity should be applied. If "two gimatriyaos off by one are considered equal" that doesn't mean they're considered the same gimatriya: just that they're consideeed equal for some purposes.
    – msh210
    Feb 28, 2018 at 4:01
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    I'm not sure I understand your question. Regardless, it seems that the bnei yissachar is bringing a proof that a gematria that is off by one is close enough that it can be compared. If you want that to apply to a difference of two or more, you'll need to bring a proof that it still works.
    – Menachem
    Feb 28, 2018 at 5:07

1 Answer 1


the word for this type of gematria is כולל meaning that in addition to the numeric value of the letters of the words we count the word itself as 1 "point". This means that we can add "1" to a word but we can't subtract... What we see from the Bnei Yissaschar is that we can apply a כולל to a single side of the equation....

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