The portion of the Torah read this week begins with the story of Pinchas:

G‑d spoke to Moses, saying: Pinchas the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, turned back My anger against the children of Israel by avenging My vengeance against them. I therefore did not destroy the children of Israel in My vengeance. (Num. 25:10-11)

The idiom "vengeance" is mentioned three times in this verse. [The numerical value of the root of this word, kuf-nun-alef, is 151, and is derived in three ways:] The numerical value of the divine name Eh-yeh, when spelled out using the letter hei is 151.

As explained previously, the divine names may be spelled out in various ways, depending on how the letters hei and vav are spelled. In the case of the name Eh-yeh (alef-hei-yud-hei), if the two letters hei are spelled out hei-hei, we have:

alef alef 1
lamed 30
pei 80
hei hei 5
hei 5
yud yud 10
vav 6
dalet 4
hei hei 5
hei 5

Spelling out ("milui", in Hebrew) signifies the fulfillment of latent potential, similar to the birth of a fetus hidden within the womb. Thus, in a certain sense, anger is the psychological fulfillment of the name Eh-yeh, and rectifying it involves tracing it back to its source in this divine name.

Furthermore, the numerical of the name Eh-yeh squared is also 151. Inter-inclusion is the characteristic of maturity…

If we take the sum of the squares of each of the four letters that compose this name, we have 12 + 52 + 102 + 52 = 1 + 25 + 100 + 25 = 151. This technique is called "ribu'a perati" ("individual squaring"), i.e. summing the squares of each letter that make up the word. Squaring signifies maturation and development, similar to the way a child matures as he grows into an adult. This is because squaring a number makes that number inter-include all its constituent units. For example, the number five may be envisioned as a set of five points, named A through E. If five is squared, we have 25 points, or five A's, five B's, and so on:

A of A B of A C of A D of A E of A
A of B B of B C of B D of B E of B
A of C B of C C of C D of C E of C
A of D B of D C of D D of D E of D
A of E B of E C of E D of E E of E

Inter-inclusion is the characteristic of maturity, since maturity means being able to see all sides of an issue and grant validity to other people. In Kabbala, the maturation of the sefirot from individual points into partzufim is the process that marks the transition from the chaotic, unstable world of Tohu to the rectified world of Tikun.

Here again, anger is paradoxically seen to be the result of the maturation of the name Eh-yeh, and its rectification involves tracing it back to its source in this divine name.

Finally, the combined numerical values of the names Elo-him and Ado-nai are 151.

Elo-him: alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem (1+30+5+10+40 = 86); Ado-nai: alef-nun-dalet-yud (1+50+4+10 = 65). 65+86 = 151. The name Elo-him signifies G‑d's attribute of judgment and severity, while the name Ado-nai signifies His attribute of authority and dominion (the word "adon" means "master" or "ruler"). When these two divine attributes are combined, this also can produce anger, and thus the rectification of anger involves as well tracing it back to these two attributes in the soul, as will be explained further on.

These three aspects of vengeance are alluded to in the verse: "I descended to the garden of nuts." (Songs 6:11) The numerical value of the word for "garden of" [in Hebrew, "ginat", spelled gimel-nun-tav] is 453, which is 3 times 151.

The nut symbolizes in Kabbala the phenomenon of evil surrounding holiness, just as the shells of the nut surround the inner meat. Here, too, anger is a shell that must be discarded, and in so doing, one reveals the inner goodness of the soul.

This is the end of this passage in Shaar HaPesukim and its parallel passage in Likutei Torah. In Shaar Ruach HaKodesh, which contains (among other things) numerous remedies for various sins, these numerical equivalencies are discussed at greater length. Therefore, to help understand this passage, we offer links to two selections from Shaar Ruach HaKodesh: Remedy for Anger No. 1 and Remedy for Anger No. 2.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from the Writings of the Ari; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."

"Reprinted with permission from Chabad of California. Copyright 2004 by Chabad of California, Inc. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, without permission, in writing, from Chabad of California, Inc."