Judaism, Mathematics, and the Hebrew Calendar

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9780765761446: Judaism, Mathematics, and the Hebrew Calendar

The author explores several connections between mathematics and the history and tradition of Judaism, including the use of gematria to discover deeper meanings of words and phrases in the Torah. this book analysis the mathematical structure and properties of the Hebrew calendar, including probabilities assoiated with the calendar and computation of correspondences between Hebrew and civil dates. Intended for the scholar and layperson alike, this volume will appeal to reders with an interest in Judaism and/or mathematics.

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About the Author:

Hyman Gabai received his B.S. in Math and Science Education from Temple University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. He taught at City College of New York, the University of Illinois, and retired as professor of mathematics at York College. He is the author of more than thirty publications in mathematics and math education, including several math poems and co-author of a high school math text.


Many of our talmudic rabbis had a profound understanding of mathematics, as evidenced by the fact that our Hebrew calendar, with all of its intricate calculations, was finalized in the fourth century. None of them, however, used mathematics to explore Torah and Judaism as Dr. Hyman Gabai. His investigation of mathematical concepts in Judaism, as presented in this book, is very creative and absolutely fascinating. He weaves the two disciplines together in an ingenious manner that reflects his scholarship in both Judaism and mathematics. This book is not meant only for mathematicians. It will be of great interest to every student of judaism. The numbers do not overwhelm the scholarly discussions of Jewish history and traditions. Instead, as the reader will discover, all of the beautiful connections between mathematics and Judaism provide additional validation and structure to the profound lessons that are inherent in our Torah. (Rabbi Pickholz, Morris)

As a mathematician, I appreciate that this analysis of the calendar involves only straightforward applications of the most elementary mathematics. All that is needed is a first course in algebra, which every high school student must have at his fingertips, and a bit of elementary number theory, all of which is described in great detail to make the book completely self contained. Even less mathematics is needed if one omits the proofs and optional sections. For the reader with an interest in learning about the Hebrew calendar, it is difficult to image a more comprehensive text. For anyone with an interest in ways that mathematics can be both useful and fun, this entire book will provide endless hours of pleasure and satisfaction. (Herbert A. Hauptman, Ph.D.)

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