Midnight Message

Published June 28, 2020 by tindertender

I woke to find that sometime during the nights rest I had written on a piece of paper “Judaism of the 18th”.

I have a feeling someone is trying to tell me something.

Puzzled, I google the phrase and this is what I find:

The Numerical Significance of Chai

In Judaism, the word “chai” is numerically significant and the number 18 is universally synonymous with this word. Numerically, the words consists of the eighth (8th) and tenth (10th) letters of the Hebrew alphabet Chet (ח) and Yud (י), adding up to eighteen the number 18, which is also the word “Chai”. According to Jewish traditions and scriptures there are prayers, including the Amidah, commonly referred to as “Shmoneh Esreh” (which translates to “the 18”) and refers to the eighteen individual prayers. There is a deep connection drawn upon the word ‘chai’, its meaning ‘life’ and the numerical value of the letters that comprise this word.

Chai (חי) is the Hebrew word for life.


The nineteen blessings are as follows:

  1. Avot (“Ancestors”) – praises of God as the God of the Biblical patriarchs, “God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob.
  2. Gevurot (“powers”) – praises God for His power and might. This prayer includes a mention of God’s healing of the sick and resurrection of the dead. It is called also Tehiyyat ha-Metim = “the resurrection of the dead.”
    • Rain is considered as great a manifestation of power as the resurrection of the dead; hence in winter a line recognizing God’s bestowal of rain is inserted in this benediction. Except for many Ashkenazim, most communities also insert a line recognizing dew in the summer.
  3. Kedushat ha-Shem (“the sanctification of the Name”) – praises God’s holiness.
    • During the chazzan’s repetition, a longer version of the blessing called Kedusha is chanted responsively. The Kedusha is further expanded on Shabbat and Festivals.
  4. Binah (“understanding”) – asks God to grant wisdom and understanding.
  5. Teshuvah (“return”, “repentance”) – asks God to help Jews to return to a life based on the Torah, and praises God as a God of repentance.
  6. Selichah – asks for forgiveness for all sins, and praises God as being a God of forgiveness.
  7. Geulah (“redemption”) – asks God to rescue the people Israel.
    • On fast days, the chazzan adds in the blessing Aneinu during his repetition after concluding the Geulah blessing.
  8. Refuah (“healing”) – a prayer to heal the sick.
    • An addition can ask for the healing of a specific person or more than one name. The phrasing uses the person’s Jewish name and the name of their Jewish mother (or Sara immeinu).
  9. Birkat HaShanim (“blessing for years [of good]”) – asks God to bless the produce of the earth.
  10. Galuyot (“diasporas”) – asks God to allow the ingathering of the Jewish exiles back to the land of Israel.
  11. Birkat HaDin (“Justice”) – asks God to restore righteous judges as in the days of old.
  12. Birkat HaMinim (“the sectarians, heretics”) – asks God to destroy those in heretical sects (Minuth), who slander Jews and who act as informers against Jews.
  13. Tzadikim (“righteous”) – asks God to have mercy on all who trust in Him, and asks for support for the righteous.
  14. Boneh Yerushalayim (“Builder of Jerusalem”) – asks God to rebuild Jerusalem and to restore the Kingdom of David.
  15. Birkat David (“Blessing of David”) – asks God to bring the descendant of King David, who will be the messiah.
  16. Tefillah (“prayer”) – asks God to accept our prayers, to have mercy and be compassionate.
    • On fast days, Ashkenazic Jews insert Aneinu into this blessing during Mincha. Sephardic Jews recite it during Shacharit as well.
  17. Avodah (“service”) – asks God to restore the Temple services and sacrificial services.
  18. Hoda’ah (“thanksgiving”) – thanks God for our lives, for our souls, and for God’s miracles that are with us every day.
    • When the chazzan reaches this blessing during the repetition, the congregation recites a prayer called Modim deRabbanan (“the thanksgiving of the Rabbis”).
  19. Sim Shalom (“Grant Peace”) – asks God for peace, goodness, blessings, kindness and compassion. Ashkenazim generally say a shorter version of this blessing at Minchah and Maariv, called Shalom Rav.

Prior to the final blessing for peace, the following is said:

We acknowledge to You, O Lord, that You are our God, as You were the God of our ancestors, forever and ever. Rock of our life, Shield of our help, You are immutable from age to age. We thank You and utter Your praise, for our lives that are delivered into Your hands, and for our souls that are entrusted to You; and for Your miracles that are with us every day and for your marvelously kind deeds that are of every time; evening and morning and noon-tide. Thou art good, for Thy mercies are endless: Thou art merciful, for Thy kindnesses never are complete: from everlasting we have hoped in You. And for all these things may Thy name be blessed and exalted always and forevermore. And all the living will give thanks unto Thee and praise Thy great name in truth, God, our salvation and help. Selah. Blessed be Thou, O Lord, Thy name is good, and to Thee it is meet to give thanks.




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