So on Sunday afternoon I picked up my “bib”, my race number from the Nahariya City Hall. I have number 1215. I am very sensitive about race numbers, perhaps even a little peculiar. But I believe that a runner’s race number foretells how he will perform during the race.
I start by asking what do the numbers 12 and 15 portend? What good can I find in these numerals? And the answer is a no-brainer. Most assuredly the number 12 stands for the Twelve Tribes, and me being a Zionist per se sees in it the unity and brotherhood of my Israeli brothers…definitely an auspicious beginning.
Likewise, the numeral 15: In it is the strength of the full moon on the 15th day of each lunar month. And I am feeling strong; I am psyched. I started training for this 5K back in March, and I am ready to go. And then there is also the strength found in the 15th of Nissan, the Passover, when with the help of Hashem we were freed from the bondage of Egypt. If you haven’t guessed, I am not only a Zionist, but to put me in a pigeon hole – a Religious Zionist at that.
I like to get into the nitty-gritty of things. And in terms of my race number I use gematria to squeeze additional meaning from what the Heavens have ordained for me: Adding up the individual digits in 1215 I get the number nine. And the number nine is a winner.
The ninth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Tet, ט.
The first tet - ט that appears in the Torah is in the word “tov” of Genesis 1:4, translated as good, as in: “And God saw the light that it was good…”. We read this verse on Simchas Torah.. It makes for an auspicious prediction, and I like it for that.
Getting back to the number nine. There are auspicious words, the gematria of which, total the number nine. Some of these are:
אֶמֶת TRUTH, 1+40+ 400 = 441 or 9.
שַׁבָּת SHABBAT, 300+2+400 = 702 or 9.
אדם ADAM, 1+4+5 = 9.
An auspicious race number and Kabbalah is one thing, but what actually ensues may be another.
And I got to tell you the start of the race was fraught with disaster. I have a pair of old lucky running shorts that because of its venerable age and condition I only wear in races. When I suited up I noticed that they were not exactly snug; the last time I had worn them was in the 2016 Nahariya 5K, but I did not pay much attention as to their looseness.
But as soon as the Mayor did the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown I knew I had a serious problem: My pants were falling down. Picture this: In my left hand I held a smart phone in order to track my time, and in my right hand I desperately held on to my shorts which were headed for the pavement. For six months I had worked on my form, getting it just right, but now that was out the window. I was in a panic mode, not wanting to flash the crowd or my fellow runners…you could get arrested for that. When we reached the tiyelet I went over to a bench and did a quick overhaul on my wayward shorts. All I can say is “Whew”.
There were 145 men, 61 years or older who I competed against in the 5K. Last year I ran the 5K in 43 minutes, 30 seconds. The official times are not out yet, but I tracked my time using the "Runkeeper" App. This year I must have had a strong tail wind pushing along because I finished in 36 minutes and 40 seconds which is just super.
The beginning may not have been auspicious, but the conclusion was grand. And next year, we’ll take on the 10K, B’izrat Hashem,.