Birthday Math

Every birthday, my Dad would come up with something special about
the number.

Nine: “Three squared!” Ten: “Double digits!” Thirteen: “A Fibonacci number!”
You get the idea.

Clearly, I was doomed from an early age.

Even when I had moved out of the house, he would come up with something during
the traditional Birthday Phone Call. Sometimes he had to reach a bit.
Twenty-three: “A prime number… and you won’t be prime again for six more

Last year was a bit tough. To get anything significant for twenty-six, you have
to turn to Gematria,
the ancient art of Hebrew numerology. Twenty-six figures
prominently throughout the Torah: among other things, it’s the numerical
representation of the name of God (YAHWEH), the number of generations from Adam
to Moses, and the number of lines that it takes to list the Ten Commandments in the
Torah (I bet you thought it was ten).

Well, this year Dad didn’t have to work too hard. “Three cubed!” I was a bit
concerned about next year, until my cousin pointed out that
twenty-eight is one of those rare
perfect numbers,
the next one being 496.

A perfect number! So much to look forward to…