At least numerically.
Or so Rudy Giuliani’s associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman can be heard telling the president in a video released by Parnas’ attorney. It shows a 2018 donor dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The video attracted more attention for the part where the president can be heard telling an aide to “take out” then-United States ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch
While Parnas and Fruman, who are facing campaign finance charges, were honored a year later by the National Council of Young Israel, it’s clear from the tape that gematria — numerology based on Hebrew letters — is not precisely their forte.
Near the end of the 80-minute cellphone recording of the dinner, Parnas presents Trump with what he says is a gift from “the head rabbi of Ukraine” and some rabbis in Israel. He explains that according to gematria, the letters in Trump’s name add up to 424, which is the same total as the letters in the Hebrew word for messiah.
The gift, which apparently refers to the numerology, cannot be seen on the recording, so it is not clear what it is.
“It’s like a miracle,” Fruman is heard telling Trump on the recording.
Parnas goes on to explain that the messiah is “the person that has come to save the whole world. So it’s like you’re the savior of the Ukraine.”
When it is clear that Trump does not understand the significance of the numerology or the messiah, Parnas tells him to ask his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, about it, saying that Kushner “will explain it to you.”
While Kushner can no doubt explain gematria, if he were to actually crunch the numbers he might have trouble matching what Parnas described with the numerology of mashiach, which totals 358.
However, consultation with a Teaneck-based yeshiva-trained math student — okay, my son Joey — suggested another plausible reading: koach Trump — the power of Trump — also totals 358, not the 424 that Parnas cited.
Those looking to the mystical mathematics before placing bets on November’s election should keep in mind that kabbalists similarly validated the messianic aspirations of Shabtai Tzvi back in the 17th century.
Larry Yudelson with JTA