Each letter in the

Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value. These values can be used to write

numbers, as the

Romans used some of their letters (I, V, X, L, C, M) to represent numbers. Alef through Yod have the values

1 through

10. Yod through Qof have the values 10 through 100, counting by 10s. Qof through Tav have the values 100 through 400, counting by 100s.

Final letters have the same value as their non-final counterparts. The number 11 would be rendered Yod-Alef, the number 12 would be Yod-Bet, the number 21 would be Kaf-Alef, the word

Torah (Tav-Vav-Resh-He) has the numerical value 611, etc. The only significant oddity in this pattern is the number

15, which if rendered as 10+5 would be a name of

G-d, so it is normally written Tet-Vav (9+6).

Because of this

system of assigning numerical values to letters, every

word has a numerical value. There is an entire discipline of

Jewish mysticism known as

Gematria that is devoted to finding hidden meanings in the numerical values of words.

For example, the number

18 is very significant, because it is the numerical value of the word

Chai, meaning

life.
It is interesting to note that the numerical value of Vav (often transliterated as W) is

6, and therefore

WWW has the numerical value of

666!

It's an

amusing notion, but Hebrew numbers just don't work that way. In Hebrew numerals, the position of the letter/digit is irrelevant; the letters are simply added up to determine the value. To say that Vav-Vav-Vav is six hundred and sixty-six would be like saying that the Roman numeral III is one hundred and eleven. The numerical value of Vav-Vav-Vav in Hebrew would be 6+6+6=18, so WWW is equivalent to life!

(It is also worth noting that the significance of the number

666 is a part of

Christian numerology, and has no basis that I know of in Jewish thought).