“Don’t destroy HaShemNumbers Count
’s name” also in numbers!
Unlike the number system we’re used to (called Arabic numerals), in Hebrew, the letters are also numbers. The system is very logical: Yud = 10; Yud and Aleph = 11… until you get to 15. Look at the above chart. Instead of combining a Yud and Heh to equal 15 (10+5=15), we combine Tes and Vav (9+6=15). Why? Because Yud and Hei spell Hashem’s name, and we could easily erase them without realizing it.
It seems that this custom extended to writing Tes and Zayin (9+7=16), instead of Yud and Vav (1+6=16). This combination is also one of HaShem’s many names (72 to be exact!). Still, it’s not as holy as the Yud-Hay combination, and perhaps for this reason, we do find the Yud-Vov combination in many holy books of old, including in some editions of Rashi.