Spotted in Brentwood, on a small late-modelÂ Mercedes:
Now, the number 18 has significance in Judaism because 18 is the gematria – the sum of the numerical values of the letters – in the word chai
(the verb “lives” or “living”).
So the plate reads, roughly, “Eternal Life.”
But there’s just one little thing: Â Judaism doesn’t put much stock in eternal life; that’s a Christian preoccupation. (TheÂ rewardsÂ promised Â in the TorahÂ for right livingÂ are all worldly: Â children, long life, favorable weather for your crops.)
So, Watson, whoever picked out that vanity plate knows enough about Judaism to know that 18 is a lucky number having something to do with “life,” but doesn’t know enough Hebrew to understand that “life” would beÂ chaim, not chai, and therefore would not have the numerical value 18. That person also wants to advertise both his Judaism and a Christian belief.
The owner is therefore a member of the Jews for Jesus, and [given the Mercedes]* has more money than brains.
* Updated, per a comment, to avoid the impression that I was casting aspersions on the intelligence of the Jews for Jesus. It’s a fair guess that someone who drives a Benz and can’t be bothered to look up the meaning of Chai has more money than brains.