Very interesting topic! I am glad you brought it up. I have been planning on discussing the Kabbalah since it played a central role in my conversion to Christianity.
I think it is a wonderful sentiment to "accept all faiths as the Word of God and the sages of all religions as Holy Men." Indeed, there was a time when I held that belief myself, but now I'm not sure that it is a logical possibility. It certainly would require a hermeneutic effort of herculean proportions to invent "explanations" for all the contradictory data. It seems much more likely that all religions contain fragments of the truth and that none of them, or at best only one of them, could be called the "Word of God" in the fullest sense. This approach seemed very promising to me in the past because I recognized that every religion contained elements of truth but believed that the Bible was the only true "Word of God." But now everything is "on the table." I am reevaluating all my beliefs. I have found it impossible to maintain belief in an anthropomorphic "Zeus-style" God which is supposed to be an agent (like a person) but who is most famous for failing to interact with his creation in an intelligible fashion.
As for the Sepher Yetzirah, it played an important role in my discovery of the Bible Wheel (link). It contains the famous description of the 22 Letters in a circle (galgal/wheel) in section 2:2 -
Twenty-two Foundation letters:I was studying the symbolic meaning of the letters and was inspired to put them in a circle and to fill in the spokes corresponding to each letter with the associated concepts. E.g. I put the Ten Commandments in the first ten spokes, and the Seven Days in the first seven spokes, and so forth. Then I noticed that the books could also be aligned with the spokes, and with three cycles, we have the Bible Wheel. And I thought it was pretty cool that galgal = 66 = the number of books in the Wheel.
He engraved them, He carved them, He permuted them, He weighed them, He transformed them, and with them He depicted all that was formed and all that would be formed.
Twenty-two Foundation letters:
He placed them in a circle
like a wall with 231 gates
. The Circle
oscillates back and forth. A sign for this is: There is nothing in good higher than Delight; There is nothing in evil lower than Plague.
Now getting back to gematria, you had asked what significance it might have. The Kabbalistic answer, which I don't believe you mentioned, would be that this reveals the way to redeem the fallen sparks trapped in matter (the qliphoth). In other words, the Kabbalah is supposed to be a gnostic path back to God. And this might be true ... I look forward to discussing it more.
All the very best,
PS: Let me say again how happy I am that I have someone knowledgeable in the Kabbalah to talk to!