This video is based on a book of Rabbi Jacobs’s jottings. Here he discusses the use of the Bible for semi-magical purposes, known as bibliomancy, and particularly the Lottery of the Vilna Gaon.
The technique involves turning seven pages of the bible and reading the seventh line. It is similar to a seventeenth century Anglo Protestant practice. The number seven represents the meeting of the divine guidance with the holy book, seven being the sacred number.
Rabbi Jacobs surmises that the technique is named after the Vilna Gaon because he challenges Maimonides’s rejection of superstition. Rabbi Jacobs gives some examples, some of which at least are anecdotal, in which this technique was used. He expresses surprise that this superstitious technique was so popular amongst the rational Lithuanian communities.
Rabbi Jacobs then returns to his book of Jottings and explains why he decided to write it.