I'm not Jewish, but I stumbled upon this while looking for something unrelated and found it interesting (or at least the part quoted below)...
For the full video of the lecture go here.Gal Einai Institute said:In this lecture, we will discuss the significance of the number 248. Many of us are probably aware that 248 has tremendous significance in Torah. First of all, 248 is the number of positive commandments in the Torah. In total, the Torah contains 613 commandments of which 248 are positive (and 365 are prohibitive). The sages also teach us that the 248 positive commandments correspond to the limbs of the human body. A limb is defined in Halachah as a bone around which there are sinews and flesh. What this means is that according to Halachah, in the human skeleton there are 248 basic components.1
The reason that we have chosen this topic is because it has relevance to a theory that was recently developed in physics. This theory is very speculative and has aroused a great deal of controversy and even outright rejection by some physicists. Nonetheless, others see in it positive prospects for constructive research in the future, especially once the new Large Hadron Collider at CERN goes online next year. The theory that we are referring to is not based on String Theory but on Quantum Mechanics as known to date. It is based on a mathematical group called the E8 Lie (pronounced: Lee) group. This theory predicts that our universe has 248 elementary particles. Whether it is proven fully or not, in any case many physicists feel that the E8 Lie group is one of the most beautiful mathematical structures. If this structure can indeed be used to correctly describe all of the particles and the four forces, it will truly be an amazing thing. Such a level of unification in physics has not been achieved by any theory to date.
Before we begin let us share a beautiful observation. In the past, long before this theory was introduced, we ourselves thought that the number of elementary particles in the universe should be 248. Why is this? Because, by Divine Providence, in modern Hebrew the word for an elementary particle is חלקיק , whose numerical value is 248. This word is based on the Hebrew word for “part” (חלק ), to which the two-letter suffix יק , which indicates extreme smallness are added, meaning together “a very small part.” This word was chosen by Divine Providence, and the committee for modern Hebrew language who selected this word for “elementary particle,” did not do so on the basis of its numerical value. This is a beautiful example of something that comes directly from God.
In modern Hebrew, this word does not only mean an “elementary particle.” It is also used to denote any very small entity or unit. One of the most common uses of this word isחלקיק שניה , meaning “an infinitesimal part of a second,” like an eye blink. In the Torah, the second smallest unit of time is called a “part,” (חלק ), the original base word of חלקיק . There are 18 such parts in a minute, meaning that each “part” is the equivalent of three and a third seconds. There is also a smaller unit of time called a rega (רגע ), which literally is translated as “moment.” A rega is 1/76th of a “part,” which works out to about 1/23 of a second. In any event, because the smallest measure of time that we usually use is a second, the idiom חלקיק שניה , “an infinitesimal part of a second,” is a way to express the smallest unit of time.
We already know that the numerical value of the word חלקיק (small part) is 248. But, amazingly, the second word, “second” (שניה ) is equal to 365, which is the number of prohibitive commandments in the Torah, the number that in Torah is the complement of 248. So the value of the full idiom, חלקיק שניה is 613. The image that this idiom summons is of the entire Torah captured and encapsulated in one particle of a second. Now, what exactly is a particle of a second, or a particle of time? In quantum theory like energy, time too is quantified, meaning that it can be broken down into basic units and no further. In other words, time is not continuous but discrete. The best way to describe the smallest quanta of time would therefore be this Hebrew idiom חלקיק שניה . In Kabbalah, time is considered even more primary than space and matter. According to Kabbalah, time is a masculine entity that enters space, which is feminine. So in a certain sense the seed of reality is a quantized instant of time, a particle of a second, which as we said is equal to 613.
This was an example of how Divine Providence works in modern Hebrew.