Volume 19 Number 32
                       Produced: Tue Apr 11  7:19:20 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Discovery Seminar Review (RE-SEND OF EARLIER SUBMISSION)
         [Stan Tenen]
Response to Mike Gerver on Codes
         [Stan Tenen]
Response to Prof. Chappell on Uses of Mathematics
         [Stan Tenen]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 17:27:33 -0700
Subject: Discovery Seminar Review (RE-SEND OF EARLIER SUBMISSION)

Last Sunday I attended a "Discovery Seminar" on the equal interval 
letter skip patterns in Torah, as suggested by Prof. Harold Gans 2-weeks 
ago.  This is a report on my experience.

Since this report is going to be critical and since it was quite obvious 
that the 2-rabbis and 1-mathematician/computer scientist presenting the 
work were honest and caring Torah Jews with nothing but the very best of 
intentions, I will not be explicit about which seminar I attended.  (The 
computer scientist was familiar with some of my views since he has been 
reading mail-jewish.)

Also, it should be remembered that I am a very critical person and that 
I was a "ringer" in the audience.  (I had different knowledge, and an 
outside motive--this report.)  So, my impressions may be quite different 
from that of other attendees.  Also, while I had some opportunity to 
speak with the first rabbi and the computer scientist, I left 1-hour 
early and did not speak with the second rabbi other than to say hello.

There were about 50-persons present, about 25 women and 20 men and a few 
children.  Half were there out of curiosity and had no particular 
response.  Maybe a quarter of the persons present were well-educated and 
fairly critical; they appreciated my comments and questions.  Two people 
were irate that I asked any questions, or that I would question an 
authority in any way.  They were very keen on my wasting their time 
(even though one left and returned several times, and missed much of the 
talk anyway.)  My guess is that hardly anyone really understood what was 
being presented - other than that it filled them with Jewish pride - and 
I think it very very unlikely that any non-observant Jew was brought 
closer to Torah Judaism by what they heard.  (Of course I could be 

My criticism of the presentation is not based explicitly on what was 
said, but rather on the context and conditions.  There simply was not 
enough time (nor inclination on the part of some) to ask and answer 
serious questions, and to discuss the meaning of what was presented.  
Also, this was not a serious seminar.  Everything presented could be 
read in much greater detail in the new, much shorter, Discovery book, 
given out before the lectures.  In my opinion, any person having a 
serious interest should read the Discovery book, and skip the seminar, 
which seemed designed to provide a veneer of science to persons who are 
overimpressed by, but relatively ignorant of, science.  

There was no time to discuss alternate theories for the data presented, 
and the theories presented were apparently believed by the presenters to 
be the ONLY possibilities.  For example, much was made of the supposedly 
unexpected "opposites" in Jewish history:  We are to be a eternal 
people, but we have been decimated repeatedly.  We were told by the 
presenters, rightly, that this is not natural for other nations.  But we 
were led to believe that there was something mysterious or unexpected in 
this.  There are alternate points of view that do not imply that this 
should be unexpected.  For example:  in my opinion the mistake is in the 
comparison itself.  If it is true, as we are taught, that Judaism is a 
living tradition and Torah a "tree of life for those who grasp it", then 
it is NOT appropriate to discount this, and to inappropriately compare 
ourselves to other peoples who do not have Torah.  Judaism should NOT be 
compared to other nations; Judaism, entrusted with this "tree of life," 
should be compared to a living being.  Living things have seasons of 
luxuriant life, and other seasons of decay.  That is natural for life 
and for Torah.  This was never considered.

As another example, many intriguing name-date patterns were shown.  The 
presenter honestly did say, after presenting them, that they were NOT 
strongly supported by the statistics.  The patterns that *are* strongly 
supported by the statistics - the patterns that may have scientific 
validity - were not explained in any way.  But in my opinion, hardly 
anyone in the audience noticed the critical distinction here.  The 
"flashy" patterns are not statistically meaningful.  The statistically 
meaningful patterns are unexplained and unexplored.  Even though the 
presenter himself was careful to make this distinction, I expect that 
most non-critical persons would have left with the warm and fuzzy 
impression that the name-date patterns are scientifically significant.

Since the presenters were not all there at the same time, there were 
several instances where two of them wound up telling the same anecdote, 
in a way that tended to make the presentations appear overly contrived.  
Clearly these anecdotes were not spontaneous observations or 
interactions with the audience.  They were planned.  Of course, good 
seminars should be planned.  Nevertheless, to me, although maybe not to 
others, this felt manipulative.

The first rabbi to speak was billed as a person who trains others to 
make the Discovery presentations, and this may explain some of the 
problems.  His background was from a Yeshiva with a reputation for 
stringency.  While he was always polite and proper, it was clear that he 
was more on a mission as a true believer than as a critically honest 
scientist.  -- Don't misunderstand here.  All the presenters were 
honest.  This rabbi was just more stringent in his belief than he was in 
his science.  In my opinion, this rabbi was clearly well beyond his own 
philosophical depth.

The mathematician/computer scientist, naturally, was my favorite.  I got 
the feeling that if there had been more time, I could really have 
learned something valuable from him about Torah and the codes.  
Hopefully, he is reading this and will respond to my comments with 
clarifications and his own perspective.

The last rabbi to speak was far more open than the first, but, 
unfortunately I could not stay for the last hour and so I did not have 
much time to speak with him.

In my opinion, the evaluation questionnaire passed out with the seminar 
materials was inadequate and would tend to produce misleading results.  
For each section the same questions were asked:  Score from 1-10 on:
    a) content
    b) organization
    c) attitude of students
    d) dynamism
But a rating of 1-10 on these subjects would not provide much meaningful 
information.  For example, are they asking about the quantity or quality 
of the content?  What does "dynamism" have to do with Torah accuracy? 
etc.  In my opinion, this rating system is designed to be self-
congratulatory, and does not solicit serious (and thus technically 
useful) criticism.

All in all, I would say that there is no *harm* in the Discovery 
seminars such as the one I attended.  Unlike my previous experiences 
with persons presenting the codes, care was taken to be reasonably 
accurate.  And the statistical work itself is undoubtedly real and 
important.  But the depth of philosophical understanding on the part of 
the majority of the audience (and of the first rabbi) was not very great  
-- perhaps not sufficient to even be exposed to "kabbalistic" subjects 
like the letter skip patterns.

I want to be clear that I believe the statistics are good and demand 
more investigation.  However, while the Discovery seminar I attended 
presented reasonable data, it did not present solid science.  While the 
data was mostly okay, any understanding of the data was missing - and in 
the absence of understanding, misimpressions are to be expected.  It is 
important to remember that while statistics is itself a science, its use 
is only as an important, but limited, tool of scientific thought or 
investigation.  Persons impressed by, and in command of, statistics are, 
as scientists, often more interested in the integrity of their 
statistical science than in the integrity of the scientific meaning of 
the statistically interesting things that they find.  (This is natural.  
We should trust statisticians' statistics.  That is the science they 
have studied and can stand behind.  However, we should not automatically 
trust what statisticians tell us of the *meaning* of the curiosities 
they find -- that is *not* the science in which they are experts.)

I don't think that the equal interval letter skip patterns research 
should be being presented to the general public in this way.  This is 
still work for experts who can put the results in proper perspective.  
The premature use of these findings to excite Jews about Torah, is, in 
my opinion, unproductive and inappropriate.  Let's do the science first, 
and make the public claims only later when we know what we are talking 

The hard facts are that while the presenters themselves made good 
impressions and represented Torah Judaism most favorably by their 
demeanor and bearing, no one, in my opinion, should have been impressed 
by the actual materials that were presented.  It is likely some present 
*were* impressed, but I would doubt sufficiently so to take any action 
towards increased observance.

As it has been over a week now, I assume that Avi felt that my lengthy 
reply to Prof. Gans' posting was simply too long for current tastes, so 
let me repeat part of what I had hoped to say previously, namely, that 
Prof. Gans' response was not appropriate to what I have presented here.  
He included irrelevancies (like the Uncertainty Principle, etc.) in what 
sounded like an effort to be impressive to non-specialists.  I respect 
Prof. Gans, but I do not believe, from his response, that he respects 

The letter skip patterns demand serious study.  I can offer a theory 
which explains the most important patterns in an explicit and NON-
statistical way.  Please consider this a friendly challenge.  Check out 
what I think I have found, talk to me about it until you understand it, 
and then let's see if what I am suggesting is good science, good Torah, 
and helpful. 

Unless and until we have some understanding of the meaning and content 
of the letter skip patterns, we should not be selling Torah based on 
them.  The difference between the discovery of statistical anomalies and 
an explicit understanding of a subject is critical.

Examination and careful measurement of hundreds of circles can enable us 
to derive a value for Pi to a particular statistical accuracy, but it 
can never tell us what is MOST important about Pi - that Pi is a 
transcendental number.  If this is true of Pi, it is even more true of 
Torah.  Yes, there are patterns.  But are they meaningless or are they 
meaningful - and what is their meaning?  Statistics can never 
demonstrate that Torah is a truly Transcendent text.  But experiencing 
Torah and only then identifying the patterns, can.  That in my opinion 
is the critical difference that Mishneh Ain Dorshin is making when it 
insists that these matters not be researched as "Mystakel" - speculative 
theory without personal Torah experience to match.

Stan Tenen


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 17:28:07 -0700
Subject: Response to Mike Gerver on Codes

First let me say that I agree almost entirely with Mike Gerver in his 
posting in m-j19#17 with regard to the "codes" work.

I am most interested in seeing his submission that was not posted here 
and I have some suggestions for refutable tests that could be performed 
on the sequences of letters in Torah.

For example, if my theory is correct, then each letter represents a 
particular pointing direction (a unit vector) in either 3 or 4-
dimensional space.  If this is correct, then a sequence of letters 
should describe, letter-by-letter (vector by vector) a path in space.  
If my theory is correct, this path will be meaningful and we will be 
able to identify it.  If the path is not meaningful and recognizable in 
a meaningful context, then my theory is likely incorrect.

Likewise with regard to the equal interval letter skip patterns.  I 
believe that my work can demonstrate how they were formed and what they 
might signify.  I say that the text of Torah is "woven" of a series of 
nested torus knots.  These knots have explicit geometric and topological 
features.  For example, the 3,10 Torus knot - which forms 6-Tefillin 
strap shaped hands that generate the letters of the alphabet - has a 
central braided column formed of 99-Tetrahedra.  Each "hand" therefore 
(you may need to see the drawings) consists of exactly 49-tetrahedra 
plus a single additional tetrahedron at the tip of the thumb.  

I believe that this is why the predominant (more than half) equal 
interval letter skip pattern is either 49 or 50 letters.  If the Torah 
were written with one letter in each tetrahedron on the braid of the 
3,10 Torus knot, the letters with a 49 or 50 skip would line up in 
concentric bands on the knot! 

I am saying that the letter skip patterns are an artifact (a natural 
consequence) of the Torah having been originally a "woven" pattern of 
letters.  (The other equal interval skip patterns define other Torus 
knots and they interweave with the main 49/50 pattern.)

This is testable.  If I am correct, then the letter skip patterns will 
tell us how to reweave the Torah.  Why?  There are two possible reasons.  
1). Torah might be weaving some essential element of the Mishkan.  2). 
We might be able to meditate on the woven pattern, letter-by-letter, and 
thus taste some part of Moshe's experience on Horeb-Sinai for ourselves.  
I believe that Rabbi Akiva's PaRDeS meditation is specified by the 
letters in B'Reshit from the beginning to Gan Eden.  We cannot 
objectively test for the presence of a "meditation" in Torah, but we can 
check to see if the letter skip patterns fit the weave of the torus 
knots we have found in B'Reshit.

There are many other tests that I would like to see performed.  Without 
an honest attempt at refutation, the meaning and significance of the 
equal interval letter skip patterns will never be clearly established. 

There is one overriding reason for testing the model that I have been 
working with: It has gotten results.  We have found that the entire 
Hebrew alphabet can be generated from a section of the 3,10 Torus knot, 
that the section is a model human hand in the form of a specially shaped 
(vortex) Tefillin strap and that the each letter is seen by the wearer 
when they make a hand gesture with the same meaning as the name of the 
letter.  Our letters closely match reported samples of Nachmanides 
handwriting and they elegantly explain many seemingly conflicting 
descriptions in various sources.  You have to see the model to believe 
this, but once you have seen it, it is obvious. 
     - And, yes, I do know that almost any bent coat-hanger could be 
skillfully manipulated to display outlines of the Hebrew letters.  This 
would be a meaningless exercise because the bent coat hanger would be a 
meaningless shape.  That is why it is so important that the Tefillin 
hand shape we have found is not at all arbitrary.  In fact, it is a 
minimal, most elegant, representation of the sequence of letters at the 
beginning of B'Reshit!  (This is NOT a random form that shows random 
squiggles that look a little like Hebrew letters.)  It is the reason why 
the letter skip patterns are an intrinsic part of Torah.  What other 
text folds itself up into a form that generates all the letters of the 
alphabet it is written in?

Stan Tenen


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 17:34:25 -0700
Subject: Response to Prof. Chappell on Uses of Mathematics

I do not mean to flame, but I must protest Sylvain Chappell's posting in 

First, I strongly resent my work being called "topological codes."  This 
is not my language and it is not correct.  It gives an entirely 
incorrect impression.

Second, I do not believe that my work is "totally and absolutely 
distinguished from what they view as the other's pseudo-science."  This 
is unfair and inaccurate in the extreme.  I have said time and time 
again that I fully accept the statistics that have been presented.  My 
problem is NOT with the statistics of the equal interval letter skip 
patterns.  I accept that the patterns are real.  I have independently 
discovered some, and I have independently confirmed others.  The same 
patterns that the equal interval letter skip researchers have found, I 
have found.  There is one difference.  I do not think that the letter 
skip researchers have honestly tried to refute their philosophical and 
religious findings.  They have adequately tested their statistics, but 
not their science beyond the statistics.  That is where we differ.  I 
offer my work for refutation and I have actively attempted to refute my 
own findings.  I am suggesting an explicit solution - not based on 
statistics, but fully consistent with the statistics.  

Thirdly, it is out of place for Prof. Chappell to brand this work as 
"however apparently alien to conventional Judaism or standard science."   
If I said that about any other poster on this forum I would be censured.  
I ask for an apology.

But, what I most resent here is what in my opinion borders on 
inconsistency.  Prof. Chappell says: "Indeed in the case of the 
'topological codes' (which I have looked at further and which despite 
being a researcher in topology still can not personally understand 
anything of) there has been interest expressed ...."  He then goes on to 
discuss and evaluate what he says he does not personally understand.

This makes me want to tear out my hair.  How can Prof. Chappell evaluate 
what he does not understand?  He could email for clarification, he could 
ask for additional data, he could call and discuss what he cannot follow 
until he can follow the reasoning.  Then I would greatly value and 
appreciate his opinion. 

I just don't see the point of posting 2 full pages of discussion on a 
subject that is not yet understood.  And, if as Prof. Chappell says, he 
does not see any need to find mathematics or other non-standard 
teachings in Torah, why not just say that up front and leave out the 
apologia for not looking at the data until it is understood?

In my humble (and hurt) opinion, this is neither good science nor good 

I am not a person of empty belief and I am not a superstitious person.  
When I say I believe, as we are taught, that Torah is a "template" of 
creation, I take that literally and, therefore, I expect that to the 
extent that mathematics is part of this creation, it must be in and part 
of Torah.  I do not believe that there is anything gratuitous in Torah.

In science, mathematics is a powerful tool.  If, as I believe, Torah 
Judaism includes a science of consciousness, then mathematics is a 
necessary requirement.  Mathematics is not the territory, it is the map.  
Our lives and our actions are the territory.  Mathematics enables us to 
make non-idolatrous models that can be used to pass on and teach what we 
know.  Mathematics is perhaps uniquely the language of spiritual 
experience.  That modern translators have made poetry supreme in this 
regard is one reason why our meditational teachings are still in 
hibernation.  In my opinion.

And, finally, Prof. Chappell, no, we are not "sadly reduced to viewing 
texts as formal or mathematical cribs."  I ask you in turn, are we not 
sadly reduced to viewing texts as nothing but mytho-linguistic 
narratives and legends?  Is our Torah ONLY the Pshat?  If so, how does 
it differ from that of those who do not have Talmud and who do not know 
of the deeper levels of meaning?  

Let me speak plainly here.  I am a Jew and I support Torah Judaism.  
But, if I came to believe that Torah was ONLY stories, I would not 
believe Torah at all.  Anyone can write a story.  A truly 
transcendent text must be much more than that.



End of Volume 19 Issue 32