SEE THIS LINK FOR BLOG SUMMARY AND SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM

Click this link for TOPICAL INDEX OF POSTS

About Me

A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Highlighted words lead to other posts almost all in my blog. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. INDEX OF POSTS SEE MAY 2017 or click link above.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gematria

UPDATED THRU  6/17/2015

Some Orthodox Jews argue gematria (numerology applied to the torah or other Jewish texts) or similar phenomena like the bible codes are so unusual or so improbable that it proves the torah is divine, and therefore god exists.

{ETA 4/20/2015 I have just discovered my own amazing Gematria 'proving' English is divine. Setting A=1, B=2 etc: Hand = 8+1+14+4
= 27

Now Wiki wrist - “In the hand proper a total of 13 bones form part of the wrist: eight carpal bones—scaphoid, lunate, triquetral, pisiform, trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, and hamate— and five metacarpal bones—the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth metacarpal bones”. 

Also from the Skeletal hand LindBerg Models 1991 "The hand is composed of a wrist, a palm and five fingers."

The Hand has 8 carpal bones, 5 metacarpals, 5 proximal phalanges, 4 middle phalanges, 5 distal phalanges, giving a total of 27. Is not this amazing ? 

For more of my "amazing" English language Gematrias see Proof of God from Hebrew}


Even if the bible codes or gematria is an apparent real anomaly, a genuine unfathomable phenomena, it does not follow the torah is divine. It only means we do not have an adequate explanation at this point. Maybe as we gain more knowledge, do more research, use more imagination reasonable explanations will be discovered. (Furthermore, even the author of the book the Bible Codes believed it was extraterrestrials not a god that wrote the bible.) But it is unnecessary to posit ET and in addition gematria is not an unfathomable mystery. The bible codes have been debunked, see for example the numerous articles at www.talkreason.org so this article will not discuss the bible codes. {ETA A good discussion, and I would an argue a refute of Bible Codes  is also found here http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~jtigay/codetext.html  THE BIBLE "CODES": A TEXTUAL PERSPECTIVE by 
Jeffrey H. Tigay }

{ETA 1/16/2015 "There is a common belief in the general community to the effect that many mathematicians, statisticians, and other scientists consider the claims [of Bible Codes]  to be credible. This belief is incorrect. On the contrary, the almost unanimous opinion of those in the scientific world who have studied the question is that the theory is without foundation. The signatories to this letter have themselves examined the evidence and found it entirely unconvincing." Source http://math.caltech.edu/code/petition.html }

{ETA 1/16/2015 Barry Simon is the IBM Professor of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Caltech an Orthodox Jew also debunks Bible Codes see http://web.archive.org/web/20131121111800/http://www.khunwoody.com/biblecodes/ }


{ETA 2/17/2015 Suppose Bible Codes find your name Yakov Ben Moshe and birthday in Torah letter skips - is not that amazing ? But if they are not found, you may say well I am not important enough.
If you look hard enough in Moby Dick you will find amazing letter skips. When they are found you say wow it must be divine. Yet you do not find others. I wonder why.
Bible codes consist of confirmation bias or  retroactive fitting  or coincidence. Coincidence and chance will find amazing letter skips in any thick book. Even if the event is specified before you run the letter skip program. Increasing the chances of finding something 'amazing' is making numerous  predictions based on the Bible Codes. Those that fail are ignored and the successes are touted. The same technique used by other frauds.

Since Bible Codes do not provide complete sentences of events, it leaves open the possibility massaging the message of the found letter skipped words to fit a known past event or an event that can be predicted based on other information. For example in 2015 a Bible Code links the words 'Hillary',  'Clinton', 'President'.  Suppose she is elected President in the future. Is not that amazing ? No, because first the Hebrew  spelling was massaged to match her name. Same for President. It also ignore the Bible Codes that link up 'John', 'Doe', 'President' and thousands just like that. 

Also, Hebrew may be written with no vowels, unlike English. Thus the nature of the language will influence the chances of finding something. This is crucial. Comparing Torah Codes to Moby Dick is not the best text to use. You need to use a language 'similar' to Hebrew and use a large book written in that language. Another important issue is the distribution of the lengths of words in the language. Shorter words will give higher success rates. 

Example:: Compare the word 'intoxicate' to the hebrew word for intoxicate spelled shin-kuph-resh. The English version is longer and has vowels and would be harder to find.

Moreover, Hebrew can have different spellings of the same word increasing the chance of finding something.}

[ETA 6/17/2015 Bible Codes also suffer from a statistical flaw known as the Look-Elsewhere-Effect see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look-elsewhere_effect  As applied to Bible codes - "Thus, setting aside related questions like confirmation bias, even if no groupings of interest or significance were found
 in the first grid, the next iteration can be tried by computer and so on en masse until "miraculous" or "improbable" groupings are finally arrived at. This is tantamount in effect to, upon dealing oneself an 
uninteresting poker hand, continuing to do so in whatever great quantities necessary until one obtains a straight flushroyal flush, or even many such events in sequence, and calling the deck inspired for enabling such a result. }


This article will provide  an example of gematria and explain how they arise naturally and therefore do not imply divine involvement. One example involves Pi, another one the ear. The principles discussed apply to gematria in general. {ETA 1/14/2014 the second example is not gematria, but an "amazing" word relation allegedly proving the divinity of Hebrew}


Gematria findings are not amazing from a human psychological (for example confirmation bias) viewpoint and from a statistical probabilistic viewpoint. In addition, you may simply invent mathematical ad hoc ways to back into your target. Then there are thousands of words in the torah, hence almost an infinity number of possible gematrias. The gematria may involve Pi, or it may involve a name of an animal or an infinite number of other things. For those reasons there is a high chance of discovering an "amazing" gematria in any large book, especially if millions of man hours are spent trying to find gematria in that text.


Many of the items of my laundry list below work synergistically in combination with each other to create apparently amazing things.

Our first gematria example is at this link
http://www.ouisrael.org/tidbits/detail/A-pasuk-in-Melachim-Alef79111111111111111111111111/#. UV81bpOUQaY
and provides an example of Gematria and Pi as follows:

The verse states: And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was round all around, and its height was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits measured the circle around it (Melachim Alef 7:23).

The article explains it was a bathing vessel for kohanim. It was round with a 10 amot across and a circumference of 30 amot. Rabbinical commentators derive an estimate  30/10 or 3 and the article calls this their rough estimate of pi.  The article then states: "Notice that the word KAV referring to the circumference of the vessel, has a K’TIV-K’RI, it is written one way and pronounced a different way. Take the gimatriya of the written word, KUF-VAV-HEI = 111 and divide it by the numeric value of the pronounced word, KUF-VAV = 106. You get 1.0471698 (using the first 7 decimal places). Multiply this number by 3, using it as a "correction factor" for the rough approximation. The result is 3.1415 (first 4 places). This gives a value of pi which deviates from the actual value by 26 millionths - a vastly more accurate value of pi." However there is a discrepancy between the rough estimate and the actual value PI. The article resolves this by appealing to various Rabbinical commentators. One saying the vessel may not have been perfectly round. Others say the 30 amot measurements is an inside vessel diameter  and the 10 amot diameter the vessel outside diameter. There is also the issue of the vessel wall  thickness.

Here is the refute of the above "proof", not in any particular order.

{ETA 4/28/2015 The above calculation gives PI is 3.141509... while PI = 3.14159265358979... So the 'Divine' approximation is already wrong in the fifth decimal place !. A better approximation is 355/113 = 3.141592920... which  is accurate to eight decimal places. And there even better approximations. Surely, a divine approximation could have done better than only four decimal accuracy.}

1) First some Jewish commentators are saying the object was not circular, so even calculating Pi based on the object is not relevant. The whole gematria falls apart right there. The pasuk does not state the correct value of Pi or even a crude value of Pi. Rather, a relatively recent Individual knowing the correct value of Pi found a way to derive it using gematria tricks. (Chazal did try to deduce Pi based on the pasuk and therefore got it wrong. A more intelligent approach would be to derive Pi from a study of geometry and reality.)


2) The commentators cannot decide if the dimensions are internal or external. This creates the opportunity for mixing and matching to get to the correct combination of the gematria correction factor and the so called crude pi approximation.

3) Is there only one way to spell the pronouncing of the Hebrew word ? If so you can pick and choose to get to the correct combination of the correction factor and the crude approximation of Pi. For example, The gematria as stated left out the begining vav (a Hebrew letter) from both words, yet that letter was part of the actual words in text of the pasuk (sentence). So the backed in value of Pi is not as accurate as the link says it is. You can pick and choose which letters to include or exclude to make your calculation.


4) Pick up any large text at all - if you try hard enough you can find all kinds of ways to make up gemmatria gimmicks based on different spellings of words, meanings of words, roots of words , addition of letters, sounds of words, various ways of applying the arithmetic, various ways to assign numeric values to letters: etc:

5) Here is another explanation - its all a miracle. Although normally the ratio of the circumference to diameter is 3.14...., by a miracle of god this circular vase has the ratio only 3. You see how all problems go away if you invent miracles.

6) The Torah and Chazal make so many mistakes about science and reality, it is preposterous for anybody to claim that oral tradition or written tradition is divine.

7) And why is the ratio taken as 111/106 and not the reverse ? Because we know the correct value of Pi. That is what is called circular reasoning.

8) And why is the correction factor multiplicative ? Because in this
convoluted example it works out the way you want. In other words, the correction factor could have been additive, subtractive, divisive but thru circular reasoning we pick multiplicative.

9) There are so many ways to back into the appropriate arithmetic type of and value of correction factor and also the spelling and also the crude value of Pi, no wonder somebody finds one sequence that works to find Pi.

10) Who decides that aleph is one, bet is 2 etc: ? Why should there be any association of order or quantity with a specific letter. ? Why should the base 10 be used for letters and numbers ? Do you understand that the arithmetic base is chosen by people and there are different bases used. Also, some letters I think can have two different values. This greatly increases the chances of finding gematria tricks. How vowels are used is added to the arsenal.

11) Some Muslim said something like this:The Quran uses the Arabic word for "sea" x times, and the Arabic word for land y times. And the ratio of sea to land on planet earth is exactly the same as the ratio of x to y. And Mohammed didn't even realize the earth was round, really, and certainly didn't know about the Americas and Antarctica and the Pacific Ocean, so that
proves the Quran was written by Almighty Allah, who DID have those facts at his holy fingertips in Allah's Almanac. You see how easy it is to find gematria in other places.

The Christians have found gematria in the New Testament. If you spend millions of man hours looking for gematria tricks you will find them in any large text. It all a case of backed into figures or information, coincidences, cognitive errors, the laws probability and combinations of the various reasons provided in this article.


12) And why would god use this convoluted way to tell us the value of Pi is 3.14... ? What can possibly be the purpose ? Was it to show us the truth of the Torah ? But suppose nobody discovered it ? Then it would have been a bigwaste. A lot better way would have been is to give accurate information of reality.


13) When words and language evolved people used human reasoning. In other words, there could be some built in gematria and other fascinating findings. It has nothing to do with god.

14) When people write books (including the Torah) they may at times imposed some gematria for various reasons including poetic form, metaphor, superstition etc: It has nothing to do with god.

15) Contrary to what the gematria and Pi link suggest and therefore misleads, 3 was not accepted as a crude approximation to Pi by Chazal, rather 3 was believed an accurate value of Pi by chazal. See this link http://www.talkreason.org/articles/letter1.cfma Letter To my Rabbi by Naftali Zeligman who explains:
[....Even in plain geometry we find Chazal determining laws based on homiletics, and only afterwards trying to make the facts fit these laws. In Tractate Eiruvin 14a the Talmud says:
"Anything which has, in its circumference, 3 tefachs, has one tefach in diameter. How do we know this? Rabbi Jochanan said, it is written in the Scripture: 'And he [Solomon] made a molten sea, ten amahs from one brim to the other. It was round all about, and its height was five amahs. And a line of thirty amahs circled it' (I Kings 7:23)."
The Talmud rules that the ratio between a circle's circumference and its radius, known as pi, is 3. In fact, this number is irrational (impossible to represent as a finite common or decimal fraction), and taken to 10 decimal places, pi=3.1415926536.
One might say that Chazal also knew that true pi is more than 3 and only tried to find a Halachically valid approximation of this number -- but this is impossible because of the Gemara in Bava Batra 14b:
"And if you think about the Torah Scroll [of the Temple] which had 6 tefachs in circumference, provided that everything that has 3 tefachs in circumference has one tefach in diameter and provided that the Torah scroll was rolled to its middle [i.e. it was rolled on two wooden shafts like our Torah scrolls are], we have more than 2 tefachs between one handle and another -- so how could it enter the 2 tefachs of free space [in the Holy Ark]? Rav Acha the son of Jacob said: the Torah scroll of the Temple was rolled to its beginning [i. e. it was rolled on one wooden shaft only]. And yet, since it was 2 tefachs in diameter, how could it enter 2 tefachs of free space [in the Ark]? Rav Ashei said: they did not wind all the Torah scroll on the pivot, but left a part of it unwound, put the scroll into the Ark, and then folded the remaining part of the scroll onto it."
They thought a Torah scroll 6 tefachs in circumference to be exactly 2 tefachs in diameter, so they considered it to be practically impossible to put such a scroll into a space of exactly 2 tefachs, unless one does not wind all the parchment of the scroll on its wooden shaft, thus leaving some free space to adjust the scroll in the Ark. Only after he puts the scroll into the Ark does he folds the remaining parchment and put it above the scroll.
Of course, were the Sages aware of the real value of pi -- or at least of the approximation 22/7 known to ancient Greeks centuries before the Talmudic era, they would have understood that the real diameter of a scroll 6 tefachs in circumference is about 1.9 tefachs and that nobody would need any special tricks to put it into 2 tefachs of free space. It is not difficult to determine that pi is significantly more than 3. All one needs is a ruler and a measuring rope. Nonetheless Chazal preferred to determine reality from verses and law instead of basing law on reality....]
---------------------------------------------------------------
{ETA 1/14/2014 An "amazing" word relation, that proves the divinity of Hebrew - or does it ?}

Modern science is aware that human balance and the inner ear are related. In Hebrew the word "ear" (Ozen), and balance-" (Izun) have the same root. The implication is there is hidden secret knowledge in Hebrew. And that this knowledge must be of divine origin. This conclusion is completely unwarranted.

1) When words and language evolved people used human reasoning. In other words, there could be some built in gematria and other fascinating findings. It has nothing to do with god. Ancient people may have discovered that balance is related to the ear. For example, it was noticed that people experiencing physical trauma to the ear would develop imbalance. This knowledge was incorporated into the language. It would not be surprising if there were numerous other such instances as well.

2) Hebrew consists of 22 letters and typically words have 3 letter roots. (These roots are modified by suffixes and prefixes). There are thousands and thousands of words in the Hebrew language, Statistically it is very likely many pairs of words will end up sharing the same root. Some of these word pairs may later be found to be related in some fashion, for example the ear and balance. (It would not be surprising that many word pairs sharing the same root that have something in common while many other word pairs sharing the same root would have nothing in common.)

{ETA 11/15/2014 Here is a good summary that confirms and elaborates on what is previously written.

Beginning page 8 of Hidden Religion by Issitt and Main 2014 

There are at least four ways of assigning values to letters. Mispar hechrachi,Mispar Siduri, Mispar Katan, Mispar Katan Mispari. [Is it any wonder somebody may find something amazing if you can pick and choose a value scheme ?] 

From page 11 - "Critics of gematria have argued the relationships between number and words may largely be the result of coincidence, creative interpretation, and in some cases, design. Skeptics have noted that seemingly relevant numerical linguistic relationships can be constructed by choosing alternate or unconventional phrases, altering the spelling or value of certain characters, or utilizing combinations of different methods of calculating value. In addition,it has been demonstrated that the historical formation of words, phrases, and translations can input numerical messages into texts that may not have originally had the same values. Some have argued that nearly any text could be shown to have symbolic meaning using a similar numerical system and creative interpretations of relationships between words and numbers"}

Please read Proof of God from Hebrew  for more on this kind of Proof.

No comments: