Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter
Number 8 - 5 March 2001
Copyright 2001 Meru Foundation
Written by Cynthia Tenen
Stan and Cynthia have just arrived in California
for a brief stay -- we will be returning to Massachusetts during the last
week of March. If you would like to speak with us during our West
Coast visit, please call at 415-332-5976.
The past few months in Massachusetts were quietly
productive. We have been working on materials for Stan's book, including
several new graphic pages which will generate their own explanatory essays
as our work continues. Many of you have been waiting for this book
for a long time, and we appreciate your patience -- progress is slow, because
of our needs to do fundraising and other "nuts and bolts" activities that
get in the way of creative concentration. But Stan and I continue
our work on it, and will let you know as we have progress to report.
"SURVEY QUESTION" FROM STAN TENEN -- WHAT DOES
This Survey Question is the first part of a two-part
message Stan designed in order to make a point about Sefer Yetzirah and
Genesis. It was originally printed as two separate messages in the
e-list Meta-Reiterations; we are printing the second part -- the answer,
and Stan's comments -- at the end of this Newsletter.
Can you explain the simple meaning of the following
line? It is taken verbatim from the screen of a cable TV program.
Exact translation is not required, just the basic meaning is requested.
"DJ FM AM J JASON"
Hint: "Word divisions" may or may not be expressed
properly and "punctuation" has been omitted on purpose.
Please also explain your point of view and assumptions
in making a translation. For example, perhaps you notice "FM
AM" and think that this refers to the two common modes of radio broadcasting:
FM and AM. If this is a presumption you decide to make use of, please
say so. (I am using this as an example because it is a common inference
among those I have already asked, but I am not saying here whether or not
this is a correct or a spurious assumption.)
The answer, and some further comments, are printed
at the end of this Newsletter.
MERU GRAPHIC SAMPLER ALBUMS AVAILABLE
As those of you who have checked out our secure
server website, <www.meetingtent.com>, may know, one of our hand-produced
offerings is an individually printed, loose-leaf color binder of Meru Foundation
graphic pages and articles -- some of which are available nowhere else.
Since Stan and I assemble these binders ourselves, we generally do them
in batches (which means when we run out, these items are often on back-order
until we have a new batch ready to ship). I wanted to let readers
of this newsletter especially know that we now have a batch of these albums
ready, and so if you've been thinking of ordering one of our "Special Edition
Graphic Samplers" -- now is the time. <smile> These albums sell
for $150 plus shipping, and are available directly from us at <www.meetingtent.com>.
Also, I wanted to remind our readers that every
time you order a book online from Cody's Books, at <www.codysbooks.com>,
Meru Foundation receives a percentage of your order. This is a simple
and painless way to support Meru Foundation, as well as patronizing one
of the West's largest truly independent booksellers. You can order
any book in the Cody's catalog -- just go to <www.codysbooks.com>, order
your book, and on the shipping page, place "Meru Foundation" in the comment
line. That's all there is to it! The Meru Board thanks all
of you who choose to help us by ordering from Cody's Books.
MERU ONLINE READING LIST EXPANDED
For those of you who haven't checked out the
Meru Foundation reading list lately, you might want to take a look -- as
a part of our program with Cody's Books, Stan and I have begun to expand
our Recommended Reading List, at <www.meru.org/readlist.html>.
(Eventually, you will be able to order many of these books directly from
Cody's by linking through from this web page.) If you have sometimes
felt that you would like to understand the Meru research in greater depth,
check out a few of the books on this list -- each one of them has had its
own influence on the growth of our ideas, and all are worth your examination.
ESSAYS BY STAN TENEN -- NOTES ON THE HEBREW
For this issue, we offer the following short
piece, written by Stan in answer to a correspondent's question.
"BEIT Ever So Humble, There's No Place Like
Home" -- The Hebrew Letter BET
The Distinction between Inside and Outside, A
"In," "With," "Both / Two / Too"
Bet is the first letter of the Hebrew text of
The name of the letter Bet is spelled Bet-Yod-Tov
in Hebrew. It is commonly understood to be similar to the Hebrew
word for "house," Bay-it," which is spelled exactly the same,
All biblical Hebrew roots are verbs, so we should
understand Bet to imply the function of a house - housing. A house
separates (or relates, or sits at the interface BeTween) what is inside
and what is outside. A housing can be a vessel or a coating or any
relationship where there is contrast.
Letter-by-letter, the spelling of the word Bet
is: Bet = "In/with"; Yod = "hand"; Tov = "sign". Thus, Bet means
"housing" in the special sense of a housing made "With a hand sign." (-
or, alternately, "In a hand sign," or "Within a hand sign.")
As the Meru Foundation work shows, the letters
of the first verse of the Hebrew text of Genesis fold the text-string into
a specially shaped, spiral vortex, glove-like form that fits on our hand(s).
This special housing is the "hand sign" that generates all of the letters
of the Rashi-Nachmanides rabbinic form of the Meruba (square-form) Ashuris
(most praiseworthy) Hebrew alphabet. (The "hand-sign" displays all of the
Hebrew letters in gestures whose natural meaning is the same as the name
of the letter displayed.)
Thus the name of the very first letter of the
Hebrew Bible tells us that the Bible is "In a hand sign." In this explicit
sense, the Hebrew Bible represents the "hand of God" - written in the "hand
of God" - as it projects infinite mind into infinite world.
It is interesting to note that mathematician G.
Spencer-Brown has shown that all of formal mathematical logic can be derived
from what he calls "the mark of distinction between inside and outside."
There is more than one way to transliterate the
Hebrew letters that spell the word Bet into English letters. Here
are some of the possibilities for each letter.
Bet can be transliterated as B, V, or W in English.
Yod can be transliterated as 1, el, Y, or aY
in English. But as a vowel, any other vowel may be substituted and
the B-vowel-T (consonantal) root would remain the same.
Tov can be transliterated as T, TT, Th, The,
S, SS, and sometimes St.
Here are some English words that are based on
the same consonantal root letters as the Hebrew letter name BEIT.
BeTween / Two Too
||pulled Out of the ground
|Unit of information
cut Into and pull Out
||Unit of information
||separate Up from Down
BET (c)2001 SNT/Meru Foundation
SURVEY ANSWER -- WHAT DOES THIS SAY?SURVEY
ANSWER -- WHAT DOES THIS SAY?
Here is Stan's response to the "Survey Question"
reproduced at the top of this Meru Newsletter, which he posed to the Meta-Reiterations
I have not received many "solutions" to this
question, which is okay because my point was in posing it.
The author's INTENDED meaning of the letter sequence
has nothing to do with a "DJ" (disk jockey) on an "FM" and "AM" radio station
named "J Jason."
The originally unspaced letters "DJFMAMJJASON"
appeared on the MSNBC business report on a chart showing the past year's
performance of a particular stock. Since the report was in November
2000, the monthly chart of the stock's performance started with
Quite naturally, the horizontal (time) axis on
the bottom edge of the chart listed Dec., Jan., Feb., Mar., ...... Oct.,
Nov. Thus the INTENDED meaning of "DJFMAMJJASON" is not a word, words,
or a phrase or sentence. It is a list of the initial letters of the
names of the months of the year starting with "D" = December of the current
My point is that this is EXACTLY what has happened
with the Hebrew text of Genesis. The undivided, unpunctuated, sequence
of letter-operator "initials" has been interpreted as words in a
narrative language sentence. The true situation is that each of the
Hebrew letters should have been interpreted as entire "word" in a formal
operator system. Hebrew words are actually a "acronyms" for sequences of
formal (non-phonetic, non-narrative) operations.
The same problem appears in the most basic kabbalistic
text, the Sefer Yetzirah ("Book of Formation"). There is a (rather
famous) word - "B'limah" - that translators do not agree on and cannot
translate unambiguously. As it turns out, this is not really a word
at all. It is a list of the letters at the beginning of the Hebrew
text of Genesis that must be paired (based on the symmetry of the alphabet)
in order to find the geometry in Genesis that the Sefer Yetzirah goes on
to describe and make use of.
The first verse of the Hebrew text of Genesis
(28-letters) makes use of only 12-letters of the alphabet. This means
that there are literally hundreds (over 900) distinct narrative "translations"
that can be found by separating the undivided string of letters to form
what appear to be different sequences of Hebrew "words." The most
famous of these "translations" reads: "In the beginning God created the
heavens and the earth." The problem is, this is only one of
the hundreds of possibilities and the only thing it has to recommend it
over most of the others is that it conforms to our traditions, presumptions
and expectations for what we think the text should say.
As an acronym-like sequence of letter-operations,
the Hebrew text of Genesis actually sets out to outline "creation" in a
modern sense. Pairing the letters folds the text-string into recognizable
geometric forms that have immediate meaning. The first thing the
text string does is to specify the geometry of the letters used to write
the text itself. This is extremely logical. After all, in
a technical text, the first thing you do is define your symbols.
In my opinion, "translating" Genesis into narrative
language has pitted the various cultures and traditions that make use of
it against one another.
Narrative "translation" of Torah to the exclusion
of the deeper meaning at the letter level has been consistently condemned
by the rabbinic tradition as dangerous and misleading ever since the Septuagint
Greek translation was ordered by Ptolemy Philadelphus, circa 285 BCE.
The tragedy of misrepresentation and the misunderstanding
it inspires among the people who revere the Hebrew Bible continues to this
I hope you enjoy this Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm)
Newsletter. We welcome your feedback; if you have questions, or suggestions,
please don't hesitate to write me at:
Cynthia Tenen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thank you for your interest in the work of the
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1999, 2000, 2001 Meru Foundation.
Past issues of eTORUS(tm) are archived online on the Meru Foundation
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