Essays by Stan Tenen

Comments on the Torah Codes: Posting for the Mail-Jewish Discussion List
Essay ©1999 Stan Tenen

The following essay was part of an ongoing discussion of Torah Codes in the Mail-Jewish email discussion list, and was posted in Mail-Jewish Vol. 30 #83.

The subject of the Torah Codes comes up periodically.  I'd venture to say that I've given the Torah Codes more careful consideration than anyone else posting here.  I have been working on patterns in the letter sequences of Genesis since 1968, and have worked full time for the non-profit educational Meru Foundation since 1983 on various aspects of the patterns in Torah.

Previous posters have summarized the situation fairly well:

The statistically detected codes have been badly abused by persons confusing what was really done, with very simple ideas that make their pet names and dates show up.  This is an abuse, and it's been picked up on by various non-Jewish groups for their own purposes.

The statistically detected codes are real, but the meaning ascribed to them is not real.  What I mean here is that no one who has examined the codes research carefully disputes that there are equal interval letter-skip patterns.  It's the meaning of these patterns that's in dispute.  As others have posted, there is a solid refutation of the "prophetic meaning" of the codes published by Brendan McKay, Dror Bar-Natan, et al., in Statistical Science, May 1999.  [A summary of McKay's article, and my response to it, are posted elsewhere in the Meru Foundation website Torah Codes section.]

Of course, I agree with those who have posted their objections to the use of the Torah Codes to attract Baalei Tshuvim, based on some sort of "proof of Torah."  This abuse has been picked up on by non-Jewish groups, who are now attracting converts based on their claims of finding Yeshua and other names in the codes.  Whether for Judaism or for other faiths, this is an abuse of the codes, and in the long run, IMO, is not likely to be helpful to anyone.

The meaning of the equal-interval letter-skip patterns is much more important and much more subtle than has been proposed by the "believers" and debunked by the "non-believers."

There is a simple explanation for the equal-interval letter-skip patterns, based on the first word of B'reshit. The commonly held root of B'reshit is reshit, based on resh, meaning "head," or in other words, "In the beginning."  But that's not the only possible root.  The alternative is reshet, and reshet refers to a [woven] net or network.  We should also remember that Jacob passed to Joseph, not a "coat of many colors,"  but rather a ketonet passim, which is more properly translated as a "striped coat."  Persons familiar with weaving will immediately recognize that a woven, striped cloth will exhibit skip patterns on its thread when it's unraveled.  That's the natural consequence of unraveling something that is striped, assuming the stripe-making dye is on the thread.  (Jacob's "striped coat" may have been a prototype for the patterns in Torah, later received at Horeb Sinai.  This may indicate that Joseph brought Jewish science to Pharaoh's court, and that that was a primary source of Egyptian knowledge at the time.)

My 40 years of research have been focused on this, and has come to certain conclusions.  (Some of this has now been published in the peer-reviewed Noetic Journal, Vol. 2 #2.) Versions of these articles essentially similar to the peer-reviewed material are available on the Meru website: The God of Abraham: A Mathematician's View and Man Bites Dog.

The first form woven by the letter-text string of B'reshit is a sort of "tefillin strap," intended to be bound on the hand in the form of a model human hand.  When a person wearing this primitive "tefillin" makes gestures, the outline of each of the rabbinic Meruba Ashuris letters can be seen.  The gestures that produce the letters match those reported in ancient scripts, and as naturally produced by persons blind from birth who have never seen gestures.

Examples of the weave, and how it was detected, can be found in the essay, Symmetry Woven into the First Verse of the Hebrew Text of Genesis, elsewhere on the Meru website.

Because the human hand, and what's in the human hand, can be seen in the mind's eye without difficulty, letters made this way can immediately be seen in the mind's eye.  This means that sequences of Hebrew letters can be used to record and to reconstruct sequences of letters in the mind, which could specify a meditational dance.  It's my conjecture that the meditational exercises of our prophets and sages, including the Pardes meditation of Rabbi Akiba, are what is actually encoded in the letter-patterns in Torah.  Where else would a Jewish sage look for the preservation of kosher meditations except in Torah?  (Of course, it's not the potentially idolatrous image of the letter-producing hand-model that is used.  The image is only a student's aid to memory.  The actual meditation is based on the feelings represented by each letter-gesture, not by the image of the letter.)

Therefore, it's my proposal that the letter-patterns in Torah are not a catalog of explicit prophecies (rabbis' names and dates, and the like), but rather a meditational path by which a qualified tzaddik could attain a state approaching prophecy.  It seems to me that the potential for recovery of Rabbi Akiba's Pardes meditation is a lot more important than what's been proposed previously.

Besides the potential for recovering the meditational exercises intended in Torah, the letter-patterns also appear to describe -- in great detail -- the design of the Temple, the priestly garments, and Temple furnishings.  The models produced by the letter-patterns appear to satisfy a wide range of discussion in kabbalistic texts that is now highly disputed, paradoxical, or inexplicable.  With these models, Kabbalah can no longer be treated as mythology or mysticism, but rather must be understood as instructive in the science of consciousness carried in Torah.

Unlike the statistically detected codes, the patterns at the beginning of B'reshit appear to make use of all of the letters, not just selected skip-letters.  The patterns are so strong that if (God forbid) any letter had been omitted, added, or changed, it would stand out like a sore thumb -- like a missed stitch in a woven sweater -- and could be unambiguously corrected based only on the surrounding letters.  In other words, the model I'm suggesting is much stronger and much more statistically robust than the mechanically detected equal interval letter-skip patterns.

To date, the best "pro-codes" book available is that of Dr. Jeffrey Satinover (of Yale), "Cracking the Bible Code;" a review of Dr. Satinover's book is posted elsewhere in this section.  The best anti-codes material is the previously mentioned Statistical Science paper by McKay et al.

Physicists are interested in Meru Foundation's findings because they bear on matters of fundamental importance.  When the letters are understood as pointing directions of our hands, they can also be understood as pointing directions in the more abstract sense.  All entities in quantum mechanics are specified by what is called a "quantum state vector."  The 27 letters of the full alphabet appear to be isomorphic to the 27 lines that solve the general cubic equation, and define pointing directions from a hypersphere.  This means that the letters, in effect, form a base-space for any quantum state vector.  Unlike other theories, which tie Torah and/or the alphabet to particular physics that may or may not pass the test of time, this conceptualization is independent of the details of physics, and instead elegantly and compactly defines the space in which physics takes place -- a far more fundamental concept, almost certain to stand the test of time.

I'm looking for qualified colleagues who care about Torah, who would like to criticize and review this work, and if it passes their standards, help out.  My expertise is limited, and certainly not sufficient to span what's required for a proper examination of Torah (or of science).  If you're interested in the codes, and would like to get to the bottom of the matter, please have a look at the Meru website, and then please contact me directly for further information, and with your hard questions.

Stan Tenen
Meru Foundation

Back to Bible Codes Index


Contents of this page are ©1999 Stan Tenen, and licensed to Meru Foundation, 524 San Anselmo Ave. #214, San Anselmo, CA 94960.
Email inquiries to the Research Staff at:
To order Meru Foundation materials, go to     
For Customer Service, call 1-888-422-MERU or email to