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Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter
Number 19 – 28 February 2004
Copyright 2003 Meru Foundation
Edited by Cynthia Tenen


Stan and I are spending the winter in Massachusetts, working regularly with our Sharon Colloquium study group, with very productive results. We are studying primary texts (Talmud, Zohar, e.g.) using (and refining) Meru's findings on the "matrix of meaning" for the Hebrew letters, and uncovering references in these primary texts to the same structures of logic that our research has found in the letter-sequence at the beginning of Genesis. We intend to incorporate this new work into Stan's book-in-progress, due out later this year.

Over the past six months, I have spent many hours reaching out by phone to people on our mailing lists -- those of you who have ordered Meru's videos and other materials, or who have otherwise expressed serious interest. I have had the pleasure of speaking with people from Maine to Hawaii, and learning once again how many and varied your backgrounds and talents are, and your reasons for being attracted to this work. This contact is very valuable to me personally, and for Meru as an organization. I have implemented some of your suggestions as to how to make it easier for people to support our Foundation -- for example, we now offer a "monthly pledge" option via PayPal (see the button at the top of <http://www.meru.org>.) And Stan and I are always heartened by your words of support and encouragement, and your enthusiasm for letting others know about our work.

I would like to be able to reach more of you, and speak with you personally. But since we switched over to an emailed newsletter, many of the phone numbers I have for you (some going back to the mid 1990's) no longer work. And some of you, we only know via email. If you live in the US or Canada, and would like me to contact you by phone to discuss our work, our materials, and how you can help to spread the word about this research, please email me your contact information, and I'll give you a call. --Cynthia Tenen
   To email your contact information, click here: <http://www.meru.org/contactinfo.html>

Purim, a Jewish holiday based on the Book of Esther, is celebrated this year on March 6-7. This holiday -- on the surface, a cheerful celebration of how Queen Esther of Persia, a Jewish woman, averted disaster for her entire people (in about 355 BCE) -- also has kabbalistic aspects. (For example, it is a traditional teaching in Judaism that in Messianic times, the only Jewish holiday which will still be celebrated is Purim -- which of course is not even mentioned in the Bible, since it occurs in historical times.)

On Purim, children dress in costumes; editors publish humorous "Purim issues" of newspapers (similar to "April Fools" editions), and celebrations are held by one and all. One traditional family custom involves eating a triangular cookie -- "Hamentaschen" -- whose shape is supposedly reminiscent of the three-cornered hat of the Purim villian, Haman (or sometimes his ears -- neither of which, by the way, are ever mentioned in the Book of Esther). It is our thesis that one way traditional knowledge of the models and math known in earlier times is preserved is in the rituals of our traditions, the customs, and the foods. (The braiding of challah bread for the Sabbath, for example, may be a reminder of the alphabet tetrahelix.)

So -- what about the folded-over three-cornered Hamentaschen-cookie of Purim, with its sweet, dark jam filling?

Below are excerpts from Stan Tenen's essay, "Eating Our Words." The complete essay is at <http://www.meru.org/eatingwords.html>

Happy Purim!

PS - I'm not familiar with this the rest of this site, but you will find a recipe for Hamentaschen, and additional information about the holiday of Purim, at http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday9.htm

from EATING OUR WORDS, (c)2002, 2004 Stan Tenen

. . . The first thing we do in life is to come into this world. In this way, the nascent "we" (really hardly more than our bodies' movements) learn "in" and "out." We repeat this by eating -- taking food from outside, inside. This is the source of our cognition. Whenever we eat, we think -- and we lay down the neural traces of new memories, experiences, and examples of what and how we eat. Ultimately we learn to be able to think about how we obtain our food, how we prepare our food, how we share our food, and the constellation of activities and abilities that spreads outward from eating, and all other examples of movement between inside and outside.

[. . .] What can we learn from hamantaschen? First, of course, we need to presume that there is some particular reason, now lost to us, why our sages and teachers taught (or merely allowed us to adapt or adopt, or possibly encouraged) us to make 3-cornered, sweet-filled pastries from a small flat circular piece of dough. What, if anything, is being memorialized by this quaint triangular tart?

My examination of the use of geometric metaphor in B'reshit has led me to consider a range of basic natural geometric forms, and the ways in which they might have been described and knowledge of them preserved in traditional teachings -- before there was any generally understood mathematical language to do the job. Of course, the geometric forms are only ancillary. They offer a natural, timeless, universal way of preserving a wide range of spiritual, emotional, and intellectual teachings -- and it is these teachings, and not the geometry per se, that are important. In other words, the geometry is necessary, but the teachings and traditions preserved by the use of geometric metaphor are what is really important. . .

[For the complete essay, "Eating Our Words," see <http://www.meru.org/eatingwords.html> .]


I hope you enjoy this Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter.

We welcome your comments and suggestions, and would like the opportunity to speak with you personally.

If you have comments or questions, please send an email to Cynthia Tenen at meru@meru.org with your phone number and a good time to call -- or, please call us at 781-784-8902 (Boston area). I would like to brainstorm with you.

Thank you for your interest in the work of the Meru Foundation.

The Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter is copyright 2004 Meru Foundation. All rights reserved.
Past issues of eTORUS(tm) are archived online on the Meru Foundation website at

You may duplicate and pass along this newsletter, in its entirety, as long as you include this copyright notice and the contact information below. Please send comments and questions to <meru@meru.org>.

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