Thursday, April 19, 2012

Notable Torah Codes rabbis

Here is the list of notables rabbis names used in the Torah Codes thing. R. Elijah Levita was included? Cool.  

I don't know why "Eliyah Hamedakek" was out, or why by the Vilna Gaon "Rabbi Eliyahu" and "Ha-gaon" was in but "Ha-gra" was out. I like how the Noda Beyehuda is called the "Baal Ha-Tzlach." 

Here's the entire paper (link).


  1. S., If you read the article carefully, you will note that the criteria used for inclusion in the list of rabbis are arbitrary. Not only are they based on a certain range in number of lines in a particular biographical compendium, but, more importantly, names and dates must each be only 5-8 letters. The former restriction (5) is due to a particular arbitrary randomization scheme that they use (they perturb the spacing of the last 3 letters). The latter restriction (8) is applied in an attempt to get at least one instance in the Genesis text containing the word using some letter skip distance. These restrictions lead to some uncommon ways of referring to a famous (or semi-famous) rabbi.

    I have concludes that the codes procedures are arbitrary and entirely unconvincing. In any case, the reason for the exclusion of the appellations you cite is that they fall outside the 5-8 letter range. That is also why the universal appellation,Rashi, is excluded and Rambam is listed as HaRambam.

  2. I prefer the "AHRN" code found in Vayikra over these Rabbi Codes in Bereshit. (See Scroll to "A "Hidden" Aaron in Leviticus") Not that I'm such a fan of these codes; it's just that this particular code (assuming, for the time being, that it's indeed a code and not just a fluke) is quite easy for the layman to reproduce, there's no suspicion of finagling spelling, and even those who are strong in statistics might still think "hmm, there might be something here".

  3. As I think you are implying, the list of rabbis says more about the authors of the study than it does about any supposed hidden codes. The included names are obviously ones that pass muster with the authors, and for that reason it is indeed "cool" that the somewhat controversial R. Elijah Levita made the cut (but under "Habahur," a dubious form of his surname "Bahur").

  4. The selection process of the names of the Rabbis is indeed a point of much controversy. Introducing several possible names for each rabbi greatly increases the amount of "wiggle room" which would render the results statistically insignificant, even though the particular result is a one in a billion. This is Brandan McKay's criticism.

  5. I actually found your name - F-R-E-D - several places in the Torah. I was unable to find Mississippi, but when I changed it to "H-A-N-A-H-A-R" ("the river", because it's a big river) bam, there it was.

  6. "The included names are obviously ones that pass muster with the authors"

    Since when did jumping to conclusions and accusations become so popular?

  7. Dan, they did use a controlled method for choosing the names; the number of columns devoted to them in the Encylopedia Judaica. I appreciate their attempt to be random; they also had the names to call them chosen for them by SJ Havlin based on what he said were the way they are most frequently cited in the Bar Ilan database (and I'm not sure in all case he chose correctly, to say the least).

    But at the end of the day, we are supposed to believe that God encoded the Noda Beyehuda near dates significant in his life as the "Baal Hatzlach."

  8. OK, but I think you mean not the Judaica, but "The Encyclopedia of Great Men in Israel," by Mordechai Margalioth. A set of the original 1945 4-volume work is listed for sale by Broder's Rare and Used Books for $100. So let me modify my jumped-to conclusion and say that the names included in the Torah Codes rabbi list are ones that passed muster with Margalioth, who apparently had no problem with R. Elijah Levita. Part of the never-ending controversy about the codes concerns the exact nature of Prof. Havlin's input; see for example In any case, I would like to see what would happen if a different list of notables (such as famous Reform rabbis, from Holdheim to Preisand) were to be searched for by name and date in the Torah text.



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