Bible Codes Announcement


My other favorite publication, Jewish Action, just released its fall issue. It contains a revisiting of the Codes controversy, in the form of a Sarah Shapiro interview with Harold Gans. (I’ve been trying to lure Sarah to join CC as a regular. She is still welcome, even after taking the wrong side on this issue. We won’t hold it against her – especially since my friend Yaakov Menken is also on the other side!)

The interview attempts to update JA’s coverage, which last visited this issue nine years ago. The introduction implies that there are new developments in the story. The review also refers to “an Orthodox rabbi who is one of [the] critics [who] declined to be interviewed for an article that would lend credence to Torah Codes.”

Both of these are true. The refusenik, c’est moi. Part of the reason for my refusal is that much has happened in the last nine years. We understand the methodology of the experimenters much better. We’ve had an opportunity to subject the phenomenon to other tests, including one agreed upon in advance by both sides. We’ve seen some of the problems generated by people coming to believe that this is really a part of Torah. And most importantly, we’ve had an opportunity to sit at a more than friendly Melave Malka in my home with Prof. Rips and Prof. Haralick and talk openly and respectfully about our differences.

The way Prof. Barry Simon and I see it is that nine years ago we saw the Codes as probably without merit, and possibly dangerous.

Things have changed. Today we regard them as definitely without merit, and certainly dangerous to the Torah community.

The rest is perush, which will be available, BE”H, in the form of a FAQ that we will be releasing, but with the Yomim Tovim upon us, it is not likely to see the light of day till December. (We would have preferred a side-by-side presentation within the pages of JA, but apparently someone was not willing to do this unless the other side saw our presentation in advance. We were not willing to give them that advantage, since we had the last time, and it worked extraordinarily to our disadvantage. No problem. Putting our response on the web instead ain’t chopped liver.)

In the meantime, B”H most of the key players are friendly and civil to most of the opposing key players, which is why we can hazard this posting shortly before the Yemei Hadin. To the best of our knowledge, everyone is in this L’shem Shomayim.

When our FAQ is ready, we will get the word out, BE”H

You may also like...

Gershon Josephs
8 years 2 months ago

“There are enough intellectual arguments for the truth of Torah that won’t be shaken by a teenage hacker with a Core Duo PC and too much spare time…”

Please compile and list such arguments on your site. There are many people who would benefit from that.

Art Levitt
8 years 2 months ago

Torah Codes were first computerized in the late 1970’s by Professor Eliyahu Rips. Since 1996, it has been my great privilege to learn from him and other pioneers of the field, such as Harold Gans and Professor Robert M. Haralick. The site presents the essence of our ongoing investigation. There are increasingly simpler and more compelling examples presented there, some as recently as last month. As researchers, we encourage readers to allow time for this 3000 year old mystery to unfold.

8 years 2 months ago

While Rav Adlerstein describes my position as being the “other side,” I have for some time now been on the same side where it counts. Whether there is something genuinely wrong with the Bible Codes research and its methodology, or whether it is merely the combination of a successful FUD campaign on the part of critics, plus a series of “Bible Codes” books treating the topic with all the intellectual rigor of a circus side show, I think the damage is long since done as far as using Codes for Kiruv, for Jewish outreach.

This is the danger to… Read more »

Charles B. Hall
8 years 2 months ago

A quick search of the Current Index to Statistics showed nothing since this article:

McKay, Brendan, Bar-Natan, Dror, Bar-Hillel, Maya and Kalai, Gil (1999)
Solving the Bible code puzzle
Statistical Science, 14, 150-173
Keywords: Equidistant letter sequences; ELS; Bible code; Torah code; data tuning; Data selection; Permutation test


A paper of Witztum, Rips and Rosenberg in this journal in 1994 made the extraordinary claim that the Hebrew text of the Book of Genesis encodes events which did not occur until millennia after the text was written. In reply, we argue that Witztum, Rips and Rosenberg’s case is fatally defective, indeed… Read more »

Bob Miller
8 years 2 months ago

Regarding Comment by Lawrence Kaplan — September 10, 2007 @ 10:24 am :

I wonder why JA would attempt to show Team A in this argument Team B’s cards, to help Team A create a more effective last word. If any members of JA’s management or editorial board are reading this, I ask them to explain themselves here.

If JA really is partial to the Codes, I would also like to know whether that is out of belief in their truth or out of belief in their utility.

Ori Pomerantz
8 years 2 months ago

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions. A list of questions about a topic and their answers.

lawrence kaplan
8 years 2 months ago

I know what BE”H stands for, but, pardon my ignorance, what is FAQ?
Wahtever the abbreviation stands, I look forward to the article’s appearance. More substantively, I am troubled by Rabbi Adlerstein’s delicately phrased suggestion that the JA, instead of adopting a position of strict editorial neutrality on this issue, seems to be favoring the pro-Bible Codes side.

Bob Miller
8 years 2 months ago

Rabbi Adlerstein,

My feeling is that defenders of the Codes methodology need something to react to (such as the advance copy you denied them this time) because the methodology and its rationale(s) are pretty ad hoc in the first place.

This whole Codes business is sort of like prophecy in reverse. It never tells us anything we didn’t know already and in more detail.

Shaya Karlinsky
8 years 2 months ago

“The editors and peer reviewers of scientific journals cannot always verify that a submitted paper’s results are true and honest; rather their main job is to check whether a paper’s methodology is sound, its reasoning cogent and its conclusions noteworthy. Disconfirmation can always follow publication.”

No, this wasn’t written by Dr. Barry Simon to refute the Aish Hatorah claim that publication of the Famous Rabbis experiment in Statistical Science in 1994 gives the findings credibility, and opponents just don’t like the conclusions. Although it echoes the contents of a conversation we had in Jerusalem a few months ago.

It is a… Read more »