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Torah Codes and Kiruv Rechokim by Rabbi Daniel Mechanic
Dr. Barry Simon has chosen to publically attack both the scientific Codes research and the integrity of Aish HaTorah’s presentation of Codes in their ongoing Kiruv Rechokim efforts. Although the answers to his questions and concerns can be found in Mr. Witztum’s accompanying article and at the Torah Codes website, there is still a need to clarify a number of other important issues.
Authoritative Sources for Codes:
It is important to emphasize at the outset that neither Doron Witztum nor Dr. Eliyahu Rips discovered the fact that G-d deliberately inserted ELS Codes (Equidistant Letter Sequences) in the Torah. That information is hidden in various ways within the words and letters of the Torah is a well-known and established part of our Mesorah.
The Rokeach (Hakdamah Al HaTorah) and the Ramak (Pardes Rimonim, Shaar Lamed) mention the phenomenon here under discussion, of G-d encoding hidden information through the “skipping of letters”. Furthermore, Rabbeinu Bachya in Bereishis (chapter 1, verse 2), Rav Avraham Abulafia in his sefer Imrei Shefer (Aseres Hadibros), and the Ramak all asserted not just the simple fact that deliberately placed ELS Codes exist, but provided explicit examples of them. It is clear from their specific comments, as well as the general context of their discussion, that their assertions were not merely poetic metaphors, but reflective of an authoritative and legitimate methodology. In more recent times, the students of the famous Rav Michoel Ber Weissmandl Zt’l, published a book called Toras Chemed that contains many compelling examples of ELS Codes found by their teacher.
The fact that G-d placed Codes in the Torah is therefore not something new. What is new is Doron Witztum’s and Dr. Eliyahu Rips’ carefully-developed procedures for assessing the phenomenon scientifically, taking advantage of high-speed computers and modern statistical methods.
Rabbinical Support for the use of Codes:
A number of contemporary Gedolim and Torah sages have repeatedly given their strong support for the use of Codes as a Kiruv Rechokim tool. Included in this prominent group is the renowned Jerusalem Posek and Rov, Rav Shlomo Fisher. In addition to his own 1989 Psak Din stating that “it is a Mitzvah to teach Codes”, Rabbi Fisher recently issued a public letter wherein he states that he met with Doron Witztum and Dr. Rips on several occasions, together with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Zt’l. He testifies that Harav Auerbach not only gave his unequivocal approval of the Codes research but also strongly encouraged the use of this material in Kiruv Rechokim efforts.
Numerous prominent Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim have personally sat through Codes presentations at our Discovery seminars. Among those who have attended - and gone on record as supporting the use of Codes for Kiruv Rechokim - are Rav Yaakov Weinberg, Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky, Rav Moshe Heinemann, and Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan. In fact, Mr. Harold Gans, a former senior cryptologic mathematician with the United States’ National Security Agency for twenty-eight years, has had a number of long discussions about the Codes with Rav Moshe Heinemann. Despite the recent controversy surrounding the topic, Rav Heinemann remains emphatic in characterizing the Codes as “absolutely part of our Mesorah, and a Kiddush Hashem to teach.”
In addition to consulting with Poskim, we have been scrupulous, of course, in obtaining confirmation of the ongoing research by independent scientific experts. The presentation of this material to the public has been handled with a high level of integrity, objectivity, and professionalism. In light of these facts, we continue to receive approval for the teaching of Codes from universally recognized Gedolim and Torah authorities, who are themselves intimately involved in all aspects of Kiruv.
- The Seal of G-d is Truth by Dorun Witzum
- Torah Codes and Kiruv Rechokim by Rabbi Daniel Mechanic
- The Effect of Codes in Kiruv
- Slanderous Attacks by the Critics