August 1985: Page 1, 2, 3

Submitters Perspective

Page 2

Mathematical Code of Qur’an Found in Previous Scripture

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The people [Jews] in France made it a custom to add [in the morning prayer] the words: “'Ashrei temimei derekh [blessed are those who walk the righteous way],” and our Rabbi, the Pious, of blessed memory, wrote that they were completely and utterly wrong. It is all gross falsehood, because there are only nineteen times that the Holy Name is mentioned [in that portion of the morning prayer], 18 …and similarly you find the word 'Elohim nineteen times in the pericope of Ve- 'elleh shemot…19 Similarly, you find that Israel were called “sons” nineteen times, and there are many other examples. All these sets of nineteen are intricately intertwined,20 and they contain many secrets and esoteric meanings,21 which are contained in more than eight large volumes.22 Therefore, anyone who has the fear of God in him will not listen to the world of the Frenchmen who add the verse “ 'Ashrei temimei derekh,” and blessed are the righteous who walk in the paths of God’s Torah,23 for according to their additions the Holy Name is mentioned twenty times….. and this is a great mistake. Furthermore, in this section there are 152 words, but if you add “ 'Ashrei temimei derekh” there are 158 words. This is nonsense, for it is a great and hidden secret why there should by 152 words… but it cannot be explained in a short treatise. PLEASE NOTE THAT 152 = 19 x 8

Another aspect of the same process is the attitude towards the text of the prayers. Rabbi Judah warned his neighbors in France and Britain that if they allow even the most minor changes in that text, their prayers will become “like the songs of the uncircumcised non-Jews.” Free expression of feelings, religious or secular, was regarded by Rabbi Judah as a non-Jewish song, which has no place in the framework of worship. While this argument was not directed against rationalistic philosophers but against fellow halakhists and pietists, the problem faced in this commentary by Rabbi Judah is the same one that bothered the philosophers and all thinkers of that period: Why does God insist on a repetitive prayer, said again and again several times every day in exactly the same words, instead of allowing free expression of the individual’s religious feelings in his personal words, reflecting every special occasion? The framework of rationalistic philosophy did not offer a popularly accepted answer to this question, a fact that necessarily weakened the position of the traditional text of the liturgy in the eyes of the intellectuals of the age. It seems that the school that Rabbi Judah represented was the first to offer an answer to that problem – a nonrational answer, bordering on a mystical attitude, namely, the existence of a hidden, esoteric harmony between the text of the prayer and a divine structure, mainly a numerical structure, which is also reflected in the Scriptures, in history and in the creation. Therefore, every deviation from this structure destroys that harmony and secularizes the text of the prayers, turning them simply into collections of words and meanings, like the songs of the non-Jews.

It is possible that this new approach was merely “academic,” and it was not regarded as necessary to keep all the numerical combinations and associations in mind when actually praying. However, there can be no doubt that this new attitude had two results, one of which is manifested in this treatise, while the other is evident from all Ashkenazi Hasidic treatments of the subject: (a) No change can be tolerated in the text of the prayers, not even a minute one, because every change – even of one letter – would destroy the numerical harmony inherent in the text. It does not matter, therefore, whether the change is beneficial from

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