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# Letters

Title Author Date
Is this one instance "proof" (VERY strong evidence) for God and Torah--I hope not!!!! Feldman, S. Nov 17, 2003
If there's a real god and a real bible, one would expect god to want us to think and study It's creation, rather than put up our feet on the kitchen table and drink a beer, watching sports. I think I found evidence, strong evidence, nearly proof. Shucks!

Regarding Kings I, 7:23, Zeligman states, "Even in plain geometry we find Chazal determining laws based on homiletics, and only afterwards trying to make the facts fit these laws. In Tractate Eiruvin 14a the Talmud says:
"Anything which has, in its circumference, 3 tefachs, has one tefach in diameter. How do we know this? Rabbi Jochanan said, it is written in the Scripture: 'And he [Solomon] made a molten sea, ten amahs from one brim to the other. It was round all about, and its height was five amahs. And a line of thirty amahs circled it' (I Kings 7:23)."
The Talmud rules that the ratio between a circle's circumference and its radius, known as pi, is 3. In fact, this number is irrational (impossible to represent as a finite common or decimal fraction), and taken to 10 decimal places, pi=3.1415926536."

I've discovered the following: So, Kings I says that the diameter = 10 cubits, circumfrence = 30 cubits. But pi = 3.14159264!!! The bible made a mistake! It should have given it a 31.4 cubit circumfrence. So how round does this yam have to be? Well, there's always an error in what we do. But wait! The hebrew word for "kav" (border) is supposed to be spelled "kuf" "vav", yet in the Bible it is spelled "kuf" "vav" "hay". What's going on here? Well, the bible is saying, in terms of the numerical value (AKA the gematria, which is explained at this webpage: http://www.inner.org/gematria/gemchart.htm) for "border", to essentially "take 106 parts (the numerical value of "kuf" "vav")and replace it with 111 parts (the numerical value of "kuf" "vav" "hay"." The correction factor is 111/106 (or, 1.0471698). Now, it says (in Kings) that pi = 3. But the deeper reading of the text is telling us to replace that value--to replace every 106 parts with 111--and if we do the multiplication (3*1.0471698) we get 3.1415094, the value of pi to 4 decimal places (an error of 9 parts in 10^-5)! It turns out that if you analyze the error in the numerator (the error in the bible's use of "kuf" "vav" and "hay", or 111), it turns out that this spelling yields the best approximation of pi.

Is this evidence that the bible is from god?
Related Articles: A List of Some Problematic Issues

Title Author Date
Is this one instance 'proof' (VERY strong evidence) for God and Torah--I hope not!!!! Naftali Zeligman Nov 19, 2003
You claim to have found the Bible hinting at the value of Pi with precision "to 4 decimal places (an error of 9 parts in 10^-5)." If you can condone an omniscient God an error in the fifth digit after the decimal point, why do you find an error in the first digit so troubling?
Furthermore, the passage that you quoted from the "Letter to My Rabbi" does not deal with the Bible - at least not primarily. It deals with the Rabbinic interpretation of the Bible which was often headed at wrong targets: to find out the value of Pi, one has to use measuring instruments and geometrical calculations, not a text describing Solomon's basin. After all, the text may be approximating - all the more so since any representation of Pi by a common or decimal fraction is necessarily an approximation.
Yet, as shown in the "Letter," the Rabbis of the Talmud took the 3:1 ratio not as an approximation but as a precise figure; the numerical trick based on the divergence of the written text and the reading was either unknown to them or they thought it was just an empty trick.
In the latter case, at least, they must have been right. The divergence between the written QWH and the reading QaW exists, in the Masoretic text of the Bible, not only in I Kings 7:23 but also in Jeremiah 31:39 and Zechariah 1:16, where the term in question has nothing to do with circles and their diameters but merely designates a measuring-rope. Ezekiel 47:3 and II Chronicles 4:2 use for that purpose the term QaW plain and simple, without any variation (note that II Chronicles 4:2 is an exact parallel to I Kings 7:23). In fact, "measuring-rope" must be the meaning of the term in I Kings 7:23 as well - so the verse should be better translated: "...and a measuring-rope of thirty cubits would encircle it around."
The discrepancy between the written QWH and the reading QaW may result from the existence of two slightly variant forms for the term for "measuring-rope" in the Hebrew language of the Biblical period: one QaW (spelled QW) and the other QaWeH or QeWeH (spelled QWH; this noun had to be masculine as the verbs it governs in I Kings 7:23, Jeremiah 31:39 and Zechariah 1:16 are masculine). Probably some ancient versions of these three verses read QW and some others QWH, while the Masoretic text with its indication of this divergence resulted from a collation of these versions. All this has nothing do to, however, with the fact that the divergence you noted has nothing to do with circles and their parameters.
Related Articles: A List of Some Problematic Issues