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Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter
Number 8 - 5 March 2001
Copyright 2001 Meru Foundation
Written by Cynthia Tenen

Stan and Cynthia have just arrived in California for a brief stay -- we will be returning to Massachusetts during the last week of March.  If you would like to speak with us during our West Coast visit, please call at 415-332-5976.

The past few months in Massachusetts were quietly productive.  We have been working on materials for Stan's book, including several new graphic pages which will generate their own explanatory essays as our work continues.  Many of you have been waiting for this book for a long time, and we appreciate your patience -- progress is slow, because of our needs to do fundraising and other "nuts and bolts" activities that get in the way of creative concentration.  But Stan and I continue our work on it, and will let you know as we have progress to report.

This Survey Question is the first part of a two-part message Stan designed in order to make a point about Sefer Yetzirah and Genesis.  It was originally printed as two separate messages in the e-list Meta-Reiterations; we are printing the second part -- the answer, and Stan's comments -- at the end of this Newsletter.


Can you explain the simple meaning of the following line?  It is taken verbatim from the screen of a cable TV program.  Exact translation is not required, just the basic meaning is requested.


Hint: "Word divisions" may or may not be expressed properly and "punctuation" has been omitted on purpose.

Please also explain your point of view and assumptions in making a translation.  For example, perhaps you notice "FM  AM" and think that this refers to the two common modes of radio broadcasting: FM and AM.  If this is a presumption you decide to make use of, please say so.  (I am using this as an example because it is a common inference among those I have already asked, but I am not saying here whether or not this is a correct or a spurious assumption.)

The answer, and some further comments, are printed at the end of this Newsletter.


As those of you who have checked out our secure server website, <www.meetingtent.com>, may know, one of our hand-produced offerings is an individually printed, loose-leaf color binder of Meru Foundation graphic pages and articles -- some of which are available nowhere else.  Since Stan and I assemble these binders ourselves, we generally do them in batches (which means when we run out, these items are often on back-order until we have a new batch ready to ship).  I wanted to let readers of this newsletter especially know that we now have a batch of these albums ready, and so if you've been thinking of ordering one of our "Special Edition Graphic Samplers" -- now is the time. <smile>  These albums sell for $150 plus shipping, and are available directly from us at <www.meetingtent.com>.

Also, I wanted to remind our readers that every time you order a book online from Cody's Books, at <www.codysbooks.com>, Meru Foundation receives a percentage of your order.  This is a simple and painless way to support Meru Foundation, as well as patronizing one of the West's largest truly independent booksellers.  You can order any book in the Cody's catalog -- just go to <www.codysbooks.com>, order your book, and on the shipping page, place "Meru Foundation" in the comment line.  That's all there is to it!  The Meru Board thanks all of you who choose to help us by ordering from Cody's Books.

For those of you who haven't checked out the Meru Foundation reading list lately, you might want to take a look -- as a part of our program with Cody's Books, Stan and I have begun to expand our Recommended Reading List, at <www.meru.org/readlist.html>.  (Eventually, you will be able to order many of these books directly from Cody's by linking through from this web page.)  If you have sometimes felt that you would like to understand the Meru research in greater depth, check out a few of the books on this list -- each one of them has had its own influence on the growth of our ideas, and all are worth your examination.


For this issue, we offer the following short piece, written by Stan in answer to a correspondent's question.

"BEIT Ever So Humble, There's No Place Like Home" -- The Hebrew Letter BET

The Distinction between Inside and Outside, A House
"In," "With," "Both / Two / Too"

Bet is the first letter of the Hebrew text of Genesis.

The name of the letter Bet is spelled Bet-Yod-Tov in Hebrew.  It is commonly understood to be similar to the Hebrew word for "house," Bay-it," which is spelled exactly the same,

All biblical Hebrew roots are verbs, so we should understand Bet to imply the function of a house - housing.  A house separates (or relates, or sits at the interface BeTween) what is inside and what is outside.  A housing can be a vessel or a coating or any relationship where there is contrast.

Letter-by-letter, the spelling of the word Bet is: Bet = "In/with"; Yod = "hand"; Tov = "sign".  Thus, Bet means "housing" in the special sense of a housing made "With a hand sign." (- or, alternately, "In a hand sign," or "Within a hand sign.")

As the Meru Foundation work shows, the letters of the first verse of the Hebrew text of Genesis fold the text-string into a specially shaped, spiral vortex, glove-like form that fits on our hand(s).  This special housing is the "hand sign" that generates all of the letters of the Rashi-Nachmanides rabbinic form of the Meruba (square-form) Ashuris (most praiseworthy) Hebrew alphabet. (The "hand-sign" displays all of the Hebrew letters in gestures whose natural meaning is the same as the name of the letter displayed.)

Thus the name of the very first letter of the Hebrew Bible tells us that the Bible is "In a hand sign." In this explicit sense, the Hebrew Bible represents the "hand of God" - written in the "hand of God" - as it projects infinite mind into infinite world.

It is interesting to note that mathematician G. Spencer-Brown has shown that all of formal mathematical logic can be derived from what he calls "the mark of distinction between inside and outside."

There is more than one way to transliterate the Hebrew letters that spell the word Bet into English letters.  Here are some of the possibilities for each letter.

Bet can be transliterated as B, V, or W in English.
Yod can be transliterated as 1, el, Y, or aY in English.  But as a vowel, any other vowel may be substituted and the B-vowel-T (consonantal) root would remain the same.
Tov can be transliterated as T, TT, Th, The, S, SS, and sometimes St.

Here are some English words that are based on the same consonantal root letters as the Hebrew letter name BEIT.

BaiT draw Out
BaT hit Out
houses water
        BeTween / Two Too
BeaT chase Out
BeeT pulled Out of the ground
Unit of information
cut Into and pull Out
BoaT water house
BoSS/emBoSS push Out
BooT foot house
BooTh house
BouT fight Out
BuS carrying house
stick Out
open Out
next to
sock Out
stand Out
BYTE Unit of information
Vase flower housing
vast spacious housing
VaT liquid housing
VeSt chest housing
VeTo lock Out
waist separate Up from Down
Waste throw Out
wise discriminate

BET (c)2001 SNT/Meru Foundation

Here is Stan's response to the "Survey Question" reproduced at the top of this Meru Newsletter, which he posed to the Meta-Reiterations e-list.


I have not received many "solutions" to this question, which is okay because my point was in posing it.

The author's INTENDED meaning of the letter sequence has nothing to do with a "DJ" (disk jockey) on an "FM" and "AM" radio station named "J Jason."

The originally unspaced letters "DJFMAMJJASON" appeared on the MSNBC business report on a chart showing the past year's performance of a particular stock.  Since the report was in November 2000, the monthly chart of the stock's performance started with December 2000.

Quite naturally, the horizontal (time) axis on the bottom edge of the chart listed Dec., Jan., Feb., Mar., ...... Oct., Nov.  Thus the INTENDED meaning of "DJFMAMJJASON" is not a word, words, or a phrase or sentence.  It is a list of the initial letters of the names of the months of the year starting with "D" = December of the current year.

My point is that this is EXACTLY what has happened with the Hebrew text of Genesis.  The undivided, unpunctuated, sequence of letter-operator "initials"  has been interpreted as words in a narrative language sentence.  The true situation is that each of the Hebrew letters should have been interpreted as entire "word" in a formal operator system. Hebrew words are actually a "acronyms" for sequences of formal (non-phonetic, non-narrative) operations.

The same problem appears in the most basic kabbalistic text, the Sefer Yetzirah ("Book of Formation").  There is a (rather famous) word - "B'limah" - that translators do not agree on and cannot translate unambiguously.  As it turns out, this is not really a word at all.  It is a list of the letters at the beginning of the Hebrew text of Genesis that must be paired (based on the symmetry of the alphabet) in order to find the geometry in Genesis that the Sefer Yetzirah goes on to describe and make use of.

The first verse of the Hebrew text of Genesis (28-letters) makes use of only 12-letters of the alphabet.  This means that there are literally hundreds (over 900) distinct narrative "translations" that can be found by separating the undivided string of letters to form what appear to be different sequences of Hebrew "words."  The most famous of these "translations" reads: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."   The problem is, this is only one of the hundreds of possibilities and the only thing it has to recommend it over most of the others is that it conforms to our traditions, presumptions and expectations for what we think the text should say.

As an acronym-like sequence of letter-operations, the Hebrew text of Genesis actually sets out to outline "creation" in a modern sense.  Pairing the letters folds the text-string into recognizable geometric forms that have immediate meaning.  The first thing the text string does is to specify the geometry of the letters used to write the text itself.  This is extremely logical.  After all, in a technical text, the first thing you do is define your symbols.

In my opinion, "translating" Genesis into narrative language has pitted the various cultures and traditions that make use of it against one another.

Narrative "translation" of Torah to the exclusion of the deeper meaning at the letter level has been consistently condemned by the rabbinic tradition as dangerous and misleading ever since the Septuagint Greek translation was ordered by Ptolemy Philadelphus, circa 285 BCE.

The tragedy of misrepresentation and the misunderstanding it inspires among the people who revere the Hebrew Bible continues to this day.


I hope you enjoy this Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter.  We welcome your feedback; if you have questions, or suggestions, please don't hesitate to write me at:
Cynthia Tenen <meru@meru.org>

Thank you for your interest in the work of the Meru Foundation.


The Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter is copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 Meru Foundation.
Past issues of eTORUS(tm) are archived online on the Meru Foundation website at

You may duplicate and pass along this newsletter, in its entirety, as long as you include this copyright notice and the contact information below. Please send comments and questions to <meru@meru.org>.

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