For many years various outreach organizations, most notably Aish Hatorah have used the “Torah Codes” to “prove” that the Torah must have been written by G-d.
Basically the argument was that using “highspeed computer analysis of the letters of the Torah” they found hidden messages that could not have been put there humanly which proves that the Torah was written by G-d who decided to hide secret messages in the Torah in this manner.
There are many flaws in this argument
- Similar codes can be found in other text
- The Torah we have is not letter-for-letter identical to older manuscripts. The Rama on Shulcah Aruch (Orach Chayim 143:4) says explicitly that an extra letter or missing letter does not invalidate a Torah Scroll, as our Torah Scrolls are not so accurate.
- In spite of what Aish claims at Discovery seminars, the codes have been reviewed by statisticians, and rejected as a statistical anomaly which would prove that there is unique about the patterns of letters in the Torah.
However, the biggest problem with basing belief in the Divine Authorship of the Torah on computer generated statistical analysis is what would happen if there was computer-generated Statistical Analysis that indicates that the Torah was written by multiple authors?
Well, now we’ll find out. NPR has an article on recent statistical and linguistic analysis which indicates that “multiple hands wrote the Bible”.
Unlike the Torah Codes, this analysis has gone through a robust scientific process and was not written by people who had an agenda to prove or disprove anything about the Torah, in fact 3 of the 4 scientists that worked on the project are religious Jews that belive in the Divine Origin of the Torah. The analysis was developed to analyze historical and modern texts, not specifically to analyze the Torah.
I accept as a tenent of our Faith that HaShem revealed Himself on Sinai and gave to Moshe the Torah, however I don’t believe that we need to find secret codes to prove or disprove that article of faith.
I would be interested to see a response from Aish HaTorah or other outreach organizations that taught that you can base or strengthen faith based on computer-generated textual analysis.