Torat Moshe

The Mind of the Torah

 

 by

 

Moshe


 

 

 

Preface to the Series

 

This is a series of books about decoding the Torah.  Using the Torah as a model, I examine how the mind constructs language.  I present a methodology that elucidates this process and show how it provides a powerful tool to probe the subconscious.  Although the method has universal applicability, I demonstrate it primarily on biblical texts, revealing a comprehensive worldview, or theology, embedded in those texts.

My methodology is based on the simple hypothesis that everything is connected.   The goal of neuroscience is to describe human thought in terms of neuronal interactions in the brain.  I believe that this kind of connectivity is expressed in human language as well.  Applying this principle, I discover complex interplays between vast numbers of words, fractional words, verses and stories in the Torah, most of which appear to be unrelated.  Analysis of these interactions reveals a multiplicity of hidden meanings, often drastically altering, and sometimes reversing, the plain reading of the text.  In effect, my methodology, with its local and global views of  text, transports the reader into a realm that evokes the weird world of quantum mechanics.   It is a world where particles (textual elements) morph into other particles, where particles act as waves and appear everywhere, where reality is affected by the observer and where nothing is certain.

This strange universe of textual possibilty is reflected in the story lines themslves.  A simple example is the Book of Esther, the story commemorated by the Jewish holiday of Purim. The main literary device of Esther is what I call the flip.  Everyone’s fortune seems to flip back and forth and nothing is what it appears to be.  Indeed, Purim has traditionally been celebrated as a drinking and masquerade holiday and the word itself connotes casting lots, or choosing from a spectrum of possibilities. 

As I will show, the flip is fundamental to the concept of existence and underlies all human thinking.  One of my goals in this series is to apply the flip to a large corpus of Jewish literature, ranging from the Torah to the Talmud and Midrash.  My main focus, however, is the Torah.  Throughout modern history, the Torah has been denigrated for its disjointed literary structure and obscure passages, for a theology centered on the miraculous, for its depiction of a cruel, vengeful and parochial God, for its intolerance and for its many unjust laws.  My methodology, I will argue, virtually compels an interpretation that flips the disjointed to unified, obscure to profound, miraculous to rational, cruel and vengeful to compassionate, parochial to universal, intolerant to tolerant and unjust to just.  With these transformations, I will show how the Torah provides answers to the big questions, such as whether there is life after death, why bad things happen to good people and how to live the good life.  By the end of the series, I hope that I will have made a persuasive case for viewing the Torah as the greatest literary, philosophical and ethical work ever written.

In principle, my methodology could be used to transform any sacred or secular scripture.  But as one whose identity has been molded by his Orthodox Jewish origins, I prefer to devote my own efforts to the Torah and to the great works of the ancient Hebrews.  In the words of Moshe's Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:2), זה אלי ואנוהו, אלהי אבי וארוממנהו',’, ‘This is my God and I will glorify Him, the God of my father and I will raise Him up.’

 

 

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