Chanukah candles in War and Peace
This article demonstrates an extraordinary convergence of words related to the Candles of Chanukah, hidden in the Hebrew translation of War and Peace. Using the methods established by Doron Witztum, we calculate a significance level of 1 in 4 million.
Mr Witztum is fond of the following analogy: "What I show are genuine $100 notes, but the skeptics have only produced counterfeit $100 notes". On the contrary, what has been clear for a long time is that Mr Witztum can't produce any genuine $100 notes or even a particularly good fake. The real dialogue runs like this:
Please enjoy the following 100% genuine fake $19 note.
As every Jewish child knows, the Chanukah candles are central to this Holiday of Lights, so choosing them as the central theme was a natural thing to do. On Chanukah, Jews are commanded to light one candle a day, though it is a custom to light more than one. Thus, we chose as our central words "Chanukah candle" in both its singular form and its plural form .
Note that is the correct spelling by Rule 3, as appears in the Tanach but does not.
We began our exploration of the candles of Chanukah by consulting the famous authority on Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch, on the subject of lighting the Chanukah candle. In article 675 of the section Orech Chaim, we found the statement (the lighting fulfils the commandment), and so selected the words and . (The verb is a common word with no particular relevance to our subject.)
Before a candle is lit, the (blessing) is said. We selected that word also.
The candles are lit in a special lamp called a Chanukiya, which recalls the Menorah (Temple lamp) involved in the famous Miracle of Chanukah. Thus, we included both Chanukiya and Menorah. According to the spelling rules, we were forced to include two spellings of Menorah, and , as both are used in the Torah. In the case of Chanukiya, the word does not appear in the Masoretic Text at all, so the spelling rules do not select any single spelling. Therefore, we took the two spellings which appear in the standard Even-Shoshan dictionary, and .
In summary, we have the following:
Central words: ,
Related words: , , , , , , .
First, we considered our central words. Neither was found as a sequential word, and did not appear as an ELS either. We were left with as our only central word, to be investigated as an ELS. The singular form is quite appropriate, as "candle" appears in the singular in the blessing.
Second, of the related words only and appear sequentially. Words shorter than five letters are excluded from being tested as ELSs by the rules of [WRR1-3]. Thus, we are left with testing and as sequential words, and , , and as ELSs.
The method of calculation according to [WRR3] is to compute the P2 score from all the word pairs. This gives a single overall closeness score. Then the similar score is computed when the letters of each of the related words are permuted at random. For example, the related word can be permuted to , , and so on. However, since both positive and negative skips are used, and are regarded as the same. See [WRR3] for more details.
The result: 1 in 4 million
We conclude that this convergence does not appear in War and Peace by chance.
By way of comparison, exactly the same experiment performed in the Book of Genesis produces a result even worse than average: 964 in 1000.
The theme of hidden supernatural codes is supported by the nearby appearance of the unique minimal ELS of (hidden code) just above the phrase (supernatural) in the plain text.
The name of the famous family central to the Chanukah story is also there in minimal skip, using the form (Hashmani) that appears in the well-known song that is sung on all eight days of Chanukah while the candles are burning, and a macabre reference to their victory over the Greek army appears in the expression (Greek blood).
In the text with skip 1 or -1, we also found (oil) and (miracle on the 25th). We also found the expression (in those days), which is part of the second blessing said on Chanukah.
Finally, the phrase (as the consequence of trust) in the surface text reflects the victory of this small group of people over their powerful enemy, which could not have been achieved without trusting in God.
The description of the method in [WRR3] has a missing detail. Since words are sought as ELSs with both positive and negative skip, a word and its reverse are basically the same. However, the distance measure is not precisely symmetric, and sometimes gives a different result for a word and its reverse. The rules in [WRR3] do not specify which to use in the case of words with their letters permuted. We have adopted the following rule consistently: if the unpermuted word comes before its reverse in Hebrew dictionary order, we use only permutations of it that come before their reverses. If the unpermuted word comes after its reverse, we use only permutations of it that come after their reverses.
The choice of rule matters quite a lot. Our first, less systematic, calculation produced a result of 1 in 14 million. It would be no problem at all to devise an alternative definition that appears just as objective as the one above but produces 1 in 14 million as the "correct" answer.
Another unsatisfactory aspect of [WRR3] is its practice of removing words that do not appear. For example, we removed the word because we were following [WRR3]. However, some permuted versions of it do appear. Removing the word entirely because of the nonappearance of its unpermuted version artifically separates the permuted from the unpermuted and violates the tenet that they should have equal footing. In other words, there is a mathematical error in [WRR3].
Correcting this error by not removing improves the result from 1 in 4 million to 1 in 6 million.
Back to the Torah Codes
Back to the Mathematical Miracles page