Articles by Stan Tenen:
©1985, 2004 SNT / Meru Foundation
Meru Foundation research has discovered an extraordinary
geometric metaphor in the letter-sequence of the Hebrew text of
Genesis (B'reshit). This metaphor models embryonic growth and
self-organization, applies to all whole systems, and demonstrates
that the relationship between consciousness and physics - mind and
world - was understood and developed several thousand years ago, and
is preserved in our great spiritual traditions.
Material on this page ©1985-2004 Stan Tenen and as marked.
Reprinted with permission.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights
under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form
or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright
Stan Tenen (B.S. Physics, Brooklyn Polytech,
1963) is Director of Research for the Meru
Foundation (Sharon, MA). Mr. Tenen began an
investigation of B'reshis and the alef-bais after
visiting the Kotel in August 1967. He is a member
of the Editorial Review Board for Science and the
Primacy of Consciousness (Noetic Press, Orinda,
CA), and has been published in the Noetic Journal
Mr. Tenen presented for the Association of Orthodox
Jewish Scientists (Summer 1994),
and has been interviewed on radio and television;
his video lecture series is available from Meru
Foundation. His essays have appeared in the
NISHMA publication Introspections; Tattva Viveka
(Frankfurt), Gnosis (San Francisco); Zen and the
Art of Close Encounters; KQED-TV Focus (San
Francisco); and Popular Electronics.
designed optical and electronic equipment, and
holds several patents. He is currently working on
his first book: FIRST HAND: The Geometry of
Genesis and the Alphabet. Mr. Tenen and his wife
Levanah live in Sharon, MA, and may be contacted
via email at [email protected] and through Meru
Foundation's internet website at www.meru.org.
His interpretation of Kabbalistic materials is radically different from that of
most scholars dealing with the subject matter. For example, he has hard historical evidence that all of the modern "Tree of Life" configurations are mistaken and "flattened" from the original. Apparently, no one these days has noticed this, and apparently, just about everyone builds their theory on one or another of these Sephirotic Trees. Thus, obviously, what
he is presenting is different, and controversial. He is working from the earliest source-texts, and from the Talmudic sources of all of the Kabbalistic
texts, which are not currently being examined by any of the current academic or Jewish scholars
(to his knowledge). The actual oldest surviving drawings of the precursors to the Tree of Life and other associated patterns are preserved on the 16 carpet pages of the Leningrad Codex, the oldest surviving full Hebrew Bible, from Karaite
sources in Cairo ca. 1000 CE.
e-list posting, November 2000
by Stan Tenen
©2000 Stan Tenen. Reprinted with permission.
Once we use the word "irreconcilable" in ordinary usage, that brings our
verbal logic to an end. When something is literally irreconcilable, we
mean that there are not going to be any words, nor any word-smith skills that
can possibly solve the problem at hand.
Since most people, including most well-educated people like our scholars,
diplomats, businesspeople, and political leaders, think almost exclusively in
words - and, since, unfortunately, most word-based scholars believe that we can
think ONLY in words - once something is called irreconcilable, we naturally
assume that there is little more that anyone can do. As we will see, this is a
fundamentally flawed view, and it easily leads to much misunderstanding, and, of
course, to the abandonment of possible, non-verbal, means of reconciliation.
But it is hard to make this case. Most people do rely on words most of the
time. Trying to tell a highly educated, caring, and accomplished person that,
in spite of their best intentions and efforts, they are not qualified for the
job of solving and reconciling certain problems is not easy, not popular, and
generally not appreciated. Among accomplished people, it takes a near saint to
graciously accept the idea that they are not qualified for a job they have taken
on, and an extraordinarily secure and open mind to hear this sort of message -
particularly when it comes from outside of their field of expertise.
But, the fact is, we do not ONLY think in words, and word skills are not always
adequate for all situations. As recent published scholarly work has confirmed,
all cognition is based on movement, with words taking a secondary, later, back
seat. We know that musicians, dancers, craftspersons, mathematicians, and many
other professionals use languages and modes of thought that are non-verbal. They
would not do this if ordinary language were usable for their thinking, and able
to solve their problems. Why make it difficult for others to understand your
meaning by making up your own language, if ordinary verbal language would do?
So, we can assume that mathematicians, for example, do not use arcane symbols
just to be secretive, but because they must. They cannot reconcile (or even
properly discuss) many issues in mathematics with verbal language alone.
We can learn from this. Here is a simple example of how a mathematician might
reconcile the irreconcilable.
Examine a square and an equilateral triangle. They are entirely different. They
use different numbers of parts: 4-lines and 4-corner-points for the square and
3-lines and 3-corner-points for the triangle. Squares have 4-fold, "square,"
symmetry while triangles have 3-fold, "triangular," symmetry. When we limit
ourselves to a flat surface, because squares and triangles are flat
(2-dimensional), there really is no "non-violent" way to reconcile squares and
triangles. We cannot make a square and a triangle equal parts of one greater
whole without compromising essential features of one or the other. For a square
to become like a triangle it must lose one of its edges and points - and a
square cannot do this without losing its defining "squareness." Likewise, for a
triangle to reconcile itself with a square would require the triangle to lose a
vital part of its definition as a triangle. This sort of reconciliation is no
reconciliation at all.
In the verbal arena, we have a similar - irreconcilable - situation in Israel.
Israelis and Arabs seem to hold views which are vital to each of them that are
mutually irreconcilable. Our best statespersons, scholars, diplomats,
businesspersons, and politicians have tried and tried, and, apparently, they
have failed. Many caring persons have now thrown up their hands in frustration
and some have come to believe that because our masters-of-words have not been
able to find a way to solve these problems, there are no other possibilities and
the situation is permanently irreconcilable. Any suggestion that anyone or any
other sort of thinking could break the impasse is dismissed.
But this mode of thought and train of verbal logic is not correct.
In mathematics, despite our initial impression, there actually is a way to
reconcile a square and a triangle without either giving up anything. We simply
move up and out of the limited, flat, 2-dimensional realm where we initially
encountered our square and our triangle. When we enter the infinitely broader,
higher, space of 3-dimensions we immediately find that we can easily reconcile
squares and triangles. We can construct a 3-dimensional form that
mathematicians call a cube-octahedron from a selection of perfect squares and
triangles. A cube-octahedron looks like a cube whose eight corners have been
cut off evenly. The result is a 3-dimensional form made up of 6-perfect square
faces and 8-perfect triangle faces. Not only does the cube-octahedron reconcile
squares and triangles without taking anything away or adding anything to either,
but it also provides some startling, "newly emergent" qualities - possibilities
- that neither squares or triangles can offer on their own. A cube-octahedron,
unlike a square or a triangle, is a dynamic form. It can move in ways that no
square or triangle or accumulation of squares and triangles (in 2-dimensions)
can ever duplicate. A cube-octahedron can (in the words of architect
Buckminster Fuller) "jitter-bug." Even though it consists of nothing but rigid
(and sterile) squares and triangles, a cube-octahedron can also be compressed
until it looks just like an icosahedron. An icosahedron is radically different
from either a square or a triangle. Squares are 4-fold symmetric; triangles are
3-fold symmetric, but an icosahedron adds a new, primary, quality that is never
suspected in a square or a triangle. An icosahedron has 5-fold symmetry!
But, there is more. A cube-octahedron can be further compressed until it looks
like an octahedron. An octahedron has only (8-) triangular faces. It is related
to both the square and the triangle, but it is also distinct from them (and from
their 3-dimensional analogs, the cube and the tetrahedron. A tetrahedron is a
pyramid where all three of the faces and the base are perfect triangles.)
Before we go further, let me assure the reader that this is all kosher. The
cube-octahedron may demonstrate the fundamental geometry of The Thirteen-Petaled
Rose, mentioned in the introduction to the Sefer Zohar. It also can
tell us - perhaps for the first time since Rabbi Akiva - how and why nine of our
Hebrew letters (including finals) have those unusual tagin and keterim (tags and
crowns) on top. (For a possible geometry that determines which letters get
crowns and for an explanation of the shapes of the crowns themselves, see the
graphic poster at:
Once we realize the extraordinary and heretofore untapped potential of formal,
non-verbal, languages for communicating where verbal communication is not
adequate and for providing possibilities for reconciling matters that are
verbally irreconcilable, we can look to these modes for solutions to the current
political, social, cultural, and religious impasse in the middle east.
As outlined above, one common mathematical-geometric means of reconciling
entities that are radically different is to move our perspective to a higher
"plane" (dimension) where there is much more (actually, infinitely more) "room"
to move and arrange things. This is consistent with common sense. When there is
not enough room for a new addition to the family, we add more room.
Mathematically - and I am suggesting also politically - the same process should
But, how can we add more room to Israel or to Jerusalem? Isn't our problem
based on there not being enough physical room (Eretz Israel) for both parties to
use, and live in and on, without forcing painful changes on one, the other, or
both? Where can we find more room in the space available and how do we gain the
higher dimensional perspective that shows us how to use it?
From the verbal-diplomatic perspective there is nothing we can do. There is
simply not enough space for both peoples. Once we accept this, we have no
choice but to wait for God to come to us with a solution. We can only - more or
less passively - wait for Moshiach. When Moshiach comes "down" to us, He will
solve our problems, defeat our adversaries and rebuild the Temple. This may be
so.....but it may also be a long time to wait - while our friends and neighbors
would like to see something positive for themselves and their children right
But we do not have to wait. We do not have to wait for HaShem to send Moshiach.
In my opinion, we do not have to wait for HaShem to come to us, for us to gain a
small, but vital, measure of the HaShem's "higher" perspective. From this higher
spiritual (and psychological, emotional, theological, hyper-physical)
perspective, we could, if we looked and if we practiced, gain a higher
dimensional view for ourselves (and, ultimately for our allies and adversaries)
right here, right now. We have always known that HaShem would meet us halfway.
We do not need to wait for HaShem to come to us because we can move towards
HaShem, we can gain an empowering overview, and we can allow for the possibility
that HaShem/Moshiach could meet us exactly at the right moment, when we have
made ourselves ready by our own efforts.
And, of course, we know how to gain a perspective closer to that of HaShem. We
work on ourselves to be better people, we pray, and we study. But, we already
do all of this. What can we do better than we are already doing? We can
improve ourselves in ways we have not worked on yet, sacrificing a bit of our
ego's unhelpful demands with a measure of added humility. We can pray with more
attention and focus, and we can determine to live by the words we pray. We can
expand our studies of Torah by looking more closely at the most challenging
depths of Torah - the Sod level. The Sod (Sood, Yesod - Foundation) level of
Torah informs the backbone of halacha and mitzvot. It also holds the mysteries
that our Kabbalah implores us to explore. Sod and Kabbalah are not easy to
understand, and there are risks involved if we approach them immaturely, rashly,
or with unrealistic expectations. Nevertheless, these depths of Torah can
provide a means by which we can earn a higher perspective. However, they do not
provide a "free lunch" and they do not offer easy, quick, or simple solutions.
Even with the proper Torah-knowledge, we still must do the work for ourselves.
Because they must address issues that are ineffable - which means that these
issues cannot be described in words nor appreciated with words alone - the Sod
level of Torah and our Kabbalah make use of forms of language that extend well
beyond the limitations of ordinary verbal discussion. Torah is even deeper and
more empowering than the mysteries of the Greek Academy, of course. The Greek
Academy insisted that "Only those who know geometry can enter here." The same
is true for Torah - only with Torah there is even more depth and a more profound
understanding for us to master.
The language of Kabbalah requires knowledge of geometry. It has to. The words
and word translations of our Torah and Kabbalah are necessary, and of
extraordinary value in themselves, but they are not sufficient for the greatest
depths of understanding that we need for us to be able to reach a higher
geometric perspective, closer to that of HaShem, where there really is
sufficient room to reconcile what otherwise appears to be irreconcilable.
While geometry is required, it is not modern "rocket science." The geometry we
need is based on the hands-on trades that were available in the ancient world.
We need to know about weaving (talitot), braiding (making challah) and knotting
(tzitzit); simple carpentry, calendar-making, farming, and building our Sukkah.
These are all common skills that we know were known at the time of Moshe, for
example, and that we can easily master.
Our first lesson, of course, is that there is One Infinite Omnipotent God and
that in some way beyond our simple human sense of it, the One God is a jealous
God. It would be foolish (and arrogant) for me to attempt to write new midrash
on the matter of the Oneness of God and what that implies from a theological or
Talmudic perspective. Our sages have done this and continue to do this.
But, geometrically, there are some possibilities that may have eluded our
current sages. (Or more likely, that have eluded the attention of our modern
sages' verbal understanding of what our sages - who had "hands on" experience
and who were not limited to word-smith knowledge alone - have taught in the
For example, there are social, psychological, and political implications that
can be inferred from the geometry of an utterly singular omnipotent God. If God
were only fairly "big," than all of life would not have equal status. For
example, if God were only 100 feet tall, then 8-footers would be closer to God
than 6-footers. (Here, I am using physical stature measured in feet as an
analogy for all of our desirable measurable qualities.) Because God is infinite,
we are all infinitesimal by comparison. That makes the stature of all people
equal no matter who they are or what they do or accomplish. If God were not
infinite, then some of us would be better than others and we would not, in any
sense, be all equally precious.
Once we accept that God is infinite we cannot deny that our adversaries are as
precious to God as we are - without renouncing our belief in God. No matter how
heinous the actions of our adversaries are, or appear to be, once we accept that
God is infinite, we must retain respect for our adversaries. When we do this,
we rise a bit spiritually and we gain a perspective closer to that of God. While
this may be personally difficult while we are under siege, this higher
perspective is, after all, what we need if we are going to be able to reconcile
the irreconcilable. When the immediate emergencies pass, we can use our
"higher" perspective to see solutions that cannot be seen from the ground.
And what of God's jealousy? Clearly God is not afraid of, nor threatened by,
any puny demigod that might be set up. "Jealousy" for God must mean something
higher than our petty human experiences of jealousy. We are taught that we are
to have Yirat HaShem. We are to be in awe of and fearful of God and ONLY of
God. Why? Because when we fear anyone or anything other than the One God, we
have, in effect set up an idol that we respect as much as God - and that is the
equivalent of denying God's unique Oneness.
So, no matter how frightening our adversaries may appear and no matter how
terrible the situation seems and no matter how painful our loses, we simply
cannot afford to fear our adversaries - nor to act on that fear - without
denying the Infinite, Exclusive, Oneness of God. Of course this is difficult.
But, if we succumb to fear of our adversaries or the results of their actions,
we have denied God. When we deny God, we can expect God to (temporarily) deny
us in turn.
Geometry teaches us that the verbally irreconcilable can be reconciled when we
approach a geometric problem from a higher dimensional perspective, and God's
Torah gives us the opportunity to do the same thing in the real world.
If there is interest in this approach, I will try to provide additional
theoretical and real world examples and suggestions of how a Sod-Kabbalah
geometric approach can offer perspectives where there really is enough room for
all parties to live in peace in Jerusalem without the need to compromise or
bargain away anything vital to ourselves or our adversaries.
For now, I am merely trying to point out that the irreconcilable is definitely
not irreconcilable from HaShem's perspective - and that the Torah-means for
finding peace in the city-of-peace is available to us right now.
A few notes on Kabbalah:
There are many aspects to Kabbalah. Most public attention has focused either on
relatively trivial aspects or on "Jewish meditation." The trivial aspects, such
as gematria, numerology, palmistry, astrology and the like are the most popular
and the most widely known. But they are also the least important, and the most
discrediting to the modern critical scholarly and scientific mind. Whatever
their virtues, they do not represent the deepest, most useful and most
empowering levels of Kabbalah.
Jewish meditation is as good as the Torah-quality of those exploring this path.
In the hands of serious, caring persons with a desire to learn more about
themselves and about Torah and HaShem, this can be a very positive and effective
path for personal and spiritual growth. But there is a limitation. Meditation
is naturally inward directed. It helps the meditator directly, but it does not
address worldly concerns directly. When the meditator gains maturity,
self-confidence, and a solid experiential spiritual center, they then can be
more effective in the world. But this is a secondary blessing, and it is a
general situation that does not offer explicit pragmatic advice. In other
words, meditational Kabbalah practiced responsibly can be a very positive
pursuit , but it is not all of Kabbalah and, by itself, it does not offer
explicit real-world, problem solving insight.
The Kabbalah that empowers us in the real world is not only inner-directed
(and/or God-directed, internally) but also outer-directed. The so-called
philosophical or theoretical Kabbalah can be extraordinarily practical in the
real world. This knowledge is carried not only in the personal meditational
experiences of dedicated individuals, but also in the geometric precision of the
"science of consciousness" that is really at the heart of Torah, Talmud, and
The geometric aspect of Kabbalah has not been adequately explored _in our time_
and consequently it has not empowered us as it could. But, just as geometry and
mathematics have empowered the physical sciences, they also empower our Kabbalah
and ourselves in turn. Geometry is not (usually, for most people) a spiritual
experience in itself, but it can provide a precise map for spiritual
experience. We know there is a holy mountain to climb. This is the task of the
meditator. But we also know that even when we are well-trained, even when we
have worthy companions, even when we have the sage advice of those who have gone
before us, we still have a vital need for a precise map that shows where we are,
were we are going and how to get there. This map is in Torah, and it is
explicated by Kabbalah. We can continue to try to climb our holy mountains
without a good map, and we can achieve real spiritual heights by doing this.
But without a good map, few can reach the highest levels, and then only by
virtue of personal merit - which is not generally enough to take others without
such merit along.
When we wish to make something objectively real so that others can see it,
appreciate it, and use it, we need the precision of a good and true map. When
we have such a map, we can go forward with greater confidence and we can show
each other how to go further yet.
Thus, in my opinion, it is time for us to study the Sod level of Torah and
Kabbalah with new eyes, now, in our time, for the benefit of all. This can be
part of our personal tikkun (repair) and it can be a means by which we can speed
along tikkun olam (repair of the world.) Logically speaking, if we are not able
to see how this could be so, it may be because we have not looked closely enough
at the parts of Torah that hold the knowledge we need. Certainly Torah does
provide us with guidance in dealing with the current situation. It is our job to
2 November 2000
© 2000 Stan Tenen / MERU Foundation
This essay was written in response to to the
renewal of the Intifada in Israel in 2000-2001, and an increase in the
feelings of frustration and hopelessness among Israelis and Palestinians.
AN ORGANIC MODEL OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION:
THE TREE OF ABRAHAM
Poster ©2002 Stan Tenen
The "Tree of Abraham, an Organic Model of Western Civilization," is an attempt
to illustrate the intrinsic cyclic relationship among the three Abrahamic
covenants. They overlap in time, and they are sequential in time. They overlap
in space, and they are sequential in space.
There is an historical flow from the perennial tradition to Abraham, and then to
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. So, we can make a model that shows the
perennial pre-history, surrounded by Judaism, surrounded by Christianity,
surrounded by Islam, and now again, surrounded in the world by the perennial
history we are making today. When we look back in time through Islam, we see
Christianity, and when we look back in time through Christianity, we see
Judaism, and before that, perennial and unbounded history. This is the flow of
civilization and time, moving from a metaphoric Jewish seed, through a
metaphoric Christian tree, to a metaphoric Islamic fruit.
We also have all three traditions as three phases of life, together at the same
time in our time. The conceptual phase is identified with Judaism, the
gestational phase with Christianity, and the letting-go (birthing) phase with
Islam. Of course, each of these phases of faith must include the other two,
because this is all happening all at once, right now, just as it is also
happening eternally, cyclically, and throughout history.
Life grows both ways. Life grows sequentially in time, and it grows spread out
in different organs within an organism at any given time.
(An earlier poster introducing this model can be found at
Additional material on this theme can be found in our section on
to enlarge this picture:
Informal Essay by Stan Tenen: Three
Pillars of Love
21 May 2001
©2001 Stan Tenen
A science of consciousness must include a clear understanding of love. Some
suggest that "all you need is love," and that this must be "unconditional love".
Of course love, especially as lovingkindness and compassion, is universally
recognized as a vital part of what all mature healthy humans have in common.
But this is not the only quality necessary for healing, or to restore the Whole.
In The Three Abrahamic
Covenants and the Car-Passing Trick, and
The Foundations of Jewish Survival,
I try to make it clear that each of the three phases of the Abrahamic traditions
necessarily includes the highest qualities of the other two, while at the same
time, each is the primary representative of only one. So, I associate the
conceptual stage with Judaism, and I identify it embryologically with the seed,
and functionally with reason and law (Torah), the priestly tradition, and
integrity. The Christian tradition is associated primarily with passion,
compassion, "good works," and what the Eastern traditions call "Dharma".
Embryologically, it is identified with the tree that manifests the seed's
life-force in the world (the tree as the cross is the symbol of Christianity).
Moslems must submit to Allah, and let go of their ego and worldly attachments.
This is the function of the fruit, which must let go of the tree to provide the
fertile ground for the next cycle of life. The Moslem covenant specializes in
community and hospitality.
Put simply, Judaism is known for its Torah of integrity, Christianity is
known for its Gospel of love, and Islam is known for its Quran of submission.
Of course, all three phases also include the other two. Jewish tradition is
clear that not only are the law, reason, and integrity essential, but so too are
lovingkindness and compassion for all life, as well as yirat Hashem --
awe, and submission to God's Will.
Christianity is clear that not only are Christians expected to be loving and
compassionate, but they are also supposed to honor the law (it is said that
Jesus came to fulfill the law), and they can be reborn in their faith by
entrusting their lives fully to their lord.
Islam is clear that not only are Moslems expected to submit to Allah, but
they are also expected to exemplify hospitality, community, and compassion, and
they are also supposed to think and act with honor and integrity.
ABRAHAMIC COVENANTS – THREE PILLARS OF LOVE
T R U T H
F U L N E S S / L O V I N G K I N D N E S S / H U M I L I T Y
All three pillars are essential
in each of the three Abrahamic Covenants
STAR & CRESCENT
These days, it is politically correct to suppose that all that a person must
do to make the world better is to act with unconditional love, and submit to the
Will of God. The problem with this mode is that it is often advocated as
enabling a reconciliation among all three of the faiths that derive from
Abraham, when in fact it only represents two, and thus excludes one.
"Unconditional love" is, as the logicians say, a self-contradiction. For
here we find the adjective "unconditional" as the condition required for
this sort of love. "Unconditional love" is not the higher love referred to in
all of our traditions, but rather a self-defined perspective that politely
overlooks, and then excludes, reason and integrity. Its invocation is naturally
(and often unconsciously) anti-Jewish, because it implies that reason and
integrity, the basis of the law, are not necessary, and because historically, it
implies that the Holocaust was the fault of Jews and others for not acting with
unconditional love towards nazis. "Unconditional love" is the limited
condition of love that mistakenly forgives the crime while the crime is
ongoing. Thus it is the opposite of love, because it unconditionally encourages
continued unloving behavior.
The higher love, the love advocated in all three of the Abrahamic phases, the
love that can be a unifying force, includes not only unlimited compassion and
submission, but it also includes reason, integrity, and context. Neither the
tradition of Moses, nor the tradition of Jesus, nor the tradition of Mohammed,
ever endorsed unconditional love for an adversary while they were engaged in
attack. All require a higher standard of love that takes into account not only
compassion for both the victim and the victimizer, not only submission to Allah
and/or yirat ("awe of") Hashem, and/or giving one's life over to
Jesus, but also consideration for the future, for both the victim and the
victimizer, and for the rest of society.
Compassion and submission without integrity can easily lead to unintended
perversion or unbridled lust. Integrity without compassion and without
submission to God's Will can easily lead to cruelty. Thus, each of the
specialties of each of the organs in the Abrahamic body politic must be fully
engaged by all three.
While "unconditional love" is not unconditional, love as a condition
can be. After all, one of God's Names is Emet -- Truth. Thus, love of truth is
a true form of love.
In all faiths, a saint or tzaddik is known by their lovingkindness.
In the Talmud, a tzaddik is said to have the quality of integrity,
exemplified by the phrase toku k'varo ("their insides are like their
outsides"). The love of the tzaddik is the identity of Beauty and Truth.
The Light in the Meeting Tent:
JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY, AND ISLAM IN JERUSALEM
Poster ©2001 Stan Tenen
This poster, and its companion poster,
The Tree of Abraham,
present a visual geometric model for viewing the relationships among main
cultural "players" in the Middle East. The three Abrahamic faiths are organs of
a single, unified living system.
See also an earlier essay by Stan Tenen,
The Three Pillars of Love.
Click here to enlarge
These posters complement both
Pillars of Love and Meru's
Architectural Proposal for the New York World Trade Center.
For additional material on this topic, see also
Peace with Geometry.
First Hand™: A Model of Continuous Creation
Click here to
enlarge this picture:
by Stan Tenen
©1997, 2004 Stan Tenen
Question: What is The PURPOSE of PRAYER?
Answer by Stan Tenen:
The model proposed by Stan Tenen responds to difficult questions that sets it apart from other
work, and offers a new contribution to understanding.
We welcome your questions. Stan Tenen will be answering them as they come.
Please visit this section for frequent updates.
There are several different forms or modes of prayer.
Basically, HaShem, by withdrawing and producing a "vacant space" (via "tzimtzum"),
gives us a portion of His Will. This is the source of our "free will."
When our ability to find a place in the world, by means of our portion
of His Will, is insufficient, it is appropriate for us to return our will
to His. This is prayer.
All prayers involve some level of sacrifice. The most obvious is the
sacrifice of our free will to HaShem's Will in prayer. Prayer is not our
getting our way based on our will. Prayer is our asking HaShem to take
back a bit of our will and use it Himself, better than we could.
The daily prayers we all say require our time and attention. They are
expensive in a busy world. With or without kavanah, this is a sacrifice.
When we make it freely, it is accepted.
In fact, no matter at what level of intensity (kavanah), when we freely
bend our will to HaShem, our prayers are always answered. Of course, when
we are in a state of confusion, as is often the case when we are moved to
pray most intensely, we may not be able to see the answer – or we might
not be ready to understand how the "answer" is what we were praying for –
or the response might be delayed until the timing of related events (we
may also have prayed for) is appropriate.
Simple prayer comes from the heart. But, there is also intellectual
prayer. In simple prayer we open our feelings to HaShem – no thinking is
required. A child's spontaneous cry can be a fervent prayer, and as such,
it can open the gates of heaven because of its purity and integrity of
Most adults cannot easily express their truest and deepest feelings
spontaneously, like a child. For adults, intellectual prayer can be more
What in the intellect can correspond to the emotional prayer of an
innocent and whole heart? Sacrifice.
For a peasant whose experiences are pragmatic and earthy, sacrifice,
might mean giving up a valued physical possession. This is done from the
heart, but also from the intellect. The peasant knows what they are doing.
For a more complex person, sacrifice is more subtle. Here the sacrifice
is not (only) from one's property (that would be too cheap for an
accomplished person), but rather from what is most valuable to an
accomplished person, their ego (or more precisely, the illusions of their
We all have limitations, weaknesses and deficiencies. We develop skills
to survive difficult childhoods and a difficult adult world. Our choices
and "skills" form our personality. Some of these "skills" are not
desirable. They lead to increased ego and self-centeredness rather than to
increased humility and empathy. When there is something so important to us
that we are moved to ask HaShem to help us attain it, we can offer to make
the job "easier" for HaShem (This is a metaphor, HaShem doesn't need it to
be easier, only we do.) by readying ourselves to be aware of, to receive,
to accept, and to make best use of HaShem's answer. We can do this by
letting go of, giving up on, "sacrificing" some part of our ego or our
willfulness or our expectations that are not helping us to see and feel
our humanity and our place vis a vis HaShem. (For example, we can
sacrifice our ignorance by working to learn more.)
When we want to change the world so badly that we cry out to HaShem,
our cry may consist of our changing ourselves by releasing some previously
highly-valued part of our ego or willfulness that we have previously been
dependent on, that now stands in the way.
The new-agers call it "the manifesting principle" and sometimes that
lets them forget that it is HaShem and not themselves that does the
manifesting. But, the principle is simple:
Know what you want.
Clearly and precisely understand what you want by doing the
intellectual work needed to really know what you want and how much it
costs (or how impossible it is.)
Sacrifice your(ego)self to the task.
Put your heart and soul into your endeavor. Do real work in the
physical world towards your goal. Care deeply about the work you are
doing. Work (and pray) well beyond your normal point of giving up. Do the
work and show your caring anyway, even if it seems that HaShem is not
Return your personal will to HaShem. Give up, be infinitely
patient, and pay attention.
The manifesting principle only works when a person has made a real
sacrifice and has continued to work even while they have let go of their
expectations of the outcome they desire. When a person short-circuits the
full process, nothing happens. When there has been no sacrifice, there is
nothing for HaShem to respond to.
Q: Who Wrote The Bible?
A: Click here for the
answer by Stan Tenen
More questions and answers coming soon!
Parenthetical translations of Hebrew terminology
©2004 Stan Tenen
Ahavat Elokim - Love of God (see also Yirat Hashem)
Alef-bais (alef-bet) - Hebrew alphabet, in particular
the rabbinic Torah-scroll alphabet (not Canaanite)
AOJS - Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists
B'reshis (B'reshit, Bereshit) - The Hebrew text of
Genesis (in the original Hebrew)
Challah - Bread for Sabbath, usually made by braiding
strands of dough.
Elokim - "God" (written instead of Elo-him)
Emet - Truth
Eretz Israel - The "Land of Israel"
Halacha - "The Way." Body of Jewish law, the code of
living for religious Jews.
HaShem - "The Name" -- YH-VH, the Lord
Kavannah - "Intention" (to connect/be aware of God).
Devotion; the state of mind appropriate to prayer, or other action that is
part of one's religious practice.
Kotel - Western Wall of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem,
one of Judaism's holiest sites
Mitzvot - "Commandments". Traditionally, there are 613
commandments from God stated in the Hebrew Bible, which are the basis for
Moshe - Moses
Moshiach - "Messiah"
Rabbi Akiva - Great Jewish sage, living in the first
century C.E. He was said to be the "Master of the Letters." Associated
with the "Pardes" (paradise) ego-death and rebirth meditation.
Sefer Zohar - The Zohar, the "Book of Splendor", one
of the best-known works of Kabbalah, believed by scholars to be fantasy
Sukkah - "Booth". A temporary outdoor "dwelling" used
during Sukkot (Sukkos), the "Festival of Booths," celebrated in autumn.
Tagin, Triple-Tagin; Keterim - "Crowns" -- decorations
on top of certain Hebrew letters as they are written on a Torah scroll
Talitot - Plural of Tallit (tallis) -- the rectangular
"prayer shawl" worn during daily prayer.
Talmud - "Oral Torah" written down. Originally a
purely oral tradition, these teachings were collected and organized during
200 BCE - 500 CE, and written down during the last part of this period.
Tikkun Olam - "Repair of the World"
Toku K'varo - "Insides like Outsides," a term used in
the Talmud to refer to a person of integrity. Moral, ethical, and
intellectual transparency; without ego.
Torah - The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Tzaddik - "Righteous One," saint
Tzimtzum - In Kabbalah, the initial "contraction" of
God from Himself into Himself, leaving a "vacated space" in which the
world/universe can form.
Tzitzit - "Fringes", specially knotted strings of
woolen thread attached to each of the four corners of the rectangular
prayer shawl (tallit, tallis, q.v.).
Yirat Hashem - Fear/Awe of the Lord (see also Ahavat
Meru Foundation Links
Other Related Links
Contact Meru Foundation
Material on this page ©1985-2004 Stan Tenen and as marked,
to Meru Foundation, POB 503, Sharon, MA 02067 USA.
Email inquiries to the Research Staff at:
To order Meru Foundation materials, go to
For Customer Service, call 1-888-422-MERU
or email to
All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with Permission