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The Torah Codes Paperback – March 29, 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

5-Stars! This book is a page-turner that I found very difficult to put down.[...]The author is donating a portion of the book sales to [S.F.] Bay Area Jewish Schools. A good book and helping a good cause is a winning combination!
--The Book Review

From the Back Cover

Award-winning author Ezra Barany unleashes his first novel, The Torah Codes, in which Nathan Yirmorshy finds himself entangled in a mystery of prophecy and danger...

What would you do if you discovered your name was encoded in the Bible?

It Doesn't Matter.

What you will do and how you will die has also been foretold.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Dafkah Books (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983296014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983296010
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By mackenzie jones on April 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did not expect to enjoy this book so much as it isn't my usual genre. I did read the Da Vinci Code so was curious about the comparison. I think Mr. Barany's book was far better written. The story held my attention, loved his unusual humor. In fact, I had to force myself to stop reading last night. Would definitely recommend. A real plus is that part of the purchase goes to Bay Area schools. Bravo!
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The surreal journey of The Torah Codes, Ezra Barany's overtly mystical homage to Dan Brown, takes us by a series of entertaining and idiosyncratic turns through the San Francisco Bay area to an out-of-the-way piece of real estate in Israel. I won't name that geographical feature here, but most readers from the Judeo-Christian tradition will recognize it upon arrival.

The journey, and the characters who accompany us on it, are more interesting than the destination, anyway. Superficially, the tale is suspense-driven, but as it is with Brown, so also with Barany: the visceral suspense is a framework from which the writer dangles a far more intriguing intellectual, even spiritual, carrot.

The real problem of the novel is never whether Nathan Yirmorshy will survive, but whether he will discover the existential truth of his own identity, as encoded in Chapter 36 of the Book of Genesis, and also whether the premise of the story will prove valid and, if so, what that means in practical terms to Yirmorshy and, by extension, to the rest of us. Is the Bible--that is to say, are the first five books of it--prophetically encoded?
Barany has collected a series of essays that grapple with the notion that such codes are literally embedded in the scriptures. These essays follow the story, shedding light into the space it opens in the reader's mind.

The implications that arise from such a question ought to (although they won't; we all know they won't) provoke far more widespread spiritual introspection and serious religious debate than the rather more tabloid-style speculations about whether Jesus of Nazareth lived to a ripe old age in the South of France, making babies with Mary Magdalene.

Let me put this quite baldly: the question before us is not a fictional one.
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`I needed to walk around someone, so I had to step on the dirt of one of the tree plots that lined the street. As I stepped on the soft dirt, my heart grew cold. I nearly threw up. A body had been cut up and recently buried underneath the dirt. A man with dark hair, a pin-striped suit, a golden wedding ring on his finger. I knew this. I knew this like I knew my own name. There was nothing to indicate such a thing. A million reasons could be given for why the dirt was soft. But I knew there as a body down there. And that I was next...'

`My eyes voted for the bed. Two hours later, it was 8:12 p.m. and I realized I hadn't let my bladder vote. I headed for the bathroom and turned on the light. My eyes complained. I turned off the light. I leaned against the mirror above the sink and reassured them that the light was off and that they could now open again. I opened my eyes expecting the typical picture: round face, brown hair, brown eyes, long neck, but all close up since my forehead was leaning on the mirror. But it wasn't myself I saw. I saw a room. A room filled with cameras. Photos were taped to the wall. I cupped my hands to the mirror and saw the room more clearly. All the cameras were pointed straight at me. But the room was dark and no one was there.'
Nathan is bi-polar and when he gets busy and forgets to take his meds he does have a tendency to imagine things. Could this be one of those times? The best thing for him to do is get out of his landlord's duplex and find a place where he is safe. But that's kind of hard when no matter where he goes he feels someone is following. Someone wants to harm him. Then he runs into Sophia as she gives tarot readings at a table set up outside a bookstore.
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This book has a compelling story line and was actually hard to put down. The essays at the end of the book were fantastic! Great job, Ezra!
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This was described to me as sort of a Jewish Da Vinci Code and, truth be told, that was enough to get me interested. Nathan discovers that his landlord is spying on him, his name (and several other things) are encoded in a certain book of the Torah, and several people are after him for some weird and vaguely religious reason. Okay, so maybe my synopsis isn't a good sell, but the fact is that I plowed through this book in record time. Nathan is likable and often very funny, and the action kept me turning the pages. Do I believe prophecy is encoded in the Torah? Doesn't matter. It was fun and crazy and I look forward to Barany's next thriller.
Confession time: I did not read the essays in the appendix. I hear they're quite good and well worth reading, but I was just in it for the story, not the religious speculation.
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I enjoyed reading this book, it's one that most Dan Brown fans will really enjoy.
The main character, Nathan, a bipolar programmer, is a fresh voice. He is witty without being annoying and many of his thoughts made me laugh out loud at the nuttiness that was is his thought process. The rest of the characters are not particularly memorable, but they do keep the plot moving forward without boring the reader.
The plot is similar in pacing to the DaVinci Code, trying its best to stay moving forward, but made a bit confusing by the quick exchange of information that the characters seem to understand as soon as it's uttered. It can be seem a bit unbelievable at times, but, unlike Brown's overbearing book, this one keeps the mood light.
I must nitpick on one issue, though. Sophia, the main female character, is a Tarot card reader, which although an interesting twist to add, I would have liked the real meanings of the cards to have been used, not strange ones that are never used. As a Tarot reader myself, it was hard to swallow the twisted meanings of cards that are just as important to a religion as the Torah is to the Jewish community. It is a bit picky, I know, but it is what struck me. This however, probably won't affect the majority of the audience, so it's definitely not something that should deter anyone from reading the book.
The essays that accompany the story are fascinating and definitely something to consider when purchasing the book.
This is a fun, quick-paced story that will not disappoint.
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