Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Speedy Way to Explore Torah

How often do you want to know, on a moment's notice, where a word, or verb, first appears in Torah? Or, is there such a name found in Torah at all? Or how many times does a phrase or word exist in all of Torah or Tanach?

Sure you can do a search and find your answer on the internet, but that’s still a rather burdensome task. That is, at best, you can still find that word, phrase or verb after a few minutes of surfing and clicking.

There are plenty of sites with such facilities to navigate through, but you’ll still spend way too long – so you’d never even try to satisfy your momentary curiosity because the delay isn’t worth it. Even a few minutes when your doing something else, like cooking or eating, can be too troublesome so you let your spontaneous curiosity waste away.

But that’s because you don’t know of the Toraware app that gives you rather immediately in the palm of your hand the answer to your sudden urge to know or explore or validate.

In two clicks, the first to open the app from its Home Icon, and the second to click on “Find a Word” or on “Find a Phrase”, and you’re ready to type in the letters formed in your mind, and a 3rd click then brings you immediate visual results. Three clicks is all it takes in most cases.

With the use of only two buttons, and typing the word you're thinking of, in a matter of seconds, you get immediate results. Each click on the “GO” button can scan through all of Tanach in a second, or two seconds, and display the list of results.

By default, that’s the way it works. But each search method (and there are 10) also sports a different set of options, so you can, if you want, come up with unique ways to find what you’re looking for.

For instance: Suppose you want to know the number of times Moshe is mentioned in Torah.

(As a side note, names are easy to catch in Hebrew text in that they always are either mentioned by themselves, with no extra attached letters, or the attached letters always are placed in front of the name. That makes it easy to program a search that focuses on the suffixes of words.)

So you use the method “Find a Word” (1st click). On the next page, the Options Page, the best option to choose would be: “ENDS with my letters” (2nd click). Now type in the 3 letters משה, and hit the “Go” button (3rd click). Every single word in Torah (the default search range is already set from בראשית to זאת הברכה) that has as its last 3 letters the letters you typed in (“משה”) immediately appears in a list before you (the Results Page). The number of such “hits” is 721.

Now, not all these hits are good hits. For example, many in the list include the irrelevant word “חמשה”, because this word too ends in those 3 letters. So you have to be clever with use of this tool, to devise a way to narrow in on your answer.

So let’s now search how many times the letters “ חמשה” are found.  Then we can subtract this number from 721. So you hit the “Back” button; The options you selected previously remain as is, so all you do now is type in the word “חמשה” and press “Go”. You get 72 hits. So now we know that from the 721 results we have 72 to take away, leaving now 649 alleged times Moshe is mentioned. You’re left with all significant hits, such as:
etc., all of which are mentions of משה.

Besides being clever, however, you also have to be lucky, lucky to have learned Torah. I learned this the hard way, unaware of two such mentions in Torah, by once publishing a faulty blog post; I had missed these two words. But I now know of the two times these same 3 letters have a different meaning, so the real answer is 647. There are two false positives among the results list, which whittles it down from 721 to 649, and then to 647. In Shmot 12:4 it means “less than one calf”, and in Devarim 15: 2 it means “creditor”. Of course these two words are pronounced differently in Torah but the Toraware tool doesn't inspect pronunciations.

This search can be further explored, if the range is set to all of Tanach (just extend the Range on the opening Home Page, which defaults to the Torah limits). Now the 3-letter search yields 920 hits. Let’s subtract how many times the insignificant ending “חמשה” is found, That’s 150. Thus we get 920 – 150 = 770. Don’t forget two of these we know are false positives, so our final total becomes 768! Let’s not forget that in Tanach there may be other words besides חמשה that might throw us off, but personally I doubt it.

P.S. I wrote about this previously, over here, although back then the Toraware tool hadn’t been as useful as it has become presently, in its 54th version.

P.S. Ever wonder how many times Jerusalem is expressly mentioned in Torah, or in Tanach? I discuss that here.

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