Torah Source for Pi
I am a scientist and enjoy studying the Torah lessons found on Aish.com. But from a professional standpoint, I feel that scientific information is more accurate and reliable. Is that a valid perspective?
The Aish Rabbi Replies
Yes and no. On one hand, when it comes to things like medicine, we have to rely on modern science. Yet on the other hand, we have seen time and again where science evolves its theories, and something that was once considered crazy - like the Big bang - becomes accepted as fact.
The Torah is absolute and immutable, and there are many examples of how the Torah reflects a deeper scientific wisdom. Here's one:
The verse says: "[King Solomon] made a molten sea of 10 cubits from rim to rim, with a round circumference, five cubits in height, and a 30-cubit line of circumference." (1-Kings 7:23, 2-Chronicles 4:2)
The verse describes King Solomon's pool as a circular structure with a circumference of 30 cubits and a diameter of 10 cubits. Thus: 30 divided by 10 equals 3. This value is considered a very primitive approximation of Pi.
Historians have generally attributed the first close approximation of Pi to the Egyptians, in their construction of the Great Pyramid, as described by Abbe Moreux in his "La Science Mysterieuse des Pharaons" (Paris, 1923).
Now let's look at the writings of The Vilna Gaon (18th century Lithuania), who writes:
In each of the two Biblical verses describing King Solomon's pool, the word for "line" is written differently. What is the possible reason? If we take the gematria (numerical value) of the two spellings, we find something very significant.
The word "line" in 1-Kings 7:23 is spelled Kuf-Vav-Heh, which equals a numerical value of 111. The word "line" in 2-Chronicles 4:2 is spelled Kuf-Vav, a numerical value of 106.
If you calculate the ratio of these two values to four decimal places (1.0472), then multiply by 3 (the biblical value of Pi in its simple reading), the result is 3.1416 - the precise mathematic value of Pi, correct to four decimal places.
Many scientists acknowledge the deeper scientific truths of Torah. I recommend reading the writings of Dr. Gerald Schroeder, author of Genesis and the Big Bang, The Science of God, and The Hidden Face of God.