Blog tour – The Torah Codes with Ezra Barany

Please welcome my guest, Ezra Barany. Greetings, Ezra and welcome to In Shadows.

First of all, I want to thank Brynna for having me. I started out in my younger years writing short horror stories, but at the same time, I also wrote mushy love songs. In high school, I was jolted by love at first sight and my reaction was to cry out laughing, “Oh, no! Oh, no!” I knew that my heart was going to be stuck on her and my thoughts would be a constant source of distraction.

The weird thing was, I didn’t know why I was attracted to her. She wasn’t exactly model material. Sophomore year I wrote my first song about her. Inspired by Shakespeare’s “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” sonnet, the chorus of my song was this:

She may not spend her time putting on some silly façade.
She isn’t one who flashes her teeth like a television god.
She may not have those plastic eyes shown in every magazine.
But she’s the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.

She knew I wanted her. Probably all those times I stared at her or ran away from her feeling the ‘fight or flight’ reaction gave me away. But junior year, when she found out I made an album and many of the songs were about her, I found a note in my box from her saying, “Could I have a cassette? I’m too busy to hear your songs live! Ciao!”

I gave her a cassette with the lyrics, told her how I encoded her name in the music, and ran off believing this was gonna change things between us! Meanwhile I had a few haunting stories published in the high school arts magazine. And she seemed to appear at school less and less. Was she sick? Did she have major surgery?
She didn’t attend my high school senior year. She was gone. I knew I’d get over her and fall for someone else.

That didn’t happen.

I found myself still writing songs of longing for her, and my fiction grew bloodier and more psychologically disturbing. I completed a second album, Silent Lover, (“Through our eyes we spoke, Through our eyes we kissed, My silent lover”) with many songs still about my muse.

During college, my Dutch friend who attended UC Santa Cruz told me that he ran into her. I instructed him to make a copy of my second album with the lyrics and give it to her. He did so and when he reported back to me, he said “She was really happy! She said she had wanted that album ever since she heard about it.”

The news delighted me, but she was still absent from my life. My songs and fiction slowly began to blur. The songs became more painful and the fiction became sexually violent.

Years later, I realized my love for her wasn’t healthy. It was an obsession that needed to end. I learned of her address and wrote her a letter requesting that we meet and catch up, because I had the feeling that the better I got to know who she really was, the more likely her mystery would dissipate as would my crush for her. She wrote back saying she was unable to meet with me, but she understood my desire to end this crush. “I only ask that you keep writing songs about me.”

A few months later, I wrote my next song about her, and what would be my last song about her, “Can’t Say It’s Only Love.”

I was still without her. My passion for life dwindled and a suicidal depression came over me. I went to a psychologist and in one session came to the realization that I didn’t want to end my life, but I wanted to end the way I lived my life.

A coworker inspired me to apply for the Peace Corps. I also joined a writers group. And at the writers group, like manna from heaven, I found a woman who is now my beautiful bride. Beth picked the locks and removed the chains around my heart. She saved me. Is it any wonder that I proposed to Beth with this song, “Sacred Seas”?

My songs now express my joy and wonder for all the love Beth gives me. My fiction has gone from psychological horror to heart-pounding suspense. The female protagonist (Sophia Patai) in my suspense novel The Torah Codes is directly inspired by Beth. In fact, just as Beth saved my life with her love, in The Torah Codes Sophia saves the male protagonist’s life with her love.

Years later, Beth and I discovered that the girl I had a crush on in high school had taken her own life by letting herself drown in the Sacramento River. My thoughts go out to her. And if I hadn’t met Beth, my heart and soul would have gone out to her, as well. And who knows what I would have become?

The Torah Codes
by Ezra Barany

Blurb:  A reclusive computer programmer, Nathan Yirmorshy, pounds out ones and zeros in the quiet of his home while his landlord secretly watches from behind a two-way mirror. When an intercepted note connects the landlord to a secret society, and a detective ends up dead, Nathan must abandon his home and everything familiar to him, open his heart to a tarot reader he has never met, and trust her with his life–just as the ancient scriptures have foretold.
An appendix of essays by rabbis, doctors, and physicists discuss the themes of the book, specifically, the Bible codes and the Shekinah, the female aspect of God.

Bio:  Ezra Barany has been fascinated by codes and puzzles ever since he was a little tot. He started writing suspense and thriller stories in college and got seriously interested in the Bible codes while attending Aish HaTorah’s Discovery seminar in Jerusalem. The Torah Codes is Ezra’s first novel. Ezra has been a high school physics teacher, fiction writing teacher, songwriting teacher, ESL teacher to French children and pop performer. In his free time, he writes mushy love songs inspired by his wife and book coach Beth Barany.
Ezra now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he is working on his next book. He is available for presentations and select readings. To inquire about an appearance, please contact Ezra[at]TheTorahCodes[dot]com
Book Trailer:
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Excerpt:  Once at my house, Sophia entered through the garage and mudroom to the living room and sat on the couch. I still had the tarot card she had placed in my shirt pocket from the reading she gave me. Still wasn’t sure I wanted to look at it. Picking the Devil card twice would be close to impossible, and in my state of mind, if the card in my pocket was the same card I picked before, well…
“Fantastic place you have here!” She kicked off her shoes, jack-knifed her legs off the floor, and nuzzled into the corner of the couch. “Do you think I could get a beer? Or are you desperate to show me your bedroom?”
“One beer coming up,” I said. I went to the kitchen, snagged two beers out, and popped the caps off into the sink. They pinged all over the sink like pachinko balls. This time, it made me think of the Brownian motion microscopic particles have when colliding with the molecules of their surroundings. I returned to the living room and offered her the beer.
“Heineken!” She said. “Nice choice.” She took a drink and looked at the bottle.
I looked at the painting of the collie. Thought about the camera placed behind it.
“Why are you still standing? Have a seat.” She patted the place next to her. I sat on the couch wondering if I should still reveal my fears about the hidden cameras and have her validate them. Was I really being watched or was this just another manic delusion of mine?
“So, Bill. Can I ask you a question?”
“You just did.”
She giggled. “Here’s another. Tell me, Bill. What’s your real name?” She looked at me as she took another swig from the beer.
I studied her. Was she bluffing? Was she really psychic? She burped and smiled, dramatized her innocence by over-fluttering her eyelids.
She wasn’t bluffing.
“How did you know?” I asked.
She smiled wider. This was a game. “Alright, I’ll tell you. You know, people do interesting things when they remember things. They look up to the left. When you told me your name, you looked up to the right. Looking up to the right means you’re making something up, not trying to remember.” She put the bottle down on the coffee table in front of her. “But then, anyone who has to look up to remember their name must have recently fallen off a horse and hit their head on a rock.”
I nodded. Clever girl. “A woman after my heart,” I said.
“Better believe it.”
I drank from my beer. Thought about the bedroom mirror. All the cameras behind it. “It’s Nathan,” I said.
“Nathan. Now that’s a nice name. Sit closer.”
I stood up. “This isn’t really why I asked you here. Could I show you something in the bedroom?”
“Well, you gotta admire a man who says what he wants.” She put her beer down and followed me.
Inside the bedroom, she sat on the bed and bounced up and down. “Pretty good spring action!”
“Over here,” I said pointing to the mirror. I cupped my hands and looked behind the glass. Yep. Still there.
Sophia came and cupped her hands against the glass. Her hands peeked out of her long sleeves like kittens in a mailbox.
“Uh…” Sophia said. “I don’t think…”
“What do you see?”
She just looked at me like I had betrayed her in some way. “I think you should take me home, now,” she said with an uneven tone. She started walking away.
I grabbed hold of her arm. “What did you see?!”
“I see a guy who makes a living posting his escapades on-line. Now let go of my arm, or so help me…”
“You see them? The cameras?”
“Of course! Why? Was I not supposed to?” Her voice got louder. But I could tell she was trying not to yell.
I let go of her arm, cupped my hands at the mirror and looked at the cameras again. “They’re not mine,” I said. “They’re my landlord’s.”
“I found them today. Just before meeting you,” I said. “He’s been watching me ever since I moved here, I guess. Taking photos, videotaping me…”
“Jeez!” She looked at the cameras again, then back at me. “Sorry that I thought…”
There was no need for her to apologize. I brushed it off with a wave of my hand.
“What are you going to do about it?” She asked.
“I’ll call the police. See what they say,” I decided. “What about you? You probably want to get home.”
“I just got here!”
“I know, but you don’t need to get involved in all this.”
She smiled. “I know what you’re trying to do.”
“You’re trying to get rid of me.”
“No! Believe me. I think you’re gorgeous. But now is not the right time. And the truth is, I’m not a one-night-stand kind of guy.”
“I know.” She studied him. “I also know you’re the hanged man. Suspended in a major life change.” She took out a business card from her back pocket. “I’m willing to help. Call me if you need anything, okay.”
“Fine.” I put the card in my pocket without looking at it. “That reminds me.” I pulled out the tarot card from my shirt pocket. “Here’s your…” I saw the devil’s grin. As though he were laughing at me. Statistically, no way that card could have been pulled twice.
Sophia noticed my reaction and said, “I know what I’m talking about. So call me, okay?”
I handed her the tarot card, removed her business card, and looked at her number. Same area code as mine.
“Okay,” I said.