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
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…