I am looking for a textual source for this famous GRA which corrects the מקרא calculation of Pi from 3 to 3.1415 based on the kri and ksiv of קו vs קוה. Based on my research there may not be a written source in the Gra. If not, does anyone know the actual text that suggests this correction?

  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/16883/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 13:57
  • The passuk in question is Melachim 1:7:23, by the way. It's noteworthy that its pair in Divrei Hayamim (2:4:2) lacks the kri u'kesiv.
    – DonielF
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 19:05
  • @Bach gave the one true answer. Just want to note, in Xian circles the usual mis-attribution is to Newton, who did spend more time on religion, spirituality and numerology than his more famous (and more successful) work in physics. Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


According to this (p. 9) the Gra never said this, it was actually proposed by Max Munk and was wrongly attributed to the former,

This solution is attributed to Eliyahu the Gaon of Vilna (18th century), known as the Gra. The Gra was not only a Gadol in Torah, but also an accomplished mathematician. However, there is evidence that this solution was first proposed by 20th century Torah scholar, Rabbi Matityahu Hakohen Munk (Max Munk), as noted in a private communication to me by Rabbi Professor Sid Leiman of Brooklyn College. He states: “The Gra did talk about pi, but never suggested the secret interpretation ascribed to him. That interpretation was first suggested by Max Munk in 1939. He published his suggestion in “Shalosh Ba’ayot Handasiyot be-Tanakh uveTalmud.”

(This article was published in the journal "Sinai", by Mosad haRav Kook, Tamuz 5722. Pp. 218 - 227)

  • @ bach Yes, that is the source I found. I was looking for an actual primary text that actually writes it out. (preferably a hebrew text)
    – Rebwass
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 14:50
  • 1
    @Rebwass Well i'm sorry that my post wasn't too helpful, but from your OP it appeared that you were assuming that it was indeed the Gra who wrote it, you were just looking for the source. If you would've cited this source by Morris Engelson and asked for opinions whether it is reliable or not, that would've been helpful.
    – Bach
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 18:22
  • 1
    Added bibliographic detail on the article. I hope that's okay. Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 19:06

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