Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Nuclear Energy Museum in Israel

The Nuclear Research Center in Soreq

While people speculate about Israel's nuclear capability, the city of Be'er Sheva is preparing to open a new museum: The Museum of Nuclear Energy.

The museum, to open in 2012, will be devoted to development of nuclear power in Israel and in the world. Some exhibit topics will be: "The invention of nuclear energy", "Inside a nuclear reactor" and "X-ray technology". However, the museum will not offer any substantive information of a possible Israeli nuclear program.

The museum will be located in a building inside the proposed Be'er Sheva Science Park, a new park to be built in the heart of the old sector of the city. Park construction will cost 30 million dollars. Nearly one million dollars in investment comes from by the Ministry of Education, the Ben-Gurion University and from the Nuclear Research Center in Soreq. Plans for this museum were made public recently.

The park will include scientific equipment designed to serve students who live in the hot southern region. Its founders believe it will help expose children, especially the very young, to science in general and nuclear energy in particular.

One of the films in the museum will show the history of nuclear science in the world. Photos relating to the creation of the Soreq and Dimona reactors will also be displayed.

One exhibition will explain the process involved in producing nuclear energy; Another will tell how heads of state such as David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir advocated the establishment of Israeli reactors. An interactive exhibit will replay experimention once used when it was discovered that radioactive radiation, composed of alpha, beta and gamma rays, act as conductors; Another will be a walk-through, allowing visitors to turn off a civilian nuclear reactor. One exhibit will explain how nuclear technology has been adapted to advance the field of medicine.

The Be'er Sheva Science Park, says Mayor Rubik Danilovich, "will serve to promote scientific education, culture, as well as tourism. This is a special park to educate the next generation of scientists in Israel, encourage curiosity, and I am sure that the various exhibits will give viewers the necessary inspiration."
Source: Link.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Continuous Creation

Refresh Rate
by Dr. Aryeh Gotfryd

It's that time of year again, when Jews the world over celebrate new beginnings: A new year, a clean slate, and a new start to the annual cycle of Torah readings. The ultimate in new beginnings is the opening scene of the Torah - Genesis - the beginning of the universe courtesy of G-d Himself. Talk about starting off with a bang, and a big one at that.

But how new is all that, really? 5,771 years is a long time ago and the apparent 13.7 billion years is even longer. Rewinding the Torah and re-reading the beginning of the story doesn't re-enact the events. It's a one-time, old story is it not?

Well not according to Chassidus. One of the most powerful and innovative concepts introduced by the Chassidic movement's founding father, Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, is the doctrine of continuous creation. According to this notion, the entire world in all its detail is constantly brought into existence from nothing to something - ex nihilo.

The implications are profound. If the world is in fact being continuously renewed, then the whole idea of cause and effect may be brought into question.

Imagine for instance you are trying to sink a three-banks-to-the-side shot on a pool table. Your cue hits the cue ball just so, which in turn strikes the target ball, which then ricochets off one bank, hits a perpendicular one, bounces from there to a third side and traverses the table to plunk itself straight into the side pocket. Would you upon completing that move successfully, consider yourself the master of a strictly mechanistic, predictable and manageable process? Of course, why not? The balls and the banks behave exactly the same every day. Hit the ball too hard and the target ball bounces off the table. Hit it too soft and the target ball stops short. Cut the ball a hair too much and it misses the pocket altogether.

Now imagine the moment you hit the cue ball it disappears only to be instantly replaced with a different one, and the bank it hits is not the same one that framed the table when you first took your shot, and the other banks keep disappearing and being replaced between one rebound and the next. How would you view your sinking the shot now - as a feat of prowess, or as a divine miracle?

And how would you view life itself, the fact that your eyes can see, that your lungs can breathe, that you woke up this morning, knowing that every detail has been freshly renewed in precise beneficence out of absolutely nowhere?

Surely that's great cognitive therapy for the pious and the mystics but what about the modern, rational, and scientifically astute among us? Well for the first two hundred years, they laughed it off, but science itself has now come full circle and embraced these very same concepts.

Of course you will not find "hashgacha pratis", "yesh me'ayin" or even "continuous creation" in the lexicon of the physicists. But if you probe into "vacuum energy" you will find ideas that are hauntingly similar.

When physicists and cosmologists speak of the "vacuum" they refer to space devoid of all physical matter and electromagnetic waves. One would think the "vacuum" would be therefore absolutely empty, completely still and abysmally featureless, but surprisingly, the opposite seems to be the case.

Scientists now believe empty space contains a literally infinite amount of energy and all matter derives from fluctuations in this vacuum.

Just about all matter in the universe is made up of protons and neutrons and these in turn are made up entirely of quarks. As it turns out, the quarks only provide about 1% of the mass of the proton and so the scientists have been wondering what generates the other 99%? The answer is Gluons.

Gluons are virtual particles that hold the quarks together and one of their special qualities is they are constantly popping in and out of existence at every time and place. Even the quarks themselves are rooted in this random annihilation / recreation behavior and that makes it official that all matter is in fact virtual.

Think about it. Science itself is telling us all matter comes into existence from a vacuum that really isn't a vacuum at all since it has infinite energy, just in a virtual or intangible form.

Doesn't this sound like creatio ex nihilo, the age old concept of yesh me'ayin, where the ayin is the tzimtzum or withdrawal through which a ray of the or ayn sof or infinite energy radiates to create a physical world in a dynamic of continuous creation?

Open a Hebrew prayer book to the blessings of the morning Shema, the declaration of Unity, and read the praise of the One "who in His goodness daily renews the entire work of creation" and realize a supposedly atheistic physicist writing an ode to the infinite energy of the vacuum field might use the same words.

For those of you totally baffled by the physics gobbledygook, try looking at it this way.

Physical reality is like your computer screen. The pictures it displays aren't substantial physical objects, they are only dynamic images. They, like protons in the vacuum, have a refresh rate, a re-creation rate, in this case, of 60 cycles per second, meaning that 60 times per second the image is completely regenerated. Scientists now believe all physical matter is created in a similar way.

In the Alter Rebbe's Tanya there is a discussion of what to tell skeptics who deny divine providence and the wonders and miracles of the Torah. He says talk about creation of something from nothing, and it works. When you realize matter is just a dynamic download from the infinite light, why think anything is impossible. Even Moshiach is possible, and even now!

The modern convergence of Torah and science is a megatrend foreseen bykabbalists millennia ago as a harbinger of the Days of Moshiach, the imminent time when the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as waters cover the sea.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Yoke of Torah

Good rules make you free. But how can that be; Don't restrictions, by definition, impinge on freedom? No - because inside a framework of good rules you can learn, explore, achieve and thrive. Outside this framework, good rules no longer protect you or guide you. There is constructive freedom and, there is, destructive freedom.

A sports analogy will clarify this point. Take the game of baseball. Suppose the batter strikes out and a raucous group of spectators insists the batter be given one more chance, to which the players agree. Imagine then, a pop-up foul ball is dropped and the fielder complains he could have caught it were it not for the sun that blinded him; The players acquiesce and they call the batter out. Or, imagine a player sliding into base and the umpire says, "He was close enough" to be called safe, although the player was tagged out before touching the base, ... and so the game resumes.

You can sense this game, with its arbitrary rules, will bore you more than amuse you. Without the rigor of strict rules, you will never try your best, simply because you don't know what to expect. Why bother making the extra effort; Why bother training to perfect an outcome if shaky rules can be invoked and in effect nullify your best efforts?

The game of baseball, or any game, brings out the best in players when the rules are strictly enforced. Only within the confines of a stringent framework of rules can you expect a player to improve and perfect his talents. Rules eliminate wasteful behavior and give the player choices he can make about where he wants to excel, or where he needs to exert more effort to succeed.

Arbitrary rules rob you of freedom. On the contrary, arbitrary rules frustrate freedom. Living without rules - which means without a fixed set of rules - for rules always exist - is living with abandon. It means a life in which you cannot thrive. Living with abandon can only diminish useful freedom and success.

Similarly, under the guidelines of God's rules in Torah, the Jew has freedom to flourish or excel, without the worry of making wrong choices. As long as he abides by the rules, the Jew is protected from foolish behavior and wasteful efforts. Like the rules of a sport, the rules of life as defined by Torah do not oppress the individual, nor does the individual feel restrained. The rules become integral, natural boundaries and the game of life, as the game of sport, proceeds with genuine freedom. Failure under such an intact system is not because the system fails the person; It only highlights where the failure can be corrected.

There is a problem, however; Who's to say which system of rules is worthy for adoption? After all, a set of bad rules can be extremely frustrating. A prison's set of rules, for example, may well stultify one mentally. The Jew, at least, needs not worry about this dilemma because Torah has proved itself over millennia to provide the best of all systems to integrate with. Of course the best reason Torah's framework is the very best and infallible system is - because the benevolent Creator created it and He knows best.

The Jew is especially lucky because a truthful assessment of the best system means a person must waste much of his life testing system after system, comparing them all, before arriving at a conclusion - a task the Jew can confidently and gratefully bypass. Even a Jew of non-observant background is lucky because, once he discovers the advantages of a Torah-true life and considers the wonderful tradition and heritage he belongs to, he can easily embrace it.

Of all Gentiles, only the Noahide is as fortunate as the Jew because he too partakes in a system dictated by Torah and remains a Torah-true individual, albeit with a different, but wonderful, set of relevant rules.
___   ____    _____     ____    ___

Here's another way of seeing how the yoke of Torah facilitates life's challenges:

Is It Really “Too Hard”?
by Gutman Locks

Have you ever heard a rabbi say, “You have to accept upon yourself the yoke of Torah”? Apparently, this rabbi agrees with those who say a Torah life is very hard. Truth is, life without the Torah is the life that is too hard, and when you bring Torah into your life, it makes life much, much easier.

The yoke attaches the plow to the animal. Comparing Torah to a yoke is a metaphor showing us we should use the Torah to pull the plow of life.

Even before the yoke was invented the animal had to pull the plow. People had to eat. But, without the yoke, the animal was attached to the plow with only a harness. It had to pull that heavy plow with its head and neck muscles. What a tremendous burden that was!

Then some wise farmer came up with the idea to put a yoke around the animal’s shoulders. This allows the animal to pull the plow with its big shoulder muscles instead of its small neck muscles. What a wonderful thing the yoke is. The animal loves its yoke. The yoke saves the animal from so much pain and suffering.

In America today: 27% of non-religious, white, teenage girls, and 50% of non-religious, black, teenage girls, have one, two, or three different types of venereal diseases.

Fifty percent of babies born to non-religious girls are born out of wedlock - i.e. mommy is not married, no father at home.

Sixty-five percent of non-religious marriages end in divorce.

According to one popular talk show host, in 85% of non-religious marriages, one of the partners, every once in a while, sleeps with someone other than their spouse.

That life, the non-religious life they live, is the life that is “Too Hard” - not the Torah life.

If you will keep Shabbos (which, in fact, is a pleasure), and your wife will cover her hair (to be modest), if you put on tefillin (to pray), and if the home is kosher (so even your eating is holy), if the kids get a Jewish education (so the Jewish people and values continue), then none of these statistics will apply to you and your family.

Now tell me, which is the life that is too hard?

I have tried both, and I can tell you from the bottom of my heart it is much easier to be a religious Jew than a “free”, do whatever you want, secular Jew. It is hard, depressing, and empty to live the “American dream”, no matter which country you dream it in. In fact, that dream turns out to be a needless nightmare.

There are always going to be problems in life, no matter what you do. If you focus on the problems, you are going to be miserable. There are also always beautiful things going on in life and if you focus on them, you will be happy. It’s your call.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where Are Your Instincts Leading You?
- The Psychology of Action

Unlike animals that have an instinct, man posseses two instincts (as Isaiah 57, 16, states, "… and souls I created."). Both constantly duel each other for dominance. Your behavior depends on which instinct asserts superior logic.

The arbiter of which way to behave is your mind. Each instinct appeals to the mind, presenting it its "case". The mind weighs both appeals then renders its judgement.

The instinctual battle is a fierce one because the instincts pull to opposite poles. One wants to take the person (its "carrier") into proximity with the divine, to subserve a higher calling; The other much prefers the secular agenda, preoccupied with the body's desires. The former wants cold logic of the brain to rule; The latter much prefers indulging the emotions. One sacrifices conveniences for the sake of truth; The other sacrifices truth for the sake of conveniences.

(We've used the term "instincts" to connote a human propensity. The more usual term is "soul". One soul is the "Holy Soul" - the one referred to in Genesis 2, 7, "… inflated … a living soul."; The other is your "Animal Soul". As noted, both are usually diametrically opposed.)

It follows from this inherent dichotomy, that a man thinking he's doing what is ordinarily right - must think twice to assess if, in fact, he is doing what's right. For as long as he hasn't yet clearly defined what each soul's yearning is, he cannot be sure his manifest behavior is indeed the right one. Is he deciding in favor of his bodily cares, or is he in fact answering to a lofty purpose? All too often, the derived judgement goes ahead without a probe of its sources.

It would seem, the more religious Jew can better judge his actions to determine its alignment with the Holy Soul's urgings. For him, its logic for observant requirements comes out in high relief. The less observant Jew cannot clearly hear that inner voice within him whose language of proximity to G-d remains nebulous, albeit alive; For no Jew can escape this gravitational pull to religion; That Jewish "spark" is really his soul's yearning for dominance.

Nevertheless, the observant Jew all too often has an Animal Soul who well argues its case to skew judgement in its favor. With its own submission at stake, it can rationalize perfect coincidences to push aside its rival's wishes.

The mind, for its part, without pursuing a learning strategy, will suffer little upset of its composure.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Caroline Glick - On Glenn Beck's Washington Rally

On August 28, Fox News commentator Glenn Beck confounded his colleagues in the media when he brought hundreds of thousands of Americans to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a rally he called "Restoring Honor."

While former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker, the rally was decidedly apolitical. The speakers said nothing controversial. The crowd was enthusiastic but not rowdy. US President Barack Obama was never even mentioned by name. In the event, the massive crowd gathered, prayed, celebrated American military heroes, listened to patriotic speeches and songs. Then the participants picked up their garbage and went home.

So what was it all about? Why do many people see it as a watershed event?

Although Beck called the rally "Restoring Honor," it wasn't really about restoring honor. It was about restoring something even more important. It was about restoring the American creed.

That creed is so ingrained that it has served as the subtext of every major political and civic speech by every American political and civic leader since the eighteenth century.

The American creed has two main components. First, its core belief is that America is an exceptional country and that the American people are an exceptional nation. Second, it asserts that as Abraham Lincoln first said outright, America is the last, best hope for mankind.

The reason Beck's rally was a watershed event is that in the Age of Obama, millions of Americans for the first time feel the need to reclaim what they believe is their birthright as Americans. Because what distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is that he is the first American President who clearly rejects the American creed.
Read the rest here.

A Sigh from a Nature Lover, and that of Wild Horses

This mystic, 5-min. video clip made me yearn for Moshiach. Note the horses, with their transcendental senses, that show up.

It's less meritable to yearn for Moshiach from a distraught perspective, when it should come from a cheerful disposition. Still, seeing such relentless, uncaring destruction of nature, further distancing our intimate relationship with the earth - just look at the foods they sell us in supermarkets and what they do to it or put into it - reflects a sad state of affairs.

What's happening in England, as they fell their oak trees, is bad enough. The Moslem invasion just clinches her destruction.

Here too, in America: The small farmer is being squeezed out; Nutrition is harder to come by; Pure water must be purchased at a premium; The land, with artificial fertilizers, has lost its essential minerals and vitamins; We're eating chemicals, herbicides, pesticides and hormones; The medical establishment has become a cult of drug-pushers; Food advertising perverts the term "natural"; Allergies and degenerative disease is so common; … and, if that's not enough, here too the Muslim invasion has begun in earnest.

We want Moshiach - now!!
video

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Happy 5771

(New Year card - courtesy of www.kobikalmanovitz.com)

On his 120th birthday, the day he would pass on, Moses addressed the Jewish nation (3,283 years ago). "All of you today stand before G-d … your leaders, elders, … including your water carriers. Each of you is to be inaugurated into a covenant with G-d …."

In his opening statement, he spoke first using the plural term "All of you" and then invoked the singular term "each of you". The switch from broad reference of the people to narrow focus on the individual was deliberate. He meant to convey the following message:

All Jews together constitute one body. The whole structure requires the inclusion of all its components, to the exclusion of none. Each Jew has something another Jew has not, or has more of it than another. Together Jews integrate to fulfill a mission that - at the same time - is both a collective, as well as an individual, mission.

It stands to reason every Jew's contribution must not be underrated or dismissed, not any more than a small bolt come loose in a complex mechanism can be cast into oblivion; Not any more than can the important, dominant brain remain undisturbed when a remote, insignificant toenail gets torn aside.

Every Jew is a precious diamond. Some shine; Others merely need undergo some polish. May we all be a beacon of light onto the nations and finally merit the ultimate purpose of creation as we cross the threshold into year 5771 and, hopefully, into the Final and Ultimate Era of Redemption with King Moshiach at the helm.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Honest Reporting is Anathema
to the New York Times

New York Times' disgraceful misrepresentation of a Jew wishing to kill a poor "Palestinian", ten years ago -- vindicated! The real story is heart-warming, as the video (6 min.) shows, and is the very opposite of how this radical leftist tabloid had depicted it.

It's a good thing we have internet these days, enabling us to catch and expose this misinformation to a wide audience in its true light. Otherwise, most of us would still be at the mercy of these propagandists. Alas, this rag newspaper is still in business.
video
As for you holdouts who still attribute even an iota of respect for this disseminator of liberal trash opinion, I invite you to read this article by Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Jewish Blood, as Portrayed in the Western Media.

Want more depth on this topic? See here.

At the Threshold of Israel's Final Redemption; II

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, in "Peulat HaTzaddik", section 835, describes the events leading to the revelation of Moshiach:

At first, he says, "Much controversy will prevail over his identity". People will say, "What, this is Moshiach?" They'll scorn by saying, "What, he who wears this kind of hat, this outfit; That's your Moshiach?"

In section 834 he provides the backdrop of these times. It will be a time wherein most Jews will know nothing of or disbelieve in Moshiach. He gives the metaphor where a king, donning only hunting clothes, goes hunting with some officers. A huge downpour then deluges their area and everyone, bewildered, runs to save his own life. The king, left stranded on his own, finally finds his way to a secluded house. He requests refuge from the elements. The host kindly takes him in, offers him food and a place next to the stove where his guest can dry up, warm himself up and sleep for the night. Near morning the king's officers find each other and begin their search for the king. Finally they come to the house where the king is still sleeping. They wait there until the king arises.

Once awake, they offer the king escort back to the palace. The king chastises them for having left him alone against the elements, and refuses their offer. Because his host took such good care of him, he prefers the host escort him alone back to the palace, in the hosts's own buggy, and sends off his officers to go back without him.

Similary, says Rabbi Nachman, will be in the days when Moshiach reveals himself. Those who held firm their belief in him, and did not abandon him - they shall be the first to enjoy his closeness and merit to crown him.

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