Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jacob's Dream

About 150 years ago, scientists grouped all things into "having life" or "not having life". On the other hand, our sages, who go back 2,000 years, had claimed everything in this world has a "soul".

Were the sages wrong? Could "dead" stuff, like stones, have a "soul"?

But then scientists discovered the atom and some of its components. It turns out today's physics agrees there's no such thing as lifeless stuff. All matter teems with dynamic forces.

The Encyclopedia Britannica writes, "All atoms are roughly the same size, whether they have 3 or 90 electrons. Approximately 50 million atoms of solid matter lined up in a row would measure 1 cm (0.4 inch). Compared with the overall size of the atom, the nucleus is even more minute. It is in the same proportion to the atom as a marble is to a football field."

The atom's tiny nucleus holds all the protons and neutrons. Its lightweight electrons spin around this nucleus, some reaching the outer limits that define the atom's "football field" boundaries. In proportion to that "marble-sized" nucleus and the negligible sizes of the circling electrons, even if there were 90 of them, the amount of empty space inside this single atom is immense. Imagine how many more "marbles" could fit into this enclosed empty space. The proportion is something like multi-billions to one. This should give you an idea of how much more "air" exists inside an atom compared with the amount of "solid" inside it.

Each proton or neutron weighs 2,000 times as much as an electron. Most of the atom’s volume, therefore, consists of a cloud of electrons of very tiny mass, which means the atom's weight is, for all practical purposes, the weight of its nucleus; And most of its volume, most of that "football field", is, for all practical purposes - empty!

Shoot a bullet at a rock or steel wall, it'll deflect, because it cannot penetrate the mass. But Rutherford, in 1910, blasted atoms with radioactive waves and these waves - went right through. He blasted them thousands of times and each wave went through as if through empty space, for each time he hit his targets on the other side of the wall.

Although they could not visualize the atom, scientists devised a hypothetical physical model of one. It was like a small solar system with a bunch of tiny "stars" (electrons) revolving around the "sun" (nucleus), only the relative distances between these "stars" were much more spacious.

Amazingly, with so much space making up the atom, as difficult as it might be to imagine, even big things are - almost hollow!

Take the body of a man, for example. Implode all its material by removing all the empty space, and we'd end up with a speck of dust hardly visible with a magnifying glass! And the weight of this dust speck would be the weight of the man!

If we were to take the planet earth and squeeze out all its empty space, we'd end up with a sphere of only half a mile in radius.

With this information, we more easily understand Rashi's explanation of Jacob's dream in Beth El, when G-d tells him, "The land upon which you lie I will give to you and your descendants." Says Rashi, "G-d folded up all The Land of Israel beneath him." (Gen. 28:13)

In effect, science confirmed what our sages posited thousands of years ago, namely, that all matter has a "soul", which means a divine potential, a life-force - something we cannot see, that keeps them moving. Not only is all physicality mostly void of matter, but this "nothingness" is actually its existential truth.

Science begins to comprehend, in its own way, that matter has no existence apart from its energy - and its energy is infinitely greater than the mass. Could we but harness the atomic energy in one speck of coal, we could propel all the world's big ships from America to Israel and back. That we can reduce all matter of a man's body into a miniscule grain of sand shows just how meager is the body in comparison with the gigantic proportions of its divine soul.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Like an Eagle Awakens Her Nest

"Like an Eagle Awakens Her Nest"
כנשר יעיר קנו
(Deut. 32:11)

Jews are like just-hatched chicks of the mother eagle. They look around but see no mother just yet. So too the Jewish people scurry about, mostly oblivious to the God that watches over them.

The way the mother eagle, upon returning to her nest, to feed or visit her chicks, does it is interesting. Were she to simply fly in and land in front of them, her size and speed would frighten them to death. So she first lands nearby, out of sight, and then begins to shake branches or make movements to draw their attention from afar. Then she slowly will advance towards them.

So to we Jews may not behold God if He were to suddenly present Himself, as happened in Mount Sinai when the Jews received the first two commandments from God Himself. It says there, they had to be miraculously resuscitated, when, with each commandment, the fright killed them. They then persuaded Moses to be the conduit and through him, instead, receive the remaining 8 commandments.

This is how God is preparing us for the Final and Ultimate Era of Redemption. He cannot reveal Himself suddenly. He does it gradually. First He brings Chassidus into the world. He raises a dynasty of Rabbis who, with every passing generation, spread Chassidus more and more, each Rabbi reaching out much more than his predecssor, taking these waters of the utopic fountain of eternity to wherever Jews find themselves. By now, there hardly remains a Jew worldwide who has not been touched by the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Unlike the nitty-gritty stuff that makes up the Talmud, and unlike the harsh approach of Mussar to rally the Jews to observance, Chassidus is lofty and mellow. It brings to light new aspects of Torah heretofore concealed from even the greatest minds. Chassidus awakens the soul with sweet-talk of God and the value of the Jewish soul. It talks of the role of Moshiach, the meaning of a conduit, and what redemption means. It talks about God's eventual revelation to us in dimensions as of yet unbeknown to us.

Before the Sabbath dons on us, the obligation of the Jew on Friday is to have a foretaste of the Sabbath - by tasting a bit of the dish prepared for the approaching Sabbath day. Similarly, on the eve of the eternal Sabbath, we, today, at the threshold of the Era of the Final and Ultimate Redemption, must get a foretaste of the Eternal Sabbath era. How so? By studying Chassidus, or, at the very least, studying about Moshiach! In order that we stand prepared.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Rise and Fall of Israel & America, Respectively - part 2

(Cont'd from Part 1)
"And his hand grasps Esav's heel." (Genesis 25:26)

Says Rashi, "This is a sign Esav will not manage to complete his reign until Jacob rises up and takes it from him."

Taking it from him does not have to mean by force. Esav can lose his control with self-defeating behavior, that which God finds reprehensible.

Esav possessed qualities of the hunter with military prowess and guile, whereas Jacob learned all day in the study halls of Shem and Ever. Historically, judging by the longer trend, Esav seems to have outdone Jacob. Nevertheless, the day would come when "the many will serve the young one." (25:23)

"The many" probably refers today to America (Esav). Eventually, then, who will America yield its greatness to, like it or not? To "the young one", Jacob, today's Jewish nation. Jacob was conceived before Esav (Rashi 26:26), but he appears on the scene later, when holding on to Esav's heel during birth. The Jewish people got back their Holy Land nearly two centuries after America had become a nation and then a world power. Esav, which is America, then, is the "old", and Jacob, the newly-minted Jewish people who have returned to their original soil, are the "young".

Just how would America lose control? We can learn from Esav's behavior. First of all, he was preoccupied with war, sometimes justifiably, sometimes not. And he came home utterly tired,
"... ויבוא עשו מן השדה והוא עיף"‪.‬ (25:29)

America too was preoccupied with war, sometimes justifiably (eg, WWII, Japan) and sometimes not (eg, running guns to Mexican gangs, Libya). Just as Esav tired of war, similarly an anti-war sentiment arose in America that spawned the "Hippie" movement, and it gave a chance for leftists to percolate through and rise up into the ruling infrastructure.

But what really brought Esav down was more than just selling his birthright because he shunned divine worship; He also overtly showed contempt for it! (25:34) "ויבז עשו את הבכורה"

This same attitude manifests today in America, in its Democratic party's radical liberalism in general, and in Obama, in particular, who shows contempt for American honor, chastises those "clinging to God", seeks to remove God from mention on its currency, in its pledge of allegiance, and from society in general - thereby wiping clean the American heritage of any mention of God.

More than that, as the Kli Yakar (Gen. 25:34) explains, Esav was a murderer (as sure as America tolerated and legislated the murder of so many unborn children for so many years), he was into lewdness (as sure as America promoted, if not tolerated, homosexual perversity and same-sex marriage), and he antagonized divine worship (as is so obvious with this mouthpiece in highest office, who sat in a pew listening to "pastor" Jeremiah Wright spew hate for 20 years).

If one sanctions perversity and murder, he surely sanctions theft. And we note today just how corrupt American politicians have become in channeling millions into their own coffers, at the expense of the public they were meant to serve.

The latest egregious transgressions are: Obama's trillion dollar "stimulus" money kicked back to corrupt bankers, many millions to Solyndra executives and even to its laid-off employees, more such thefts using other such figurative companies, governor Corzine's theft of billions "missing" from his company, Obama's house acquisition from convicted criminal Tony Rezko, ... and the list goes on and on.

If gangsterism is endemic in American politics, at least it was until now concealed. But with the Obama regime, it's all now clearly in the open and the administration is becoming heavy-handed against its accusers.

You see the arrogance and duplicity in his face. Look how Obama dismissed the voter intimidation case against some members of the Black Panthers. Look here how he pardoned convicted dope dealers and a jewel thief. Yet poor Jonathan Pollard remains in isolated detention 27 years now, and Moshe Rubashkin too endures an unjust prison sentence, because of obvious, antisemitic bias.

Will Obama win in 2012? I am afraid so. The regime, and by that I mean that huge, rich Fascist machine in control of Obama, who placed him there in the first place, after having groomed him for this heist, is now well embedded all over the controlling infrastructure in key areas. They will steal the election in 2012 if they have to. Why am I so sure? Because Republicans can call out Obama on his false birth certificate, on his dismissal of the voter intimidation case, on the targets of the stimulus money, on Solyndra's fraud, on Lezko’s deal, on gun-running, etc., but all we hear against these offenses is a screaming silence, with every powerful bureaucrat hushed up over the impeachment option and, rather, dealing with irrelevancies thrown out by fascist Democrats and their mainstream media cohorts. The Fascists will have their day in 2012 I do fear.

That's my take of the worldy goings-on these days. The sole comfort we can take from all this precipitous deterioration in human rights and values is that they are the post-delivery birth pangs of Moshiach. God will deliver as He promises in Torah! The long-shot will finally win.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Rise and Fall of Israel & America, Respectively

It appears political landscapes are reshaping as Torah foretells, right before our eyes. In reference to Jacob and Esau, Torah tells us, their powers never equate; Only one dominates during an era. "... The upper hand will go from one government to the other ..." (Genesis 25:23)

Until now, Israel (Jacob) cowered beneath the shadow of giant, powerful America (Esau). Israel mimicked and cultured whatever fad its American idol begot, be it earrings on men or TV programs such as "Kojak". They even outdid their idol by radicalizing policies, such as taking the "anti-racism" mantra to favor its Arab inhabitants over its indigenous religious element, or parading homosexuality along Jerusalem's streets to tout its loyalty to "anti-discrimination", or simply by secularizing lifestyle. It felt it owed allegiance to America, and whatever financial or military help it could get from America was its very lifeblood. They lost the traditional Jewish faith in God as the Almighty and as their source of welfare and success.

But we notice in Israel, recently, a significant swing in mindset; Whereas for many decades the left was able to inculcate their non-Torah ideology and remain void of genuine Jewish pride, all the while obsequious to America, the tide towards the right is now palpable, with many becoming observant, or at least cognizant of God and traditional values, and even in non-religious circles many have re-aligned with the political right. What's more, America is being alienated from Israeli awe and respect it once commanded.

Simultaneously, we note the Israeli economy shows strength while the once-powerful America and its dollar are clearly on the decline, whatever the reasons behind this. As for Europe's affluence, it appears to be gasping its last breaths. (No small wonder considering all the Jewish blood spilled on its soil.)

"... And Yakov's hand grasped Esau's heel ..." (Genesis 25:26) The body is a metaphor for time; The heel represents the end of the temporal range. Rashi explains, "It's a sign that Esau will eventually lose his dominion as Jacob takes it from him." Eventually refers to the many years after dominion, as the heel is relatively distant from the once-coronated head.

"When this one rises, this one will fall." Looks to me, finally, Israel is on the rise and America and Western ideologies are in a free-fall. Probably we're witnessing the end-game, wherein the final triumph will be Moshiach's revelation.

Tsur once became great by sucking up Jerusalem's wealth after the latter's destruction (Ezek. 26:2). The Zionist irreligious agenda had destroyed Jerusalem's values and automatically America sapped this lost strength for itself and became all-powerful. America, founded on belief in God, waxed in religiosity, albeit mixed with partial idolatry, while Israel waned, seeking to divorce itself of Godly faith.

But now a reverse trend is charging ahead. America is in a tailspin. The "Democratic" party has been usurped by the Fascists and "Republicans" have long lost their predeliction for conservative values. Those that maintain them are quickly sidelined. Those that compromise their values are in bed with the Democrat rats.

The dollar is now hanging on fingernails only because it is artificially propped up, to assure another win for Fascist Obama in 2012. Once that happens the dollar will plunge precipitously and the dollar bubble will have bust, with all its trillions in circulation temporarily backed by nothing but false statistics and co-conspiring media lies. Once the mannequin now in power wins again, the dollar will die a quick, ugly death.

The Israeli economy, meanwhile, forges ahead. The stock market is strong and businesses are blooming. I'd rather lay my bets on the Shekel, if not on precious metals.

The utopian horizon has finally come into view and Moshiach's revelation is imminent - thank God!
Part II - here. --- Source of Images here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Faster Than the Speed of Light - Rebbe Letter

Back in 1956, 55 years ago, in a letter to a professor of physics, the Rebbe discussed the inadequacies of scientific conclusions, particularly in regard to Albert Einstein's "Theory of Relativity".
(Igrot 12:394-7)

It's one thing to hypothesize based on experimental or mathematical findings, he said, but to go beyond that and make absolute claims is inappropriate, and, in fact, incompatable with the definition of science.

The Rebbe specifically cites the example of the speed of light that scientists regard as an absolute value that cannot be surpassed. They have no right to draw such a conclusion, he implied.

The mathematics to support the untenable supposition would run afoul if the speed of light could be surpassed because it would then include a factor (the square root of a negative number) that cannot have in the real world a physical counterpart. The theory is just a theory, said the Rebbe, not a true fact to be sure.

But because people held the revolutionary findings of Einstein as sacrosanct, they held tightly to the theory it posited; They considered the speed of light to be an absolute value - a maximum limit that can never be exceeded.

Recently, however, sophisticated experiments in physics coming out of the CERN group in Europe (link) point to findings that defy the limit set by Einstein. Scientists found neutrinos with velocities greater than that of the speed of light! So revolutionary are these findings, these scientists themselves are begging others to examine and see where they "went wrong" with their assumptions or findings. Then too, all those conclusions based on an absolute speed of light, such as time and mass dilation or length contraction, will have to be re-evaluated within a new theoretical framework, or, simply, trashed. In the words of an observer, it will require "a complete rewriting of our understanding of the universe".

A translation of the Rebbe's letter, by Rabbi Shimon Silman, can be found here: - issue #805, page 24.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

As High as a Jew Can Climb, He Can Descend

Here's an article by Ann Coulter that sheds light on a corrupt and ugly mastermind in Chicago politics.
DAVID AXELROD'S PATTERN OF SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR

Herman Cain has spent his life living and working all over the country -- Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, D.C. -- but never in Chicago.

So it's curious that all the sexual harassment allegations against Cain emanate from Chicago: home of the Daley machine and Obama consigliere David Axelrod.

Suspicions had already fallen on Sheila O'Grady, who is close with David Axelrod and went straight from being former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley's chief of staff to president of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), as being the person who dug up Herman Cain's personnel records from the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

The Daley-controlled IRA works hand-in-glove with the NRA. And strangely enough, Cain's short, three-year tenure at the NRA is evidently the only period in his decades-long career during which he's alleged to have been a sexual predator.

After O'Grady's name surfaced in connection with the miraculous appearance of Cain's personnel files from the NRA, she issued a Clintonesque denial of any involvement in producing them -- by vigorously denying that she knew Cain when he was at the NRA. (Duh.)

And now, after a week of conservative eye-rolling over unspecified, anonymous accusations against Cain, we've suddenly got very specific sexual assault allegations from an all-new accuser out of ... Chicago.

Herman Cain has never lived in Chicago. But you know who has? David Axelrod! And guess who lived in Axelrod's very building? Right again: Cain's latest accuser, Sharon Bialek.

Bialek's accusations were certainly specific. But they also demonstrated why anonymous accusations are worthless.

Within 24 hours of Bialek's press conference, friends and acquaintances of hers stepped forward to say that she's a "gold-digger," that she was constantly in financial trouble -- having filed for personal bankruptcy twice -- and, of course, that she had lived in Axelrod's apartment building at 505 North Lake Shore Drive, where, she admits, she knew the man The New York Times calls Obama's "hired muscle."

Throw in some federal tax evasion, and she's Obama's next Cabinet pick.

The reason all this is relevant is that both Axelrod and Daley have a history of smearing political opponents by digging up claims of sexual misconduct against them.

John Brooks, Chicago's former fire commissioner, filed a lawsuit against Daley six months ago claiming Daley threatened to smear him with sexual harassment accusations if Brooks didn't resign. He resigned -- and the sexual harassment allegations were later found to be completely false.

Meanwhile, as extensively detailed in my book "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America," the only reason Obama became a U.S. senator -- allowing him to run for president -- is that David Axelrod pulled sealed divorce records out of a hat, first, against Obama's Democratic primary opponent, and then against Obama's Republican opponent.

One month before the 2004 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, Obama was way down in the polls, about to lose to Blair Hull, a multimillionaire securities trader.

But then The Chicago Tribune -- where Axelrod used to work -- began publishing claims that Hull's second ex-wife, Brenda Sexton, had sought an order of protection against him during their 1998 divorce proceedings.

From then until Election Day, Hull was embroiled in fighting the allegation that he was a "wife beater." He and his ex-wife eventually agreed to release their sealed divorce records. His first ex-wife, daughters and nanny defended him at a press conference, swearing he was never violent. During a Democratic debate, Hull was forced to explain that his wife kicked him and he had merely kicked her back.

Hull's substantial lead just a month before the primary collapsed with the nonstop media attention to his divorce records. Obama sailed to the front of the pack and won the primary. Hull finished third with 10 percent of the vote.

Luckily for Axelrod, Obama's opponent in the general election had also been divorced.

The Republican nominee was Jack Ryan, a graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard law and business schools, who had left his lucrative partnership at Goldman Sachs to teach at an inner-city school on the South Side of Chicago.

But in a child custody dispute some years earlier, Ryan's ex-wife, Hollywood sex kitten Jeri Lynn Ryan, had alleged that, while the couple was married, Jack had taken her to swingers clubs in Paris and New York.

Jack Ryan adamantly denied the allegations. In the interest of protecting their son, he also requested that the records be put permanently under seal.

Axelrod's courthouse moles obtained the "sealed" records and, in no time, they were in the hands of every political operative in Chicago. Knowing perfectly well what was in the records, Chicago Tribune attorneys flew to California and requested that the court officially "unseal" them -- over the objections of both Jack and Jeri Ryan.

Your honor, who knows what could be in these records!

A California judge ordered them unsealed, which allowed newspapers to publish the salacious allegations, and four days later, Ryan dropped out of the race under pressure from idiot Republicans (who should be tracked down and shot).

With a last-minute replacement of Alan Keyes as Obama's Republican opponent, Obama was able to set an all-time record in an Illinois Senate election, winning with a 43 percent margin.

And that's how Obama became a senator four years after losing a congressional race to Bobby Rush. (In a disastrous turn of events, Rush was not divorced.)

Axelrod destroyed the only two men who stood between Obama and the Senate with illicitly obtained, lurid allegations from their pasts.

In 2007, long after Obama was safely ensconced in the U.S. Senate, The New York Times reported: "The Tribune reporter who wrote the original piece (on Hull's sealed divorce records) later acknowledged in print that the Obama camp had 'worked aggressively behind the scenes' to push the story."

Some had suggested, the Times article continued, that Axelrod had "an even more significant role -- that he leaked the initial story."

This time, Obama's little helpers have not only thrown a bomb into the Republican primary, but are hoping to destroy the man who deprives the Democrats of their only argument in 2012: If you oppose Obama, you must be a racist.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Satmar Adopts a Chabad Niggun

The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught a new niggun every Simchas Torah until the year his mother, Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson, passed on. One of them, sung in this 1-minute video, has filtrated into the repertoire of Satmar music as well! They improvise a bit by adding an occasional "oy". This must be a "tish" they're at, and it looks packed. The video is amateur, but the impression is great. One day, soon, all chassidim, and all yidden, from the world over, will sing together -- at the tish of Melech HaMoshiach!
video

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Nuggets from a Shabbat Meal

A few nuggets I remember from last Friday night's Shabbat meal, when a minyan of bochurim graced us as guests.

----------

The Rebbe wrote a letter responding to someone who wanted an explanation of the Midrash that says, that from the verse "And Avraham told Sarah 'tell them you're my sister' (אמרי נא אחותי את)" our sages learn out that for a sick person one is allowed to shecht [slaughter] on Shabbat to feed him ( מכאן - ששוחטים לחולה בשבת). He asked the Rebbe, what does Avraham's statement to Sarah have anything to do with shechting and feeding sick people on Shabbat?

The Rebbe answered saying that although the Egyptians were sinners, they knew of the 7 Noahide laws and took these into consideration nonetheless. The Egyptians, he explained, wanted to transgress regarding Sarah, so they considered two options in the matter, and the severity of their consequences. One option was to rape Sarah and then suffer the punishment for "Aishet Ish" (A married woman - אשת איש), which constitutes many sins as a cumulative punishment for every moment of the ongoing transgression; Or, they could kill Avraham, suffer from only one punishment, for murder, and then suffer no punishment thereafter for indulging with the now-unmarried woman, no longer with the status of "Aishet Ish". Avraham knew they would choose the latter therefore.

(Avraham was confident nothing would happen to Sarah, because her righteousness would protect her; And indeed it did. But he behaved as was naturally expected of him in asking her to say she was his sister so that they need not kill him.)

From THIS episode - from Avraham's requesting Sarah that she call herself his sister - our sages learn that shechting for the sick is better than feeding him traife; For every bite into traife is a sin, whereas shechting on Shabbat is a sin - but only one, afterwhich the sick person can eat the kosher food!

If not for the Rebbe's explanation, who would ever make sense of this midrash?

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Story: A young Chabad bochur walked to a shul on Sukkot and asked the Rabbi if he can address the congregation to give over a dvar Torah. The Rabbi said okay, but some elder congregants complained, questioning why so youthful a person should be allowed to address them.

The young man went up to the podium and asked his audience, "Can someone tell me why, in order to purify some vessel, you need only a slight amount (כל שהוא) of water (enough to wet it from all sides) if its source is from a "mayim chayim" [wellspring - מים חיים], whereas if the water is a mikveh (מקוה) you need a minimum of 40 se'ah (סאה)? When nobody answered he explained that a wellspring derived directly from G-d's doing and therefore even the slightest amount is good enough to purify, whereas a mikveh, because it is man-made, requires at least 40 se'ah.

Similarly, said he, although he himself is young and slight, but because he is directly connected to the wellspring that is the Rebbe, by being his chassid, he can deliver his Torah words and need not be of usual age to qualify. Then he went on with his speech.

----------

A man wanted a shidduch badly so he made the effort to visit the Rebbe one Sunday during the distribution of dollars and wait in line to ask the Rebbe for a blessing. When he asked for his bracha, he got a dollar from the Rebbe, who then said to him, quoting the Torah, "For this is very much near you" (כי קרוב עליך הדבר מאד). The fellow went away from the event thrilled that soon he will find his long-awaited match. But time went by and his expectations dissipated. Six years after this encounter, he finally married.

One day the husband wanted to get a picture of himself, back when was by the Rebbe. He knew pictures were available for every person who got a dollar from the Rebbe. He found out he could locate this picture online by going to "jemstore.com", there search for "My Moment with the Rebbe" and download the picture for a small price. There they filmstrips, with each frame available for inspection.

When he entered the date and time of his encounter with the Rebbe to search for his picture, he noticed that in the very next frame after his the person to get a dollar from the Rebbe was - none other than his wife! (That is, he was the last "feed" in the men's line before it halted, for right after him the woman's line began to "feed" forward and his wife was the first in that line to meet the Rebbe).

All these years he figured "For this is very much near you" meant in terms of TIME; Now he realized the Rebbe had something else in mind - not "near" in time as much as he meant - near in PLACE!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Belief in The Creator - Then and Now

It's customary to think belief in a Creator is a matter of faith and not a matter of intellect or logic. As if it's a matter of personal choice; He who wants to, believes, and he who does not want to, does not believe. As if it cannot be a matter proven with rationality, but, rather, a matter of simple, inner conviction.

Man has both a potential for faith and posseses the power to reason. In fact, faith and reason lie on separate planes, for indeed, man's soul can have faith in something that is entirely beyond his intellect and reason.

Nevertheless, recognizing the existence of a Creator need not remain in the domain of faith exclusively. A good dose of reasonable thought will also lead to an inevitable conclusion - that a Creator of the universe exists! Given to such thought, man no longer "believes" in a Creator, he "knows" it!

The first to reach this mental conclusion, our sages tell us, was some four thousand years ago, in the person of Abraham. Maimonides describes Abraham's search for the driving force behind the universe. He began to ask the right questions even as a young child, and concluded that there must be one supreme power that created everything and controls it all. In a world filled with idolatry and statue cults, Abraham discovered faith - in the One Supreme Being.

This belief gave birth to the Jewish people, who then bequeathed this faith in One to all of humanity.

It came a long way. It began with Abraham smashing the idols in his father Terach's store. It made its way through struggles with false prophets during the early history of the Jewish people. And finally it transformed to a heritable monotheism that all of humanity can now accept.

Yet another obstacle not too long ago then materialized, a seemingly formidable roadblock. In the two last centuries major breakthroughs in science gave people something with which they could replace God. Science was quickly cracking the secrets of creation, and formulas and laws could be imputed to displace belief in a supernatural force. Intellect could now outmaneuver belief with intricate explanations of Nature's phenomena.

But here too the new wave of rebellion faded. Just when science became extremely sophisticated, just when it revealed the incredible level of complexity in every tiny factor newly discovered, theory became completely upended and - behold - it was moving inexorably in the direction that Torah and Judaism originally stood for. The further science probed into the secrets of the world, the more it revealed how impotent it stood before the awesome intricacies that existed even in the tiniest morsel under inspection. The claim that things arose by managed randomness or that circumstance played a role became ever more ridiculous and laughable.

Even today, after having split the atom, sent telescopes into outer space and landed on Mars, after creating the greatest and fastest computers, TVs and cellular telephones, we cannot help but remain awestruck at a how little we know about the mechanisms inside - even one cell of the body, or even in one cell of a fly's wing. All that creation entails simply boggles even our "sophisticated" mind.

No question we often come across events when our minds question the Supernal Being. But here we see just how limited our rationale is, and how strong our faith must kick in, for, as the prophet Isaiah (55:8) proclaims, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are My ways yours!"

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Lech Lecha: Get going!

This week's Torah portion, "לך לך", starts with a command to our forefather Abraham, "Get yourself going from your land ... to the land I will show you."

G-d demanded of Abraham to leave his land, his birthplace and his father's house, to go to some unknown place. Rashi explains that G-d did not reveal to Abraham his destination in order to endear him to the land he yearns to discover.

A deeper perspective is this, as per the Alter Rebbe; By obeying the command, "Keep going", i.e., when the Jew unchains himself and sheds all measures and boundaries that his spiritual worship had heretofore taken on, and leaves this plateau to reach for a higher one, he will reach the plateau of "that which I will show you"; G-d will reveal to him the essence of man's Jewish core.

Let's merit to live with our forefather Abraham, to reach higher plateaus, by shedding bad habits and imaginary boundaries, and we'll merit seeing the real essence of our Jewishness ... and may we soon dance together, at the 3rd Temple, with King Moshiach!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Syrians Slaughtered

Bashar Assad's security forces have now killed over 4,000 Syrians; In Homs more than 1,200; In Daraa more than 700; In Idlib more than 500; And about 500 in Chama.

A voice from the Syrian opposition groups said that in the 7 months of uprising against the government, about 4,000 civilians have been killed across the country - and not 3,000 as claimed by U.N. organizations.

This message was given over by Rachel Lipkin, assigned to an Arabic listening channel of Voice of Israel.

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