Friday, March 04, 2005

Science Slowly Catches Up With Torah

The following is the first two-thirds of a discussion on the confluence of science with Torah Temima. Science still has a long way to go, but over the last century it has finally dropped most of its false presumptions which have kept mankind in the dark about the physical world since the dawn of history. It is making inroads in catching up with where the Torah always has been, is, and will be. Of course, the Torah describes the blueprint for much more that just the physical world. Yet, a proper discussion of the End of Days cannot be conducted unless we learn a thing or two about the history of the physical world which is completely in line with the Torah's view of the matter.

It is clear to me that there is some resistance in the Torah world to accepting that there is a growing confluence between the Torah’s perfection and wholesomeness with the discoveries of modern science. This may be so because so many modern scientists try to deny the existence of divine providence making their discoveries blasphemous. In reality the discoveries made using the rigors of the scientific method are not blasphemous just the perspective of those making them. On the other hand, to our detriment, there may exist a basic ignorance amongst torah scholars regarding these often highly technical and rigorous discoveries. Or maybe the Torah Giants fully understand these things, but they fear that their students will not understand and will therefore be lead astray.[1] People who spend their lives in the toil of Torah do not all have the time to receive their doctorates in astrophysics, nor should they need to. Yet, without a basic knowledge in the hard sciences we can not openly discuss a growing understanding of how the world works, giving us a greater awe for the One who is pulling all the levers. I suggest that we try and educate ourselves in this true wisdom that exists in the world at large. The Torah tells us that the non-Jewish world will recognize us for our wisdom.[2] Our commentaries tell us that this is in regard to our knowledge in Astronomy, for we know how to calculate the cycles of the moon and how they intertwine with the cycles of the solar seasons.[3] Let me ask how many of us really know the basics of Astronomy. Should we not work on ourselves in this area so that the Torah’s accolade will be true? Secondly, I would politely argue that ignorance of these matters can lead to a tremendous desecration of G-d’s name. Several years ago a well-known Israeli Dairy started putting dinosaurs on the lids of their yogurts when Spielberg’s Jurassic Park started playing in Israeli theatres. A well-known hechsher (kosher certification committee) here promptly removed their certification of the yogurts. This was picked up by every major American media outlet. C.N.N.’s Ted Turner, who delights at the idea of pointing out that G-d fearing people are anachronistic, played the same segment for days on end, a segment that demeaned the Torah and those who uphold it. The entire sorted affair could have been avoided. An open discussion in the yeshiva world about how to properly respond to the large scale existence of dinosaur bones on every major continent of the planet could have prevented this. The Jewish view of evolution as hinted at by the Torah’s use of the word Assah (made) for time dependent processes and Barah (created) for instantaneous ex-nihilo creation can be emphasized from a young age. The important point is that it is G-d doing the making and the creating, and not one molecule of matter is out of place without his consent during any process. Just as the Jewish view of abortion which bans most abortions but allows it under certain circumstances differs from the Fundamentalist Christian view, so does the Jewish view of evolution vary from the Fundamentalist Christian view of this matter too. The above Hillul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s Name) could have been avoided. Let us work together so that it does not happen again.

Secondly, I have a very strong reason for introducing this information now. A portion of my thesis in trying to prove this is the End of Days as prophesized by the Prophets of Israel, a thesis which I hope to develop over the next several essays, is dependent on being educated in these matters. An immediate rejection of the idea that the Earth is 4 billion years older than Adam and Chava (Eve) and that the universe is approximately 11 billion years older than the earth will stifle a full and open discussion of a more urgent matter, preparation for what is upon us already, the Wars of Gog and Magog. Our Sages of the Ages (Chazal) kept those 5 ½ days of creation separate from the generations of Adam for a reason. It does not make me feel any better that the world was created on the 25th of Elul (five days before Rosh Hashana) of the Year Zero than if it were created by the same Infinite Being 15 billion years ago. There is nothing in the Torah that says that you should feel better about it too. We will discuss later in this essay how these 15 billion years in our reference frame condense down to six 24 hour days in G-d’s reference frame. We will demonstrate this using Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

Let us get down to the business of understanding. Let me introduce you to the following which was written by Aryeh Kaplan, one of the Torah geniuses of the last 50 years. I will paraphrase what appeared in O-U magazine, Fall 5752/1991,volume 51 #4. According to the 1st century Tanna (Talmudic scholar before the Oral Torah was written down in the Mishna in 190 c.e.), Rav Nechunya ben HaKanah in his kabbalistic work (Sefer HaT’munah), the history of the universe is composed of sabbatical cycles. Each day of creation, therefore corresponds to a 7000 year sabbatical cycle. Therefore, the six days of creation really lasted 42,000 years. Over 1200 years later, in the thirteen hundreds, Rav Yitzchak of Acco went much further. Here I must quote Rav Kaplan. Hold on to your seat.

“Rabbi Yitzchok of Acco was a sudent and colleague of the Ramban (Nachmanides, remember him from above?). and one of the foremost Kabbalists of his time. Ie is quoted often in Rabbi Eliyahu de Vidas’ great mussar classic, Reishit Chochmah (Beginning of Wisdom). He was also contemporary to the publication of the Zohar (Illumination), and is renowned as the individual who investigated (and verified) its authenticity.

“A number of years ago, as part of a research project, I got my hands on a photocopy of one of Rabbi Yitzchok’s important works, Otzar HaChaim, (Lenin State Library, Moscow, Guenzberg Collection #775). This is the only complete copy of the manuscript, which is itself several centuries old, in existence. I was almost overwhelmed when I discovered an entirely new interpretation of the concept of Sabbatical cycles in this manuscript.

“Rabbi Yitzchok writes that since these Sabbatical cycles existed before Adam, their chronology must be measured not in human years, but in divine years. (
my emphasis on Rabbi Kaplan’s words) Since, according to many midrashic sources, a Divine day is a thousand earthly years, then a Divine year, consisting of 365 ¼ days, is equal to 365,250 years. Therefore, when the Sefer HaT’munah states that the world is 42,000 years old, it is not speaking of human years, but of Divine years. This will have some startling consequences.

“Thus according to Rabbi Yitzchok of Acco, the universe would be 42,000 x 365,250 years old. This is a highly significant figure. From all calculations based on the expanding universe and other cosmological observation, modern science has concluded that the Big Bang occurred approximately fifteen billion years ago. But here we see the same figure presented in a Torah source written over 700 years ago!!

“I am sure that many will find this highly controversial. However, it is important to know that such a classical opinion exists. One of the most important Kabbalists of seven centuries ago calculated the age of the universe, and came to the same conclusion as modern science.”

For those of you who may not want to do the math, I will do it for you. According to Rav Yitzchok of Acco, who helped bring us the Zohar over 700 years ago, the universe is 15,330,000,000 years old. Now let us look at the work of Dr. Gerald Schroeder.

The difference between Dr. Schroeder’s perspective and Rav Yitzchok’s is obvious. Rav Yitzchok did not come up with a theory to “justify” the Torah’s perspective in front of an audience of Jewish scientists who might otherwise laugh at its claims. His discussion of the age of the universe is not offered to counter the presence of dinosaur bones in Natural History museums which are 100,000,000 years old. It is offered by Rav Yitzchok as Torah for its own sake. Thank G-d Lenin did not have his manuscript burnt, for he had done so, we might never know of its magnificence. Yet, I would argue what Dr. Schroeder has to offer is no less magnificent. For in our generation as we peer through the waste of jackasses as Rav Ezriel Tauber would say it, it is magnificent that we can see some things with clarity. Finally, finally after 3 ½ centuries since the onset of the scientific method by Frances Bacon, various fields in the sciences have finally progressed to the point where the Torah, as it always is and has been, has begun to accept it, that is science, as fingers fit into a well-fitting glove. Gerald Schroeder’s theories, I believe, comprise one of the glove openings for the Torah’s fingers.

I suggest that you read Dr. Schroeder's book, The Science of G-d . He has other books such as Genesis and the Big Bang, but The Science of G-d seems to be the most comprehensive. Keep in mind that the Torah itself does not say that the creation of the universe from the moment of creation of time, space , and matter was only 5765 years ago. What occurred 5764 years ago from last Rosh Hashana was the expulsion of Man with his lofty neshama (Soul made from G-d’s “breath”) from the Garden of Eden. Since Man and Chava (aka. Eve) his wife were expelled on Rosh Hashana[4] in the year One, every year we are rejudged on that date. Everything that is described in the Torah that has occurred from the moment that Adam was thrown out of the Garden has occurred in the ensuing 5765 years of our terrestrial reference frame.

The five days and most of the sixth day (each one a 24 hour day) that preceded the expulsion as described in the Torah did not take place in our reference frame, but in the reference frame of the Creator. The proof of this is that the Earth as a planet was not formed until the 2nd Day. Only matter, space, and time were created out of nothing on Day One (see Nachmanides detailed, accurate, 800 year old explanation.) along with the formation (yetzira) of already existing light. This is why anyone who prays using a Jewish prayerbook knows that G-d “formed light and created darkness.” The light that was formed on the first day is an emanation from the Creator, himself, in his pre-existent eternal universe, Atziluth. Planet Earth and the Sun that it revolves around were formed from existing matter on Day 2. Rashi on the the Talmud in Chagiga 12A discusses how the sun was made (assah) on the second day but did not become visible along with the moon and the stars for determining seasons and festivals until the 4th day. The secret, of course, lies in the third day, when greenery sprouted all over the globe turning a poisonous, translucent atmosphere into an oxygen-rich, transparent one. The hint on Day Two that the kadur ha’aretz, planet Earth, was formed is in the written Torah and can be found in the description of the separation of waters into upper ones and lower ones by a “rakia”. The upper waters are placed above the rakia. This is probably a reference to the interstellar gas clouds composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, the primordial stuff of creation (hyly according to the Ramban). The lower waters were real water where the hydrogen from those same interstellar gas clouds chemically combined with oxygen which had been fused in the bellies of older supergiant stars that had supernovaed, spewing out heavier elements as their intergalactic garbage. This real H2O then covered the entire surface of the earth as the heavier elements and compounds congealed underneath it to form unexposed solid land. In between is the rakia, a Hebrew word composed of two Hebrew words sharing a common consonant. Those two words are Raik Ra (poisonous vacuum, an almost absolute vacuum in which we earthbound creatures cannot breathe.)[5] Later on on Day 4 we are told that the sun and the moon have been placed “in” the rakia between the lower and upper waters. On Day 5 we are told that birds whose nefashot (animal souls) were created ex-nihilo could fly up to (על-פני) but not into the rakia. Flying in outer space would cause a great problem for oxygen breathing birds. From all of the above it is obvious that “spaceship Earth” was molded on the 2nd day of creation.

Therefore we must gain an understanding of what it means that the description of Ma’aseh Bereishit (the Deeds of Creation) and the story of what happened in the Garden of Eden occurred within the reference frame of the Creator. In order to understand what "the reference frame of the Creator" is, one needs a basic introduction to Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity. The gist of the matter is, though, that the Creator's reference frame is, of course, the entire universe. If the name Hashem had been used in the description of the 6 days, one could say that the reference frame of the Creator was fully transcendent to the universe. Yet, since the Torah itself uses the name Elokim, it is more than hinting that the Creator was immersed in the universe that He was molding from the moment that He brought it into being. In Physics this is called the moment of quark confinement when matter comes forth from pure energy. At this point matter, space, and time come forth from nothing. Since the process of conversion of energy into matter itself requires time and space, matter could not have come into being from energy unless time and space had already been created. Contact your local Kabbalist for an explanation of this process called "tsimtsum". Pure energy is timeless since "Ohr" is an emanation of the Creator's pre-existence (for He is Yotzer Ohr but Boreh Choshech. He forms light, but He creates darkness). This is at least a partial source for the concept in Special Relativity that an object traveling nearer and nearer to the speed of light experiences a time span that approaches infinity in the reference frame of another stationary object while it experiences one second in its reference frame. This would explain that if an object of matter could actually reach the speed of light, the passage of time would be infinite taking this matter outside of our universe into the "complete absorption" of YKVK, the name of G-d which means infinity, for only He can exist in an infinite reference frame. Again, consult your local Kabbalist. I think that one may need to study the Baal Tanya (the Alter Rebbe of Lubavitch) for his explanation which I am sure is clearer than mine. Remember physics as opposed to metaphysics can only describe a universe that is. Physics cannot describe a universe that has not yet come into being or one that exists outside the parameters of space, time, and matter. In my best way I hope to explain something that those who are taking third Semester University Physics courses have a difficult time understanding, but here it goes.

Imagine that person A is standing on earth watching person B approach earth in a spaceship with a headlight on the nose of the spaceship. The spaceship is traveling at 10% of the speed of light towards the earth. Person A will insist that light from that spacecraft is reaching him at the speed of light. Person B will insist that the light leaving his spaceship is leaving at the speed of light. The problem is, of course, if person B is traveling at 10% of the speed of light towards earth and if a light beam is leaving his spaceship at the speed of light, then the speed that this light beam as it approaches earth should be 110% of the speed of light. Thus thinks the person on board the spaceship. On earth person A is thinking that since the spaceship is moving toward him at 10% of the speed of light and the light beam is approaching him at the speed of light, surely the light beam is leaving the nose of the spaceship at 90% of the speed of light. You should now be puzzled. HOW CAN THEY BOTH BE RIGHT?! The answer, of course, lies with one of the most spectacular empirically proven postulates of all time, The Basic Postulate of Relative Motion. “The speed of light is the same in all reference frames.” In short H.A. Lorentz and Einstein say yes to person A who insists that the light beam is approaching him at the speed of light and yes to person B who insists that the beam is leaving his craft at the speed of light. The 10% discrepancy you may ask about. There can only be one possible explanation. The passage of time for the person on the spacecraft actually slows down by 10%. (The math for this is more complicated than the explanation, and in reality time dilation at 10% of the speed of light is less than 1%, but I continue with this explanation so that qualitatively one can understand the concept of time dilation. See below.[6]) The interval between a tick and a tock on board his spaceship will, believe it or not, include 1.11 ticks and tocks here on Planet earth. After 10 seconds on board the spaceship, over eleven seconds will have passed on earth. Smoke and mirrors, you say! Impossible! The problem is, though, this effect called “time dilation” has been observed time and again under laboratory conditions, measuring decreases in radioactive decay of higher and higher speed nuclear particles in particle accelerators. It has also been observed with very accurate clocks which tick more slowly on high-speed aircraft than they tick here on earth. Of course as one approaches the speed of light the effect can become breathtakingly drastic. At 90% of the speed of light, someone traveling aboard a spacecraft for 10 years will come back to earth, ten of his years later, and all of his children and his children’s children will be long dead. As amazing as this is, nothing can compare to the ultimate conclusions that one can draw from where Albert Einstein took the world after this. In 1915 he introduced his General Theory of Relativity. Here he left Lorentz and all other contemporary theoreticians in the dust. In order to discuss special relativity one must be talking about the relative motion of two objects. In Special Relativity, the rest of the universe can be ignored. In General Relativity, Gravity not relative velocities is the agent of time dilation. The higher the gravitaitional field, the greater the stretching of light to leave a heavy-duty gravitational field, the slower time passes under the influence of this high gravity field. Again, what is the reference frame of the Creator as He fills the universe with His Glory. His reference frame is the collective gravitational pull of the entire universe. What is our reference frame? Puny planet Earth’s reference frame.
From the reference frame of the collective gravitational pull of all 10 to the 56th power grams of the created universe to our puny low gravity reference frame, time is dilated by a factor of one million million. This is a calculated figure from the equations of General Relativity. If we could somehow exist in a “garden” and experience the reference frame of the Creator of the universe, we would not only smell the roses but between every tick and every tock, the terrestrial low gravity universe outside of this special “garden” would tick one million million times (10 to the 12th times) faster. Inside our “garden” with the Creator we would experience the relative passage of time 10 to the 12th times more slowly. 15 billion years outside our “garden” would pass by in 15x 10 to the 9th / 10 to the 12th years. This equals .015 years. .015 years, of course, is equal to 5 ½ twenty-four hour days!

[1] This is precisely what Gerald Schroeder found out when he was asking Roshei Yeshivot (Jewish Academy heads) here in Israel. They all knew what Nachmanides, 800 years ago, said about Man existing as an animal before G-d gave him his divine soul of transcendent life “nishmat Chaim”, but most of them did not want to open a “Pandora’s box “ of discussing an appropriate Jewish response to random evolution. The Science of G-d, p. 127. The exception to this rule was Rav Aharon Lichtenstein who did not mind discussing it with his students.
[2] Deut. 4:5-6
[3] Midrash Yalkut Shimoni on Deut. 4:6, Va’ethhanan 3:4
[4] the New Year for the Judgment of Man, beginning of sabbatical years and jubilee years and for tithing grains and vegetables
[5] Isaac Mozeson in The Word: The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Source of English, Shapolsky Publishers, 1989 discusses two potential origins of the word rakia. One is from the word reka as in “racking” up a background on which heavenly bodies can be placed. A deeper understanding of the origin of this word comes from his entry under the English word “crack” which he traces back to Qof Resh Ayin, QaRa (ng or ck since gutturals at the end of foreign words are often pronounced that way.) From here he says that the original two word source was raik ריק meaning vacuum or empty space which is formed from tearing (qara קרע) a solid object in two. From earlier on in his book when he discusses the formation of three letter consonantal roots from two two letter roots, one derive from rules that he proposes that the second two letter root is ra(guttural) רע.
[6] The transformation between real time and relativistic time that is being used here is a linear one, corresponding with the following equation. T(rel.) = t(earth) x (1- v/c) where T(rel.) = time aboard spacecraft v= velocity of spacecraft, and c= speed of light. The actual Lorentz transformation equation takes into account that space is curved (or warped) by fast moving spacecraft. A light beam emitted from the nose follows the curvature of that warp even though from earth it looks like a straight line. 110% of the speed of light from the space craft is in part reduced by the space warp and in part reduced by time dilation (time warp) The actual equation for time dilation is :
T(rel.) = t(earth) x sq.rt [1-(v/c)sqared]. Notice that as v approaches c, T(rel.) becomes closer to zero. When v = speed of light, time ceases to flow on board the space craft. Those on board merge with the Infinite.

17 Comments:

Blogger MatzahNacho said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/04/2005 4:37 AM  
Blogger MatzahNacho said...

I'm so glad you're writing about this here. I've been thinking about this topic a lot recently when I noticed many blogs discussing a related controversy, and it saddened me to see so much anger about the subject, especially since we've known for so long that time is relative, and the difference in the perspective of the Creator at the moment of the creation of time itself and our perspective here so late in time would be immense.

I believe in G-d and the divine origin of Torah, and I expect that Torah and science will reconcile once science catches up, which in some ways it seems it has, it just doesn't want to use the word G-d. Eventually it won't have a choice.

After an interesting experience about a week ago where I multiplied a few very simple numbers and got a huge number that was so close to what I've read is the estimated age of the universe that it nearly knocked me off my chair, I searched online for some related material, and I found this article over at Aish:

Age of the UniverseI want to share an experience from ordinary life that shows in a simple way that time is relative. If you're standing still and a bird flies by, its wings appear to be flapping very quickly, but if the same bird flies along beside the car when you're on the freeway, its wings appear to be flapping slowly. I love it when that happens!:)

3/04/2005 4:40 AM  
Anonymous Yaakov N. said...

Regarding abortion, the fundamentalists have it right: according to the Sheva Mitzvos bnei Noach, abortion is absolutely forbidden to non-Jews. No ifs ands or buts.

In the case of a Jewish woman, her life takes precedence over the not-yet-born baby and in certain life-threatening cases abortions are halachically permissable. But not so for non-Jews.

3/04/2005 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Hugo said...

Regarding abortion, the fundamentalists have it right: according to the Sheva Mitzvos bnei Noach, abortion is absolutely forbidden to non-Jews. No ifs ands or buts.Can u pls state ur source? Thx.

3/04/2005 1:45 PM  
Blogger Yaakov said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/04/2005 4:25 PM  
Blogger Yaakov said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/04/2005 4:29 PM  
Blogger Yaakov said...

It raises questions to rely on a da'as yochid (single opinion) for such a radical thesis. Even more so when the source falls into the category described by R' Chayim Vital, may his merit protect us, in the introduction to the sefer Eitz Chayim:Regarding the matter of the true (or valid) books of Kabbalah which we find, our teacher [the Arizal] said to us that the chain of Kabbalah of the Ravad and his son R' Yitzchak the blind, and his students until the Ramban, they are all true Kabbalah (which was recieved) from the mouth of Eliyahu who was revealed to them.

The rest of the books of Kabbalah which followed the Ramban of blessed memory, do not send your hand upon them, for they were constructed of human intellect, and were not recieved, not from the mouth of the Rishonim and not from the mouth of the Elyonim.

3/04/2005 4:29 PM  
Blogger Yaakov said...

re: Abortion and Noahide law

The commandment prohibiting murder is explicitly stated to Noah by God: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for He made man in the image of God" (Gen. 9:6).

2. A Noahide who kills a human being, even a baby in the womb of its mother, receives the death penalty. This means that one who strikes a pregnant woman, thereby killing the fetus, incurs the death penalty.[1] (The act must have been done at least forty days after conception.[2] Before forty days, the act is in the category of destruction of man's seed, and the transgressor is liable for punishment from heaven, not by a court on earth.)

[1] Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, chapter 9, law 4

[2] Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh Deah, chapter 305, law 23



source: http://www.moshiach.com/action/morality/murder.php

3/04/2005 4:31 PM  
Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

Dear Yakov:

And if the fetus is in the category of a Rodef (pursuer)? Does not a gentile woman have the right to defend herself?

Shabbat Shalom, time for mincha

3/04/2005 5:11 PM  
Blogger Yaakov said...

dov bar leib asked: And if the fetus is in the category of a Rodef (pursuer)? Does not a gentile woman have the right to defend herself?Sanhedrin 67b: "In the name of Rabbi Yishmael they said: A ben Noach [is liable] even for killing a fetus. What is the reasoning of Rabbi Yishmael? Because it is written [Genesis 9:6]: 'Whoever sheds the blood of man by man [literally "in man"], his blood shall be shed'. What is the meaning of 'man in man'? This can be said to refer to a fetus in its mother's womb."

3/04/2005 5:46 PM  
Blogger Yaakov said...

For more details on non-Jews and abortion, see footnotes 19 and 20 here: http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/preemb_notes.html

3/04/2005 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Hugo said...

Yaakov, Thx!

3/07/2005 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Dixon H Harris said...

Rabbi Kaplan mentioned “ divine years”, a concept I have always held credence in but never till now had a word or term for until I read your topic today. It’s the concept that in Hashems’ view one human day is like 1000 years.

I went to an on-line bible resarch web site and looked for the term “ one thousand years “ in both the Hebrew and Christian bibles. To my surprise and a little consternation the web site only came up with that quote in the N.T., and none in the Torah or Tanach.

===============================
2Peter 3:8

" But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day"

==================================


So, my question to myself and to you is: , where did Shimon Kepha ( Simon Peter, who was Jesus disciple and a common fisherman)get this divine year idea if it’s not in the Torah or Tanach? The answer might be that there must have been something about that "divine year " concept in the Oral Traditions of the time( first century of the C.E.). It's interesting that a common laborer would have knowledge and such oral tradition erudition. I had thought that oral traditions were the domain of the scribes, the Levites and learned classes.

Rav Dov, any comment? And thanks again for your stimulating blog.

3/08/2005 6:05 PM  
Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

Dear Dixon:

One does not even need to go to our Oral Torah for the medrashic source that one day in G-d's eyes is 1000 of our years. Every Shabbat I read Tehillim 90 where the reference is mentioned. But now that you mentioned it, there is much in Christianity which is praiseworthy. It has raised Western Man from the muckity muck of abject Paganism. The credo that should be applied to the apostles of Yesu is whatever they said that was true was not new, and whatever they said that was new was not true. The problems with Christianity, the Kingdom of Edom, though, are two-fold.

1. They see their deeds and the deeds of others, which are tainted with making the best of our extenuating circumstances, as being dirty rags. The Talmudic view is the opposite. One who makes the best choice taking into account his extenuating circumstances is a Tzaddik. I believe this Jewish view of a praiseworthy act and Man's accountability to act praiseworthily is the single greatest cause of Christian anti-Semitism, for it obligates the King and the guttersnipe to a moral code which takes the variables of one's life into account. Thank G-d America in its public sphere made itself a nation under G-d as opposed to a nation under Christ. By doing so it inherently dedicated itself to developing a national relationship with the Almighty where it would be judged by real parameters not the ideal ones of the Garden of Eden. For instance, stealing would usually be forbidden, but to save one's life on the open prairie, taking what was not his, would receive compassionate dispensation in an American court as long as it was demonstrable that one's life was at risk. Of course, these real parameters of G-dly law only went to full citizens, not to those who were excluded from citizenship (Indians) or who were considered 3/5 of a human being (black slaves). Jews were given the kindness of enjoying full citizenship. The ink was barely dry on the American Constitution when George (Gog?) Washington swiftly sent off a letter to the Jewish Community of Newport, R.I. letting them know that they were fully emancipated citizens of the new great Republic. The decency of this great act has been truly rewarded to America one thousand-fold.

2. The problem with America, though, lies in Edom's second flaw. Since Christianity offers its believers the World to Come, signed, sealed, and delivered, the main purpose for serving G-d is to build this world, not the World to Come. Such lofty goals as doing what is right on a national scale at the cost of some national prosperity is not part of America's game plan. It never was from America's get go, and it definitely is not part of America's game plan in its twilight. Great individual Americans can be altruists, but America, the nation, does not have a covenant of altruism with its Creator, who has bestowed so much deserved blessing upon it. There is only one nation that has a covenant of altruism, to do what is right for its own sake, with the Creator of the Universe. Only Israel, and those righteous gentiles who cleave to Israel's destiny, has this covenant. Yet, sadly there is one place in the Torah where the Nation of Israel tried to mistakenly combine service to G-d with building a utopia of national prosperity as the goal of this service. It is when they built the Golden Calf on the 17th of Tamuz, 40 days after the greatest national revelation in history, when Moshe was late coming down from Sinai. They really thought that the calf, a representation of potential national prosperity, was a proper repository for the divine presence. They were wrong. They may have been spurred on by a mob of the mixed multitude to hold this view. Such is the result of pure democracy. Yet, at the gateway to the Garden Eden, Israel took a giant step backwards. Does it not make sense that the last great test for Jews in their present exile would be a rejection of this same concept. Jews who are stuck in America, because of the divine largesse which has been bestowed upon it, are making a big mis-calculation. A great nation, the greatest of all gentile nations, has mixed you into its melting pot. It would like to make you into one of them, the mixed multitude. But America is failing now. It is ceasing to play a positive role in G-d's over-arching plan of history. It sits in judgment of His First Born for supposed sins that America itself committed in the early years of its history. That along with the moral abyss that America has sunk into are good enough reasons to be wary about the future under its sovereignty. Leave now if you can afford to. It you are seriously into Kiruv work (bringing Jews close to Judaism), have one foot out the door and a place to go to in the Holy Land. For the United States will have its day of judgment, too. It's great day of founding, July 4, 1776 will be its undoing. You see, that day was the 17th of Tamuz.

I am making this my next blog.

Dov Bar-Leib

3/08/2005 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With regards to your citing of kabbalistic sources to reconcile what the Torah says with what scientists say concerning the age of the universe; the Arizal has already explained that all the various cycles of the jubilee and previous worlds do not refer to physical worlds at all. And that is the authoritative and binding opinion. Furthermore the Rebbe taught that the 5 days before Adam HaRishon were literall 24 hour periods and that we shouldn't be concerned with the flimsy extrapolations that scientists use. Apologetics should be left out of Torah and I doubt any Torah sage believed that a human animal had spread out over the whole earth. Please see Mind Over Matter which presents the Rebbe's perspective on Torah and Science, which is the True perspective.

3/09/2005 11:16 AM  
Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

As a response to the previous post, Rav Yitzkhak of Akko's extrapolation of the 42,000 divine years is not at all a contradiction with the Arizal Hakodesh's statement. Rav Yitzchak, who was closely associated with the verification and publication of the Zohar, not so simply extrapolated those divine years into human years, based on medrashim associated with the verse in Psalm 90 that "1000 years in your eyes are as a day..."

Secondly, noone who writes for this site is disputing Chazal that the five days of creation preceding the Creation of Man were anything but five 24 hour days. According to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, the 15 billion years in accordance with our reference frame, from the universe's creation ,"The Big Bang", were between 5 1/2 and six 24 hour days in G-d's reference frame, mamash (real 24 hour days). No dispute here. Let us all pray that we enter Yom she'kulo Shabbat (a day that will always be Shabbat) really soon. Since Chazal tell us that we were forced out of Gan Eden at dusk (the 12 hour) of the sixth day, it should not be long now, 5765 years in our terrestrial reference frame and counting.

3/09/2005 7:44 PM  
Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

I forgot to mention that in Keliim 8:5 there is a description of "Adnei Sadei" (Masters of the field), animals in the shape of human beings who were human in every way except that they did not have neshamot(divine souls). Of course these "creatures" did not make it alive through the Flood of Noah. After the flood only human beings with neshamot, survived to rebuild the world. These Cro-Magnon "creatures" pre-existed Adam but were also his contemporaries. As it says in the Talmud, after Kayin murdered Hevel, Adam separated from Chava (Eve) for 130 years until the birth of Seth. During that time he had relations with souless beings. According to Dr. Schroeder pp.140-141 of The Science of G-d, the nature of these beings is not so clear. What is known is that the children of these unions did not have divine souls. There is an opinion that these beings were shaidim (demons), but this opinion is far from definitive. According to the Talmud there is a possibility that the corpses of Adnei Sadeh may have required the same respect as a human corpse. This does not sound like a shaid to me.

3/10/2005 1:21 AM  

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