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Purim: Celebrating Randomness

The story of Purim, which we read in the Book of Esther, is a story about a righteous Jewish leader who held fast to his principles refusing to bow down to a rabid anti-Semite. It’s a story about a courageous Jewish queen, Esther, who saved her people risking her life. And yet, this holiday is not called by the name of Mordechai or Esther, it  is called Purim, because, as the Book of Esther informs us: For Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the adversary of all the Jews, had devised to destroy the Jews, and he cast the pur—that is the lot—to terrify them and destroy them… Therefore, they called these days Purim after the name pur. (Book of Esther, 9:24,26) This is odd because the casting of the lot (pur) [...]

From Purim to Passover

The Shulchan Aruch – the Code of Jewish Law – states that 30 days before Pesach (Passover) one needs to start learning the laws of Pesach. The simple meaning of this directive is clear – the laws are many and complicated and there is a lot to learn – so one needs to start early. There may be a deeper meaning in this, however. Let us recall that Pesach and Purim are exactly 30 days apart. To start learning about Pesach 30 days before, means to start learning about Pesach on Purim. Or, perhaps, the message is that from Purim we can learn about Pesach. The word Purim means “lot.” The story of Purim is about throwing lots. Evil Haman threw one lot to choose a month for the pogrom against Jews of [...]

By | April 19th, 2014|Freedom, Passover (Pesach), Purim, Randomness, Uncategorized, Yom Kippur|0 Comments

Second Adar – The Month of Quantum Physics

Today is Rosh Chodesh Adar Bet – the New Moon and the beginning of the second month of Adar.  If we ever to have a month commemorating Quantum Physics, there would be no more appropriate month for that than the second month of Adar – Adar Bet.  A state of superposition is a physical state unique to quantum theory.  In classical physics (such as Newtonian mechanics or thermodynamics) a physical system is either in a state A or a state B. Only in quantum physics a system can be in a blended state C which is a linear superposition of states A and B. For example, if the spin of an electron can be Up or Down.  However, an electron can be in a blurred state of superposition of states Up and Down, which [...]

The Entangled Twins

Entanglement is often called the most baffling and the most quintessential aspect of quantum mechanics. What is entanglement, in a nutshell? Two particles born out of one reaction (or two particles that interacted through a collision) remain connected, no matter how distant from each other. A change in the status of one particle instantaneously causes a change in the status in the other particle. Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance." Entanglement is often associated with certain symmetry and corresponding laws of conservation. For example, the law of conservation of angular momentum requires that the spin (the quantum-mechanical analog of the angular momentum) of two entangled particles always point in the opposite directions. This means that, if two entangled particles have their spin in a state of superposition of Up (↑) and Down (↓) and we collapse [...]

By | November 3rd, 2013|Entanglement, Purim, Symmetry, Toledot, Uncategorized|0 Comments