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Shavuot

Pentecost — The second major Jewish holiday of pilgrimage (Yomim Noraim) in the annual cycle, also spelled as Shavuos, Shvuos or Shavuoth

Shavuot and Three States of Consciousness

Shavuot (a.k.a. the Feast of Weeks, or “Pentecost”) is the only Jewish holiday that has no fixed day in a calendar – it is always the 50th day from the beginning of counting of the Omer—Sefirot HaOmer. What is so special about the number and what is its connection to Shavuot? Shavuot is not only the culmination of the counting of the sefirah, but it is a culmination of the process of maturation of our consciousness. On Shavuot, it is customary to read the Book of Ruth (Megilat Rut). The story begins with Lot and his daughters running away from Sodom and hiding in a mountain cave. Seeing the destruction of Sodom, the daughters of Lot suspected that God in his fury destroyed the whole of humanity and they were the only people [...]

613 Degrees of Freedom

Passover has ended.  All Jews hastily remove their Passover dishes into special cabinets or the attic until next Passover.  After an eight-day break, home becomes filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread.  Passover leaves us with the pleasant taste of burnt matzot, memories of the Seder spent with family, and stories of the Exodus.  But did Passover really end? In the Mishnah (the precursor of Talmud), the holiday of Shavuot (Pentecost) is called “Atzeret.”  This word is familiar to us from Shemini Atzeret—the holiday that follows immediately after the seven days of Sukkot, often simply viewed as the last day (or, in Diaspora, the last two days) of Sukkot.  Either way, Shemini Atzeret is the conclusion of the festival of Sukkot.  By designating Shavuot as Atzeret, the Mishnah seems to imply that it is [...]

By | June 6th, 2014|Freedom, Passover (Pesach), Shavuot, Space, Spirituality, Time, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Sotah – Suspected Adulteress as a Schrödinger Cat

In quantum mechanics, the state of a physical system is described by the so-called wave function (or the "wavefunction").  What is the wavefunction?  The attempts by Schrödinger, who first introduced the wavefunction, and others to interpret it as a scalar potential of some physical field or as de Broglie wave (as in particle-wave dualism) were not successful.  In 1926, Max Born noticed that the square of the amplitude of the wavefunction of a particle in a given region gives the probability of finding the particle in this region of configuration space.  He suggested that the wavefunction represented not a physical reality but rather our knowledge of the quantum state of an object. The wavefunction represents our knowledge of all possible quantum-mechanical states of an object.  In other words, the quantum-mechanical state of a physical [...]

Carpe Diem

As we have discussed in the previous blog, It’s the time, stupid, Pharaoh never got the message that it’s all about mastery of time.  To make sure Jews did get this message, God gave them the very first commandment – the commandment of keeping time, of marking new months: This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Ex. 12: 2) It is important to note that Jews were not only commanded to keep time, they were commanded to “make” time.  Indeed, in Biblical times, the new month was not calculated according to a calendar as it is done today.  It was proclaimed by a Bet Din (an ecclesiastic court) based on the testimony of two live witnesses who observed the [...]

Freedom in Space, Time and Spirituality

And the entire Mount Sinai smoked because the Lord had descended upon it in fire, and its smoke ascended like the smoke of the kiln… Exodus 19:18 The Holiday of Shavuot is thought to be a culmination of the Passover. Just as Shmini Atzeret is a culmination of the Holiday of Sukkot and comes after seven days of Sukkot, Shavuot is also called Atzeret and comes after the Holiday of Pesach, albeit separated from it by forty-nine days of Omer. On Shavuot we read a Torah portion from the Chapter 19 of the Book of Shemot (Exodus). We already discussed the verse 18, "Mount Sinai smoked," in the previous post, Mount Sinai smoked because the Lord had descended upon it. Here, I'd like to focus on the word "smoked" from a different perspective. [...]

Passover, Shabbat and the Principle of Least Action

There is hardly a Jewish holiday more widely celebrated than Passover (Pesach). Jews of all denominations, affiliations, and levels of religious observance—if any at all—gather at the Passover Seder to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. What is often lost amid all of the beautiful rituals, not least among them the singing of Had Gadia and other Seder songs, is the deep meaning of this holiday, which is far more profound than a mere recollection of historical events, no matter how important they may be. What is, then, the deeper meaning of Pesach that transcends its historical significance? On the morrow of Shabbat One obscure and little-known (outside of the observant Jewish community) mitzvah may lead us to a deeper understanding of the meaning of Pesach – this is the commandment [...]