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Numbers — the Fourth Book of Torah

The Pilot Wave

And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, even the tent of the testimony; and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it, and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud was taken up from over the Tent, then after that the children of Israel journeyed; and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel encamped. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they encamped: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they remained encamped. And when the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel [...]

Mishkan – a Metaphor for Quantum Reality, II

Continuing the theme of my last post, Mishkan – a Metaphor for Quantum Reality, the analogy between the Tabernacle (“Mishkan”) and quantum reality goes even deeper. The quantum world is best described today by the Quantum Field Theory. According to this theory, there are no particles, only fields. When we interact with a field, it manifests itself as a quantum of the field, which, to some extent, looks and behaves like a particle. For example, when we interact with an electromagnetic field, it manifests itself as a photon – a quantum of the electromagnetic field. An electron, according to the Quantum Field Theory, is not really a particle but a quantum of the electron field, which is a quantum field that is spread across the entire universe. This quantum is an excitation of [...]

Mishkan – a Metaphor for Quantum Reality

And when the Tabernacle is set to travel, the Levites shall take it down; and when the Tabernacle camps, the Levites shall set it up… (Num. 1:51) During the wonders of Israelites in the desert, the Tabernacle (Heb. “Mishkan”), existed as a sanctuary only during their encampments. Whenever they traveled, the Mishkan was taken down and disassembled to be carried by Levites during the journey. When God commanded Moses to set the camp, the Mishkan was reassembled and set up again. Let us fast forward some three-and-a-half thousand years to the beginning of the 20 c. It was a time of great intellectual turmoil. The discovery of the atom’s structure by Rutherford, according to which atom resembled a solar system with a nucleus at the center and electrons orbiting the nucleus, was followed [...]

Tree of Life or Nothingness

In the Torah portion Shlach (Numbers 13:1-15:41),  Moses instructs his spies to scout the land of Canaan and to bring back a report. He says to them: … What is the soil like – is it fat or lean? Are there any trees in it or not? You shall be courageous and take from the fruit of the land. (Num. 13:20) The verse seems pretty straight-forward – bring the fruits of the land as a proof that there fruit trees in the land. The trouble is, this is not exactly what the verse says. Translated literally, the verse reads: … What is the soil like – is it fat or lean? Is there a tree in it or nothing? You shall be courageous and take from the fruit of the land. This literal [...]

By |2018-06-08T07:07:49+00:00January 22nd, 2016|Numbers, Pentateuch (Chumash), Shlach, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Balak and Balaam – an entangled pair

In my last year’s post Balak, Interference of Souls, I suggested that Balak needed Balaam (Bilam) to cause constructive interference to make the curse more powerful. This year, while reading this Torah portion last Shabbat, I realized that there was another reason for which Balak needed Balaam – the entanglement. As I wrote last year, both Balak and Balaam received evil aspects of the souls of Cain and Abel (Havel) but in different proportions: Balak was primarily a reincarnation (gilgul) of the evil aspect of Cain (although he also received some smaller portion of the evil aspect of the soul of Abel) and Balaam was primarily a reincarnation of the evil aspect of Abel (although he also received some smaller portion of the evil aspect of the soul of Cain). Let us now [...]

By |2016-10-18T15:05:33+00:00January 18th, 2016|Balak|0 Comments

Pesach Sheini – in a State of Superposition

In physics, we speak of systems and states. A system is a collection of physical objects (particles, waves, etc.). A system can be in various states. For example, a coin could have two states – heads and tails. A top also has two possible states – it can be spinning clockwise or counterclockwise. Light can have two states as well – being in the vertical polarization or horizontal polarization. In classical mechanics a system can only be in a pure state, i.e., at any given point in time, a coin can be either in a state “Heads” or the alternative state “Tales”. A top can be spinning either clockwise or counterclockwise, each of which is a pure state. In quantum mechanics, a system can be in a pure state or in a state [...]

String Theory

Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them that they shall make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations, and they shall affix a thread of sky blue [wool] on the fringe of each corner. (Num. 38) This past Shabbat, we read in the Torah portion of Shelach. At the end of that portion, Torah commands us to attached tzitzit—tassels—to the four corners of the garment. Reading about the white and blue strings of the tzitzit brought back childhood memories of how I first “discovered” the string theory. It was early seventies and I was about 12 or 13 years old at the time. Growing up in Russia, alas, I didn’t have a Bar Mitzvah, so I wasn’t busy studying Torah reading, or preparing [...]

Forty Two Journeys to the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything

These are the journeys of the children of Israel… (Numbers 33:1) When G-d brought the Jews out from Egypt, He brought them out with the mystery of the 42-letter name, just as He created heaven and earth… (Zohar Chadash) The forty-two "stations" from Egypt to the Promised Land are replayed in the life of every individual Jew, as his soul journeys from its descent to earth at birth to its return to its Source. (Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov) Torah portion Massei (Num. 33-35) recalls forty-two journeys of the Children of Israel in the Sinai desert after the Exodus from Egypt.  This is not the first time the concept of forty-two journeys appears in the Torah.  Commenting on the Biblical verse, “And God said, ‘Behold, I Will Cause to Rain Bread from Heaven for You,’” (Ex. 25:5) the Midrash [...]

A Girl in a State of Superposition

In my recent post Secrets of the Talking Ass I discussed the phenomenon of Bein HaShmashot (twilight or dusk), which is neither day, nor night, nor both, nor neither, but rather a unique state having its own unique status and laws associated with it. What is interesting about Bein HaShmashot from our point of view is that it is uncannily similar to a quantum-mechanical state of superposition. As we discussed in that blog, an electron can be in a state of superposition of having its spin be up and down (with angular momentum directed clockwise and counterclockwise) or a photon in a state of superposition of horizontal and vertical polarization, or the Schrödinger cat in a state of superposition of being alive and being dead. Just as Bein HaShmashot the cat is neither [...]

Pinchas – the Slayer of Uncertainty

A strange episode at the end of the last Torah portion, Balak, where Pinchas (Phinehas) slain a Jewish prince caught in the act with a heathen woman, is rewarded in this week’s present eponymous Torah portion with the priesthood.  This begs the question, what is the connection between the act of zealotry by Pinchas and the reward of priesthood he receives for it? By way of background, as we read in the previous Torah portion, the evil king, Balak, fails to bring a curse on the Jewish people by Bilam (Balaam).  According to Midrash, Bilam advises Balak to send most beautiful Midian women to seduce Jewish men (see Flavius Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter VI, Paragraphs 6-12). Balak heads the advice and uses Moabite and Midianite women to seduce Jewish men [...]