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When was the World Created?

There is a dispute in the Talmud as to when the world was created. According to Rabbi Eliezer, the world was created in the month of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar when we celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShanah. According to Rabbi Yehoshua, the world was created in the first month of the year, the month of Nisan (Tr. Rosh HaShanah, 10b). The Chasidic thought attempts to reconcile these opposite opinions suggesting that both opinions are correct—the world was created in Nisan in thought, whereas in deed, it was created in Tishrei.  The problem with this approach is that for halakhic (Jewish ritual law) purposes of calculating the Jewish calendar, the planets are deemed to have commenced their heavenly orbits in Nisan, not in Tishrei!  How could planets that [...]

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 |2018-06-08T07:07:49-04:00January 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 [...]

By |2019-07-16T22:57:19-04:00January 18th, 2016|Balak, Bamitbar, Entanglement, Numbers, Pentateuch (Chumash)|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 or 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 single state, i.e., at any given point in time, a coin can be either in a state “Heads” or in the alternative state “Tales”. A top can either be spinning clockwise or counterclockwise. In quantum mechanics, a system can also be in a state of superposition. Let us say, the system has two possible states A and B. If a [...]

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