Mattot

Parshat Matot, NUmbers 30:2-32:42. מַּטּוֹת a.k.a. Mattoth or Mattos

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 [...]

Matos-Massei – Annulment of Vows

A story is told about a bachur (an unmarried young man) who came in the 60s to the Lubavitcher Rebbe for the yechidus (private audience) telling the Rebbe that he wanted to go college. Those days, American colleges, by and large, were not exactly institutions of higher learning but, more often, venues for drugs, sex, and rock and roll. The Rebbe strongly advised the visitor against going to college, but the young man was hell-bound on going through with his plan. The Rebbe said to him, “Even if you don’t care about the spiritual dangers and impurity of such a place, I do! And you and I are connected. Why are you dragging me along with you?!” The moral of that story is simple—chasidim and their Rebbe are entangled together. Wherever a chasid [...]

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