Uncertainty Principle

/Uncertainty Principle

Tzitzit, Korach, and Wave-Particle Duality

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 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. 15:37,38) They [Korach and his men] assembled against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and the Lord is in their midst. So why do you raise yourselves above the Lord's assembly” (Num. 16:3)   The Torah portion Shlach, which we read last Shabbat, deals primarily with the fiasco of the spies sent by Moses to scout out the land of Canaan. The portion ends, however, seemingly out of [...]

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 one state or the other, say 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, the spin of an electron can be either Up or Down.  However, an electron can be in a blurred state of [...]

Splitting of the Sea

Do you like riddles?  Here is a riddle – what do these two figures represent in the context of Exodus?   No Idea?  How about a hint? Still no idea? Okay, here is the answer: Yes, the first figure represents two doorposts and the lintel marked with the blood of Passover sacrifice, as it says: וְלָקְחוּ, מִן-הַדָּם, וְנָתְנוּ עַל-שְׁתֵּי הַמְּזוּזֹת, וְעַל-הַמַּשְׁקוֹף--עַל, הַבָּתִּים, אֲשֶׁר-יֹאכְלוּ אֹתוֹ, בָּהֶם And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel, upon the houses wherein they shall eat it.  (Ex. 12:7) The second picture is of the splitting of the sea, as it says: וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם, בַּיַּבָּשָׁה; וְהַמַּיִם לָהֶם חוֹמָה, מִימִינָם וּמִשְּׂמֹאלָם And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the [...]

Maarat HaMachpelah – Double Cave

Give me the Machpelah (double) Cave Genesis 23:9 The first legal acquisition of land in Israel takes place in this Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, when Abraham purchases a double cave, Maarat HaMachpelah, in the city of Chevron (Hebron) as an ancestral burial plot. Today, the immense rectangular structure built over the cave more than 2000 years ago during Herodian era is the oldest house of worship in the world in continuous use. Biblical commentator Rashi explains that the cave was called Machpelah (lit., double) because it had two structures—an upper chamber and a lower chamber. (Another explanation given in the Talmud relates the name of this cave to thee couples buried there—Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah. According to Kabbalah, Adam and Eve are buried there as well (Zohar, Ruth 96). Cave of the Patriarchs [...]

Witnesses – See and be Seen

By the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall the one liable to death be put to death; he shall not be put to death by the mouth of one witness. (Devarim-Deuteronomy 17:6) I wrote about witnesses in my earlier post imaginatively called Witnesses. As Deuteronomy, restates many mitzvoth (commandments) introduced earlier, which is why it is also called Mishneh Torah – the repetition of Torah – the portion Shoftim-Judges restates the law of witnesses first introduced in in the book of Bamidbar-Numbers, portion Massei. So we shall revisit this fascinating subject. The Judgment of the Sanhedrin: "He is Guilty!" (1892 painting by Nikolai Ge) I.     An accused criminal and a Schrödinger cat Most criminals are convicted in the US bases on circumstantial evidence. Rare is the case when a jury gets to hear [...]

Holy Smoke

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 In the last post, Thou Shall Not Collapse God's Wavefunction, we discussed the notion that God only appears to man in a cloud of smoke, for which reason, the Kohen Gadol – High Priest – had to fill Kodesh Hakadoshim – the Holy of Holies – with the smoke of ketoret (incense), before entering it. On Shavuot, we read the Torah portion from Shemot (Exodus), Ch. XIX, in which this concept is made very explicit – "The entire Mount Sinai smoked because the Lord had descended upon it…" There is great symbolism in this smoke, which preceded the Revelation, when God gave Jewish People Ten Commandments. As we discussed [...]

Thou Shall Not Collapse God’s Wavefunction

Acharei Mot  1. And the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron's two sons, when they drew near before the Lord, and they died. 2. And the Lord said to Moses: Speak to your brother Aaron, that he should not come at all times into the Holy within the dividing curtain, in front of the cover that is upon the ark, so that he should not die, for I appear over the ark cover in a cloud. (Leviticus 16:1-2) This parshah describes the service of the Kohen Gadol – the High Priest – performed on Yom Kippur. Why does it start by referencing the death of the two sons of Aaron (the first Kohen Gadol), Nadav and Avihu?  What relevance does this have to the topic at hand?  As we read earlier, [...]

The Theological Uncertainty Principle

I came across a post by Rabbi Herzl Hefter on Mekom Torah that I found so profound, I felt compelled to repost it here. The Theological Uncertainty Principle The Theological Uncertainty Principle emerges from the teachings of Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner (1800-1854) (henceforth RMY) and his son Rabbi Yaakov Leiner both of Ishbica. Let us consider the following commentary offered by RMY in his work the Mei HaShiloah (henceforth MH) on Parshat Yitro: “I (in Heb., Anochi) am the Lord your God”.  The verse does not state ‘Ani,’ for if it stated ‘Ani’ that would imply that the Holy One Blessed Be He revealed then the totality of His light to Israel, precluding the possibility of further delving into his words, for everything is already revealed. The letter “Kaf” (of Anochi), however, denotes that the [...]

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