Vayera

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Three Angels: Past, Present, and Future

And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three men stood over against him… (Genesis 18:1-2)   In the Torah portion Vayeira, three men appeared to Abraham as he was sitting at the entrance to his tent. The Talmud states that these three men were angels: Michael, Gabriel, and Rafael. Michael came to tell that Sarah will give birth to a son, Raphael came to heal Abraham after his circumcision, and Gabriel came to destroy Sodom. However, on a metaphorical level, it appears to me that these three angels personify three aspects of time: past, present, and future. Here are several clues that hint at [...]

The Meaning of Life as Taught by Bayesian Angels

And he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold! a ladder set up on the ground and its top reached to heaven; and behold, angels of God were ascending and descending upon it. (Gen. 28:12) Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (a.k.a Baal HaTanya, or the Alter Rebbe) once remarked in Yiddish, “lieben mit di tzait” – live with the time, meaning one should live with Torah portion of the week.  Last week I was taught a lesson on how the current Torah portion affects my thinking, whether I know it or not. Last week I shared with my wife, who is a biophysicist, that while thinking about system biology, I realized that all organisms – from a single cell to multicellular organisms – are Bayesian systems. I knew that the brain is a Bayesian engine, but [...]

Abraham Meets Abraham from a Parallel Universe

And he [Abraham] lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him…  (Genesis 18:2) On this blog, we often discuss the collapse of the wavefunction as the result of a measurement. This phenomenon is called the “measurement problem.” There are several reasons, why the collapse of the wavefunction – part and parcel of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics – is called a problem. Firstly, it does not follow from the Schrödinger equation, the main equation of quantum mechanics that describes the evolution of the wavefunction in time, and is added ad hoc. Secondly, nobody knows how the collapse happens or how long it takes to collapse the wavefunction.  This is not to mention that any notion that the collapse of the wavefunction is caused by human consciousness, [...]

Sensing Spirituality

Scientists do not use the term “spirituality” not only because it is not clearly defined, but because one cannot detect it, measure it, prove or disprove its existence with any laboratory equipment. The number one argument against anything spiritual is that it has never been detected in any laboratory experiment. Needless to say, this argument is silly. To detect something in a laboratory, we need equipment that is appropriate for what we are seeking to detect. One does not detect sound with a microscope or light with a microphone. Even using generally appropriate instruments, such as a microphone for sound detection, the equipment must be fine-tuned to the particular type of sound. One cannot detect ultrasound (>20kHz) with a microphone that can only pick up audible sounds (20 Hz – 20 KHz). To [...]

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