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The Convergence of Science and Kabbalah

In the six hundredth year in the life of Noah… all wellsprings of the great deep burst open, and the windows of heaven were opened…

Genesis 7:11

The Zohar interprets this verse as a prediction that “in the sixth century of the sixth millennium, the gates of supernal wisdom will be opened, as will the springs of earthly wisdom, preparing the world to be elevated in the seventh millennium.”

Indeed, the fifty-sixth century from creation (1740-1840 in the secular calendar) was a time of great discovery and accelerated development, both in the supernal wisdom of Torah and in the earthly wisdom of secular science. This was the century in which the teachings of Chassidism were revealed and disseminated by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov and his disciples. The inner soul of Torah, which until then had been the province of a select number of mystics in each generation, was made accessible to all, imparting a new depth to our understanding of the Divine wisdom and infusing vitality and joy into our observance of the Mitzvot.

As these supernal revelations poured forth from the windows of heaven, the earthly wellsprings answered in kind. The same century saw an unprecedented eruption of knowledge in all fields of secular science — in mathematics, physics, medicine, technology and the social sciences — revolutionizing all areas of human life.

According to the Zohar, this dual revolution came to prepare the world for the “seventh millennium” — the era of Moshiach, when the six “workday” millennia of history, will culminate in an age “that is wholly Shabbat and tranquillity for life everlasting.”

The Convergence of Science and Kabbalah

  1. Perhaps the most fundamental idea of Kabbalah, that science has corroborated, is the inherent Divinity of reality.

Long before Einstein taught us that matter is energy, Kabbalah taught:

“It is written: “Forever, O G‑d, Your word stands firm in the heavens.” The Baal Shem Tov, of blessed memory, has explained that “Your word” which you uttered, “Let there be a sky in the midst of the waters.. .”, these very words and letters stand firmly forever within the firmament of heaven and are forever clothed within all the heavens to give them life, as it is written, “The word of our G‑d shall stand firm forever,” and “His words live and stand firm forever. …” For if the letters were to depart [even] for an instant, G‑d forbid, and return to their source, all the heavens would become naught and absolute nothingness, and it would be as though they had never existed at all; exactly as before the utterance, “Let there be a firmament.”

And so it is with all created things, in all the upper and lower worlds, and even this physical earth, which is the “Kingdom of the silent” (inanimate).
If the letters of the Ten Utterances by which the earth was created during the Six Days of Creation were to depart from it [but] for an instant, G‑d forbid, it would revert to naught and absolute nothingness, exactly as before the Six Days of Creation.

This same thought was expressed by the Ari, of blessed memory, when he said that even in completely inanimate matter, such as stones or earth or water, there is a soul and spiritual life-force— that is, the manifestation of the “Letters of speech” of the Ten Utterances, which give life and existence to inanimate matter, that it might arise out of the naught and nothingness, which preceded the Six Days of Creation.

Now, although the name even (stone) is not mentioned in the Ten Utterances recorded in the Torah, nevertheless, life-force flows to the stone through combinations and substitutions of the letters which are transposed in the “Two hundred and thirty-one gates,” either in direct or reverse order, as is explained in the Sefer Yetzirah, until the combination of the name even descends from the Ten Utterances, and is derived from them, and this is the life-force of the stone.”

In other words, the understanding now, is that all matter is actually energy – and many scientific books agree, that there must be a God.

Again this is revolutionary, for it speaks not of a God that was, but exactly what Judaism all along says: a God that IS.

  • Another of Einstein’s great revelations is the theory of relativity – they say only a dozen people understood his theory – I think it’s because it’s so simple:

When they asked Einstein to explain the theory of relativity, he said, “An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute, but a minute sitting on a hot stove, seems like an hour.”

In essence what Einstein is saying, is the most obvious– but not sooo… – fact, that experiences, are, what shape, well, our experiences.

(The reason this is significant is because whereas people had taken a dogmatic approach – that science somehow has its own rules; suddenly we are entering into a personal God – which of course leads us to…)

  • Quantum physics – the weird and wacky world of quantum physics was so difficult for Einstein, that even though he accepted it, based on its empirical evidence, he said, “Quantum mechanics is very impressive. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory produces a good deal, but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One. I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.”

Of-course by “playing dice” he means (as I read in his book, “Out Of My Later Years”) that he would continue to seek a deterministic pattern.

Effectively what quantum physics reveals – and as I personally heard from Dr. Paul Wildman (holder of three PhDs, and supervisor of all the universities in Switzerland, whose board sent him on a worldwide tour to discover all latest scientific theories) that science has reached the limit of human understanding, – in all fields of science (quantum physics being but one) we now have come to the undeniable fact, that as the Chacham Tzvi said, “Nature is repetitive miracles.”

Again, this goes back to both #1 and #2: it’s not that once upon a time, a God made the universe; it’s that every single nano-second, He is making it.

  • This leads us to the next conclusion of quantum physics, and that is the power of your thoughts – we know that effectively, the way atoms behave are in reaction.

To quote Kabbalah, “The Divine face above is a reflection – when we are joyous, so is God” (Your Destiny.)