Deuteronomy

Dvorim — the fifth book of Torah

The Fifth Force – Epilog

This post is a continuation and the conclusion of the previous post, THE FIFTH FORCE. Aside from the connection with the last week’s Torah portion, Vayelech, there is also connection with and Aseret Yimei Teshuvah (Ten Days of Repentance) and Yom Kippur. When it comes to physics of fundamental forces, there are two unresolved problems: (i) unification of gravity with the other three fundamental forces (electromagnetic, strong and weak); and (ii) discovery of the fifth force. Both problems are related to repentance (teshuvah), which comes to sharp focus on the Ten Days of Repentance (Aseret Yimei Teshuvah) and Yom Kippur. Firstly, the word “teshuva” doesn’t mean “repentance”, it literally means “return” In Kabbalah tradition, the word TeShuVaH, is read as “ToShuV H” – return of the letter “heh”. It is talking about the [...]

The Fifth Force

Now, therefore, write ye this song for you, and teach thou it the children of Israel.” (Deut. 31:19) The four known fundamental forces are: gravitational force, electromagnetic force, strong (nuclear) force, and the weak force (beta decay). Newton first described the gravitational force in his famous universal law of gravity. Today, we use Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity to describe gravitation fields. Electromagnetism was described in the 19 c. by Faraday and Maxwell. Strong and week forces were discovered much later, in the second half of the 20 c. Since Albert Einstein started a search for unified field theory, unsuccessfully trying to unify (describe by a single theory) gravity and electromagnetism, the quest for a unified field theory – the “Theory of Everything” – became the holy grail of theoretical physics. Strong and [...]

Standing and Moving

According to the Saadia Gaon, these two Torah portions – Nitzavim and Vayelech – are really one portion, which sometimes is split into two.  In the language of Quantum Mechanics (QM), the two portions are entangled, in a manner of speech, and are described by the single "wavefunction."  Needless to say, this is not meant in a literal sense, as QM describes physical objects, whereas these biblical chapters are certainly not.  Nevertheless, taking poetic license, we can loosely say that these portions are entangled, i.e., they are really one.  Nitzavim and Vayelech, however, speak of the opposite themes – “nitzavim” connotes standing( lit., you stand), while “vayelech” connotes walking (lit., …and he walked). As much as it seems paradoxical at first, from the physicist’s point of view, it is not surprising at all.  Typically, [...]

Fig of Rabbi Akiva

What came first, the Schrödinger cat or the fig of Rabbi Akiva? You be the judge. Today we present a guest post by Rabbi Dr. David Kagan. Fig of Rabbi Akiva By Rabbi David Kagan, Ph.D. If Trumah (Trumah is a tithe separated from produce and given to a priest (Kohen) to be eaten with strict laws of purity) is mixed into ordinary food (chulin), and if the ratio of trumah to chulin  is less than 1:100, the Trumah is nullified (batel) and the mixture may be eaten as ordinary food. (The law of nullification, bitul, applies to mixtures of two types of food – one being forbidden one allowed. With certain ratios, the minority is nullified and it has the same status as the majority. For example, if some non-kosher food was mixed [...]

Mezuzah in Three Dimensions

The mezuzah is one of the few mitzvot (divine commandments) for which the Torah states its reward. In this case, the reward is long life for oneself and one's children: And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts ("mezuzot") of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be prolonged upon the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers for as long as the heavens are above the earth (Deuteronomy 11:20-21). According to the Tosafot and the Shulchan Aruch, the main function of the mezuzah is to protect the house from evil. Because of this attribute, the mezuzah has been called "the coat of arms in the knighthood of God."*  To begin to understand the mechanism of this effect of the mezuzah, [...]

The Final Frontier

In this Torah portion, Devarim (Deuteronomy 1-3), Moses recalls the travels through the Sinai desert when God told him: Be not at enmity with Moab, neither contend with them in battle; for I will not give thee of his land for a possession. (Deuteronomy 2:9) To put this into context, let us recall the covenant of the pieces (or covenant between the parts, Heb. Brit Bein HaBetarim), when God promised Avraham: On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates; the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite.” (Genesis 15:19-21) The medieval [...]

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