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The Standard Model

Introduction What could the Standard Model of particle physics possibly have in common with biblical accounts of the Israelites’ travels in the Sinai Desert, Kabbalistic doctrines related to the unfolding of spiritual worlds, or the arrangement of the letters in the Name of G‑d? To make connections or parallels between such unrelated concepts may sound farfetched. However, this is exactly what we are going to do in this essay. Remember that in structural analysis, we do not concern ourselves with the specifics or the nature of the objects at hand—we are interested only in the interrelationships among the objects, the high-level structure, or the storyline. So, let us not worry that particle physics speaks of subatomic particles, whereas the Torah speaks of the arrangement of Jewish tribes around the Tabernacle in the desert—topics [...]

Joseph’s Sons

And now thy two sons, who were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, shall be mine.  And thy sons, that thou begettest after them, shall be thine; they shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.  And as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died unto me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was still some way to come unto Ephrath; and I buried her there in the way to Ephrath—the same is Beth-lehem.”  And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said: “Wherefrom are these?”   (Genesis  48:5-8) The above narrative in the Torah portion Vayechi is quite perplexing.  It starts with a shocking pronouncement by Jacob that two [...]

Koraḥ Disentangled

Koraḥ the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehos, the son of Levi took [himself to one side] along with Dasan and Aviram, the sons of Eliav, and On the son of Peles, descendants of Reuven. Num. 16:1 There is a curious aspect to the story of Koraḥ’s rebellion. We can understand why Koraḥ (or Korach), being of the tribe of Levi, may have had a claim to the priesthood thus causing a rebellion against Mosheh and Aaron HaKohen, the High Priest.  The Torah tells us, however, that some Reubenites, that is, members of the tribe of Reuven, got entangled with the followers of Koraḥ in this rebellion as well.  But what did they have to do with it?  Not being descendants of Levi, they surely had no claim on the priesthood.  Why [...]




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