The Torah Science Foundation Newsletter
Volume 2, number 3
Elul 5763 / September 2003
In this issue:
1. New On the Torah Science Web Site
2. Coming soon in our Political Science Department
3. The Launching of the "Natural Consciousness Network"
4. Tidbits of the evening celebrating the unity of Torah, Art and Science
1. NEW ON THE TORAH SCIENCE WEB SITE.
Two exciting additions to the web site of the Torah Science Foundation (www.torahscience.org):
In the Communication Sciences Department: “Accessing infinite energy”. This groundbreaking essay deals with the nature of covenants, their role in communication, and their rectification. Excerpts from the introduction to the essay follow:
“The Hebrew title of this article translates into “Rectifying the Covenant.” In Kabbalah, the sefirah of Yesod or Foundation corresponds to the creation of covenants. A covenant, as explained in Chassidut, reflects the ultimate form of devotion between two parties. That devotion is not based on utility or reason, but rather on an unchanging commitment to one another. In Chassidut we find two major exemplary types of covenant: that between a husband and wife, and that between teacher and student. For the relationship between these pairs to be fruitful and lead to growth and common offspring, physical or spiritual, the type of energy involved in the relationship must be of “covenant caliber.”
“An ability to call upon a trusted channel for communication is essential for the accessing of our most powerful creative energies; much as the covenant between man and woman generate the infinite creative energy that can beget offspring—the singular most profound act of creation that a human being can participate in. In a more generalized sense, the open channels that configure the heart of communication depend on the trust that each party has for the other.”
“On September 11th 2001, the United States became yet one more target of international terrorism. More than just an act of war, terrorism embodies the displacement and abuse of the natural human inclination to create honest covenants and relationships. It is communication in its vilest form, and its message conveys an extreme form of corrupted humanity.”
“In this article based on a lecture given by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh in Morristown, N.J. following the events of September 11th, we are taught how each and every one of us can rectify our own covenants with God, our own selves and each other, ultimately tapping into the infinite creative energy that makes a human being truly “in the image of God.”
The second addition, the first entry to our Psychology Department, is an essay on Natural Consciousness. This is a seminal study on the interplay between self- awareness, da'at, without which humans cannot have a sense of identity, and bitul, self-nullification, the spiritual work described in Chassidism as the essential requirement to find G-d. Excerpts from the essay follow:
“When referring to acting naturally, it is obvious that something done “naturally” does not require conscious effort. However, we must not confuse nature with a state of rectification; what is natural is not necessarily “rectified” and “complete.” On the contrary, in our current state of reality, our first nature is incomplete, and does not reflect the will of God that is imbedded at its root. We can therefore understand that the whole purpose of consciousness is to allow man to rectify nature, be it his own nature (meaning his temperament, or natural character traits) or the nature of his environment”.
“The root of the concept of consciousness in the Torah is found in the first portion of the Book of Genesis. Before eating from the Tree of Knowledge Adam and Eve were “naked, and were not ashamed,” and immediately after they ate from it “they knew that they were naked….” The Tree of Knowledge primarily created a reality of self-consciousness. By eating from the Tree of Knowledge Adam sealed his fate to being self-conscious. The natural world exists as such precisely because it does not have self-consciousness; man, on the other hand, was banished from the “natural” state of the Garden of Eden because he ate from the Tree of Knowledge and became self-conscious.”
“The natural world, notwithstanding the good imbedded in it, is damaged from its inception, being that it contains the fragments of the World of Chaos that preceded it. The task of human consciousness is to repair these fragments and to reveal the good hidden in reality, for nature without self-consciousness is neither able to affect a change in its essence nor repair its own damaged state. Premature consumption from the Tree of Knowledge created in Adam the self-consciousness necessary for the rectification of nature, however it made him lose his awareness of the Divine. Had Adam rectified his first natural, instinctive consciousness of the Divine by waiting until the Shabbat, he would first have been allowed to eat of the Tree of Life, thus gaining eternal life, before tasting of the Tree of Knowledge. Eating of the Tree of Knowledge in this rectified state would have allowed Adam to gain a consciousness of self while retaining his natural awareness of the Divine. Yet, at the moment of consumption the fruit was still forbidden, therefore God exiled Adam from the Garden of Eden in order prevent his premature consumption from the Tree of Life and receiving the gift of eternal life.”
…….. “Once man has brought himself to the natural-now-rectified state that Adam was in before eating of the Tree of Knowledge, he will return to the Edenic state and become worthy of eternal life. He will then be permitted to eat of the Tree of Life.”
2. Coming soon in our Political Science Department
“Torah teachings about the war between good and evil” This essay discusses the fact that, perhaps the first time in the history of mankind, the world is speaking explicitly of a war between good and evil. “Current world-shaking events are in fact what the world needs in order to become aware of the need for rectification. The world definitely needs to be shaken up in order to wake up.” The essay addresses different ways of relating to current events from the perspective of Hassidism, and to the terms “good” and “evil” through Hassidic and Kabbalistic teachings.
3. The Launching of the "Natural Consciousness Network”.
More than a concept, the notion of Natural Consciousness, as described in the recently posted essay is a life style and a state of mind. The recently launched “Natural Consciousness Network” is dedicated to the learn how the notion of natural consciousness applies to different aspects of spiritual work and daily life. The network has started a web site, www.yichudim.org, and a forum, dedicated to the sharing of new ideas and experiences on natural consciousness.
4. Tidbits of the evening celebrating the unity of Torah, Art and Science.
The gala evening of the Tiferet festival in Los Angeles celebrated the unity of the Torah, science and arts, featured an exhibit of Torah-inspired Israeli painters, Chasidic music, and a lecture by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh. A few highlights of the lecture follows:
Bringing Life to Creation
- The role of truth is to enliven reality.
- The 3 letters of the Hebrew word emet (truth) correspond to past, present and future
- Art – past
- Science – present
- Torah – future
Art – Past
- Seeks to bring the archetypes of our past into the present
Art and Marriage
- Like art, the mystery of marriage hinges on the feeling of a “past” connection” between the man and woman
- The feeling of a connection stretching back to the initial act of creation is necessary for rectifying our marital relationship
Science – Present
- Science focuses on how nature is at the present moment
- Science finds difficulty in extrapolating to the past
- The word “present” in Hebrew also means “that which comes into being”
- Science, in our times, is in the verge of unveiling the continuous recreation of the world at every moment – one of the cornerstones of Jewish consciousness
Torah – The Vision of the Future
- The greatest vision of Torah has yet to be realized
- All the greatness of our past has only been an approximation to the Torah's vision for mankind
- Central to this vision is the consummate sense of community encompassing all of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel
- The whole Torah is a prophecy of the future
A detailed outline of the lecture will posted soon in torahscience.org. A tape of the lecture will be available soon.