Time to examine the relationship between Judaism and modern science
A scientist looks through a microscope
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The existing literature on science and religion often talks about them contradicting each other, or the necessity to reconcile them. I consider this approach wrong.How did I get here and why did I start writing about Kabbalah and science?
I was born in 1960 in Ukraine, which was part of the Soviet Union at the time, in the city of Dnepropetrovsk. My late father, Vladimir Shyfrin, was a professor of metallurgy. My mother, Eugenia Alexandrovskaya, was an engineer. Our family lived in a semi-underground apartment comprising one bedroom and a kitchen; legs constantly flashing in the window are one of my earliest childhood memories.
My parents couldn’t afford a car or a bigger apartment. However, they always found means to keep the house full of books.
I was brought up in an atheistic society and didn’t know anything about Judaism and the Torah whatsoever. I spent my last three years of school in a special class for physics, and for two consecutive years I won the all-Ukrainian physics Olympiad competition.
Despite these academic achievements and the fact that I scored 24/25 on the entrance exam (the entry requirement was 13) I was rejected from the Moscow Physics and Technology Institute. This happened because I am a Jew. Then I applied to the Moscow Steel and Alloys Institute to the physical chemistry department.
After graduating from university, I was sent to work on the metallurgical factory Dniprosptetsstal in Zaporizhye, a city in Southern Ukraine. I moved there with my wife and son and started my career at the mill as the foreman of the electric arc furnace. It was quite successful; in three years’ time I was already managing a thousand employees. In 1991, I completed my PhD in the physical chemistry of metallurgy, and in 1993, ten years after graduating, I left the mill and started my own business.
I met a Rabbi for the first time in my life in 1996, in Kiev. I got involved with a Jewish charity and, as a result, built a synagogue and a Jewish educational centre dedicated to my late father in Kiev. I was still far from Judaism though.
In 2002 a health issue changed my life. All of a sudden, existential questions started to bother me, and I felt that if I did not answer them, I would not be able to move on. My Rabbi advised me to get closer to G-d and to start the process of spiritual return: Teshuva.
I studied the Holy Scriptures along with Jewish customs and traditions, yet my scientific mind pushed me to ask certain questions. It seemed to be that the Torah and modern science were in full contradiction with each other. Existing sources didn’t help me resolve this apparent conflict. Since it was not in my character to back down, I decided to try and answer my questions myself. That’s how my journey into the world of Kabbalah and science began.
I explored the Torah and the Kabbalah and revised scientific literature. I learned Hebrew so that I could read the Holy Scripture in its original language. As a result I published a number of Torah commentaries on the website Chabad.org and wrote a book From Infinity to Man: basic ideas of Kabalah within the framework of information theory and quantum physics (also available on Amazon.co.uk)
Three important questions have continuously fueled my quest for truth:
Why science and religion?
The existing literature on science and religion often talks about them contradicting each other, or the necessity to reconcile them. I consider this approach wrong. In my opinion, there cannot be any contradictions between science and religion as both are revelations of one G-d. If it appears to us that there are contradictions, it means that our knowledge is either false or incomplete.
The scientific method involves finding patterns, expressing them mathematically and making predictions on their basis. But science often cannot answer why certain phenomena occur. Also, science is morally neutral. The fact that 2 x 2 = 4 can’t be considered good or bad.
Nor does science answer the basic questions of our life: why are we here (and hence the famous question of Leibniz: Why is there something rather than nothing)? How should we live? Why does the world work in a way that makes us doomed to die? What is the soul? What happens to us after death? And many other questions.
The Torah and the Kabbalah are not physics textbooks. We can’t expect to find formulae there. However, they contain the fundamental ideas underlying reality. Hence I believe that science and religion complement each other.
Over the last two centuries, the role of science in society has changed dramatically. It left the closed doors of universities and became public. But it has also undergone qualitative changes. We can call the science from before the 20th century ‘the science of common sense.’ But the new physics of the 20th century – quantum physics, relativity, information theory – took us beyond logical reasoning. We cannot comprehend four-dimensional spacetime. We cannot comprehend that time is relative. We cannot comprehend that a particle can be in different space points simultaneously. There are no proven explanations for these phenomena.
The last time an exhaustive account of the relationship between Judaism and Science was given was by the great Maimonides 800 years ago. Since that time, our body of scientific knowledge has grown enormously. I do believe it’s high time to examine the relationship between Judaism and the science of the 21st century.
The principal difference between the Kabbalah and science are their objects of consideration. Science deals with our universe, whereas the Kabbalah considers it just a part of the whole Creation. Consequently, the Kabbalah explores not just the interactions between the entities of our universe, like science, but also their relationship with their Source. This is a game-changer. I will expand on this idea in further posts.
Why Kabbalah and science, not philosophy and science?
Traditionally, Jewish thinkers were divided into two categories: philosophers and mystics.
Jewish philosophy flourished in the Yeshivas of Babylon. One of the most prominent figures from the Babylonian yeshivas was Sadia ben Yosef (Saadia Gaon), who wrote the book Beliefs and Opinions. After the demise of the Babylonian Jewish communities the philosophical tradition was continued by Spanish Jewry. From there came Yehuda haLevi, Abraham ibn Ezra, and finally, the greatest of all, Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides), who wrote The Guide for the Perplexed in the 12th century.
Jewish mysticism is much older than this. It was born together with Judaism and never ceased to exist. The basic book of the Kabalah, Sefer Yetzira, is attributed to our forefather Abraham. In the 1st century A.D. another seminal work of Kabbalah was produced. It was Bahir, attributed to Rabbi Nehunia ben Hakanna. The original Kabbalah was born in 12th century Provence. The most prominent Kabbalists of that time were Abraham ben David and Isaac the Blind. After that, it flourished in Spain and culminated in the publication of Zohar by Moses de Lyon in the13th century. Following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in the late 15th century CE, the centre of Kabbalistic thought moved to Safed in Northern Israel. Itzhak Luria (Ari haKadosh), Moshe Cordovero, Yosef Caro, Haim Vital, and many others produced their works there. From the 18th century the Kabbalistic tradition was carried forward by Hasidic masters.
It’s important to note that, whilst Jewish philosophers were scientifically educated people mystics were either unfamiliar with science or even suspicious of it. They derived their ideas from the Holy Scripture and mystical revelations.
The word mystical translates from Latin as ‘anti-scientific, irrational.’ But from my point of view, the science of the 21st century can also be considered mystical and irrational. Studying Kabbalah and science, I came to the conclusion that the Kabbalistic view of Creation deeply resonates with the theories of contemporary science and thus may bring insights into its conundrums. I elaborate on this idea in my book Infinity to Man. Writing it was a clean experiment. I attempted to show that people who were unfamiliar with science and deriving their ideas solely from the Holy Scripture and mystical revelations have produced a teaching which can deepen our understanding of contemporary scientific challenges.
In order to archive the goal of bringing Kabbalah and science together it was necessary to find common language for them. I’m convinced that the only language of Creation is information.
Why is all of this important today?
In the 19th century, after the walls of the Ghetto had fallen, the process of Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment, began. On the one hand, it gave us Freud and Einstein, along with thousands of other talented scientists, doctors, lawyers, etc. But on the other hand, many people lost their Jewish identities to assimilation. I think that this happened mainly because they couldn’t connect the paradigms of the Holy Scriptures and those of the newly open world.
Currently, the process of assimilation continues. I myself used to be a typical representative of educated Jews without any religious knowledge. I consider it of utmost importance to help our brothers and sisters to return to their faith by showing them that scientific development by no means denies its main postulates. This is what I sought to achieve with my book. I don’t know whether I will succeed or not, but I think that even if it helps even one Jew to return, my mission will be
Follow us on twitter (ajuede.com) or on Instagram (ajuedeman) for details of the global situation presently.
Like our page on facebook @ Info4everybody Last Wednesday, we published the success story from Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a board-certified family practitioner in New York, after he successfully treated 350 coronavirus patients with 100 percent success using a cocktail of drugs: hydroxychloroquine, in combination with azithromycin (Z-Pak), an antibiotic to treat secondary infections, and zinc sulfate. Dr. Zelenko said he saw the symptom of shortness of breath resolved within four to six hours after treatment. Do you know that the ancient Egypt were civilized by architects from the (500,000 - 4000 BC) Nsukka Civiliation? Now, Dr. Zelenko provides updates on the treatment after he successfully treated 699 COVID-19 patients in New York. In an exclusive interview with former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, Dr. Vladmir Zelenko shares the results of his latest study, which showed that out of his 699 patients treated, zero patients died, zero patients intubated, and four ho
THE AKAN Copied from the book, Reality as Myth by Onyeji Nnaji . The influence of the Akan on their content nations lies on their population and commonwealth of their brother nations. The Akan are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. Their population is scattered across West Africa and beyond. Among this huge population of the Akan, the Ghanaians are more popular, perhaps because of the political influence of the Ashanti Empire in the area. Not much is heard or known about other Akan settlements like the Akwamu, the Akyem , the Akuapem, the Denkyira, the Abron, the Aowin, the Ahanta, the Anyi, the Baoule, the Chokosi, the Fante, the Kwahu, the Sefwi, the Ahafo, the Assin, the Evalue, the Wassa the Adjukru, the Akye, the Alladian, the Attie,the M'Bato, the Abidji, the Avikam,the Avatime the Ebrie,
Copied from the Book; " Reality as Myth " by Onyeji Nnaji The beauty of the discovering of the Radar Rivers and their channels is that it disproves the western hegemonic claim of the Euphrates valley being the position of the birth of the great river, all the points that opposed their claims notwithstanding. Even God himself was very perfect in His creation by placing them in their positions, hierarchically, according to their birth. The first river that flowed located the Havilah land where there are good quality gold, bdellium and fine onyx stones. Pison was the oldest of the rivers and it flowed through the land of the southern Africa. The second river flowed northward to Ethiopia. It was when Africa had been overtaken by virtue of her proximity to the Great Water that other parts of the world began to encounter the remaining river; remarkable with Hiddekel. Subscribe to ajuede.com to be updated on our posts on dailies. The major problem tow
Strictly for Couples T he biggest risk every marriage faces is what I call the retiring time. There is actually no retiring time for marriage as the union directly speaks of itself. But many marriages normally do have certain time in their history when the couples begin to ware away from the other like a baked clod-and-pebble. By this time the parties find it difficult to retrace the path that once brought them together. You may have heard “I don’t think I sought your hands in marriage with clear eyes”. Next, they may say that the other used means on them. It is not always so, even when some people believe that someone could use means as a wooing instrument. Some of the causes of such situations have been discussed in the series 1 through 3. But when someone does not have any of these problems discussed in the series, then it is simply that such a wife needs to make herself look relatively younger that her age to enforce attraction on her husband. To do this one need
STRICTLY FOR COUPLES … You will know that the man is the head while you are his neck. As such, you direct his focus and make him fixative Our series include the following : * Show him what he looks out for from other women * Teach him like he knows nothing * Learn to play naked games with your husband * Learn to package yourself * Learn to work on your husband M y neighbour had v owed never to let any girl survive as a salesgirl in my shop. This thing has happened for over three times. Each time we brought a new salesgirl, the girl would stay for two or three months; and suddenly she would end her contract with us. In all these, my husband did not know. So, being that the girls usually stole money and other items, the reason for their departure became genuine, thus: they ran away to avoid being punished for their actions. But behind this, the underlying truth is that the girls had been embarrassed by my neighbour who would warn them to leave her loosed husband. Re
Copied from the book, Reality as Myths by Onyeji Nnaji T he world of the Bantu travellers shows the walls of the migration that recorded the highest population among the African settlement. Originating from the largest population among the four races that settled in the east before time, all Bantu travellers were pygmies; for that was the nature of the Umudiala, the generation that gave birth to them. Bantu migration was rated the third earliest migration of the Negro race from the east. In this regard, all their movement had involved great population of people compared to the number of people involved in the two earlier populations that gave birth to Ethiopia, Nubia and Egypt: the Walker Traveller, and the Race of Anu. Bantu population as we have identified in the third chapter above outweighs the rest of the population of the ancient fathers that founded many of the nations of antiquity mentioned earlier. Discussing them in beat will pose a little challenge since
T he name Nkalaha is a coinage which stands for a people occupying a geographical land and regional setting in the eastern part of Nigeria. It is a coinage which attempts to explain the direction of movement and adventure of the men who founded the community in the 15th century AD. According to oral sources and some documentation about this community, some of these men were believed to have traveled from Ida, old Benue state of Nigeria to inhabit the land. These men had traveled on different days to locate the place. Onojah who originally founded the land was said to have been in a deep search for a place of safety as he was besieged by a fate that appeared to make him somewhat incompatible with his own people. Nkalaha is one of the communities that make up Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Nkalaha occupied the northern part of Ishielu Local Government Area. She is located through the zip 135.031.000. The community sits on 923.768km 2 . She shares boundaries
The Mystery of Number, “Five” in the Igbo Cosmology. From: Aspects of the Ancient African Metaphysics; Chapter: Seven; Topic: Igbo Geometries and the Metaphysics of Numbers. Author: Onyeji Nnaji. I n the Igbo cosmology, the word Isee is a definite symbolic word as revealed through the Igbo language and culture. A human being has five fingers, five toes. The hands and feet are fundamentals to the survival in life as they are necessary in ensuring that man moves to places where he gets food and grapples on the food to sustain his life. To this view, the rhetoric that binds vocatives in the form of incantation (anchoring on the heart-lock: four ) and the concomitant reprisal in the manner of affirmation that holds the human life bind to his original spiritual person, therefore defining existence and essences are unified by the corresponding echo: Isee!!!!! Therefore it stands that anytime a prayer is said in the Igbo land, the attendants who would want the fulfillment of the
INTRODUCTION One thing that made Udi remarkable is the indubitable legacy adopted in commemoration of the legendry fighter, Uto at Nsude. It was one of the greatest contributions of the descendants of Agbaja to the survival of Nsukka civilization of memory. Uto held from Oshie. Uto dies of small pox after a mercenary battle he was hired to fight in the ancient Benin. His body was buried in the evil forest as the tradition demanded. Although he lived no longer, the stepped pyramids above were adopted to commemorate the lasting peace he brought to the entire Oshie and Udi nation of people. Another remarkable thing about Udi is the fertility of the land. This has contributed widely in sustaining the inhabitants and provided a name for the inhabitants in the manner of Abakaliki, Umudike, Ogbaru, Igboariam, Ohaji, Uzouwani, etc., especially in Amofia-Agu, Affa. Udi is a land of great rivers and springs: Adaada, Ajali, Oji, Aria, Nvenu, Ngene Evu, Iyi Ububo, etc. as was the situ
There are four generations…, and the fourth generation, which is the most exalted, is kingless and perfect. These people will enter the holy place of their Father and they will reside in rest … They are kings. They are the immortal within the mortal ( The Nag Hammadi, 219 ) Also read Nsukka Civilization: The Peopling of Ancient Nsukka One of the African homes that colonialism has completely deformed beyond certain level of recognition is Nsukka. Colonialism apart, the most affecting factor to the survival of the meaning which the rich cultural enclave, Nsukka, carries will best be blamed on postcolonial political structure. The biggest harm all these have against Nsukka as a people is that they rubbed her of the meaning of her name; their place of origin; how their fathers managed to come into their present abodes and who their ancestors were. A profound understanding of the excerpt above will open the door towards deciphering the meaning and origin of the people call