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One of the most popular and insidious misconceptions prevalent in the world today is the supposed conflict raging between Torah and science.

 

One of Judaism's fundamental claims is that the laws of nature are not absolute. According to the Torah, the laws of nature are nothing more than an ongoing expression of the will of the Creator, the way G-d continually chooses to run His universe. Occasionally, however, G-d sees fit to run things a little differently. These rare occasions when the Creator temporarily changes the laws of nature are what we call "miracles".

 

World history saw miracles taking place as the Creator enacted the ten plagues in Egypt. Because the Egyptians refused the opportunity to acknowledge the Creator in the ongoing wonders of nature and continued to unjustly enslave the Jewish People, the Egyptians were brought to acknowledge the Creator by observing Him change the laws of time and space at will. This meeting point between nature and the miraculous reflects the relationship between the sciences and the wisdom of the Torah.

 

One of the most popular and insidious misconceptions prevalent in the world today is about the supposed conflict raging between Torah and science. Are these two repositories of knowledge truly in conflict with one another? Should religious Jews be fighting tooth and nail to prove that the world of science is vastly mistaken? Not according to the Torah. According to the Torah, the very same Creator who bequeathed His wisdom to the Jewish People is the Creator of nature and all of the scientific wonders to be discovered within it as well.

 

However, these two G-d given areas of study differ immensely. The Torah has been called the "blueprint of creation". Every piece of information, perspective, and principle that science has discovered and has yet to discover are contained in the text of the Five Books of Moses and the corpus of works fully articulating the shorthand wisdom encompassed therein. The Torah describes the hidden roots of the creation, the higher spiritual worlds and the holy sefiros, and the esoteric secrets of the Kabbala processed and filtered down in to the world as we know it today.

 

Torah scholars familiar with the root sources and causes of reality can effectively interpret the results and developments in our world. King Solomon, known as the wisest of all men, knew the secrets behind the natural world and was able to understand all phenomena that took place. All he knew, he had learned from the Torah.

 

In contrast to the Torah scholar, the scientist tries to get in to the same place by the back door. Instead of studying the root causes of nature and then interpreting phenomena, scientists study the phenomena and attempt to derive an understanding of the root causes. In the case of an earthquake, for example, science hastens to try to understand what caused the calamity by analyzing and testing soil structure, land mass humidity levels, shifts and tensions along geological fault lines, and other factors. Despite the collection of large quantities of data and the coalescence of more concise theories about what factors contributed to the tremor, though, science is not equipped to explain original causes: For what reason did the earth move at that particular location as opposed to any other? At that particular time? At that particular level of intensity?

 

Data analysis – check. Observing connections to prior events – check. But determining the root cause for the entire series of events, i.e. why did all of this take place right here and right now? Those sorts of questions are not within the scientists' purview. Science can handle questions beginning with the word "what" but has a hard time responding to questions beginning with the word "why". There is always a more original, more mysterious catalyst behind every identified cause. Every scientific explanation brings up new questions, more detailed questions, and better questions, but the true root causes of phenomena remain mysterious.

 

Meteorologists can list off every possible factor that goes in to their prediction of whether or not rain will fall in Israel, from every altitude to every concavity. They launch satellites, analyze photographs, and draw up graphs. But watch as days go by with cloud upon cloud massed over the country like an angry flock of sheep and not a single droplet of water falls to the ground. Sure, the phenomenon can be explained in scientific terms, but who can explain why the events those terms depict happened in the first place? The root causes of phenomena, the active force moving them to do what they will, is hidden from us in the world of nature. The world of divine calculations, reward and reprimand, the attribute of judgment and the attribute of mercy; there is where the true answers lie.

 

Science is the study of the superficial outer layer of the created world, those phenomena that we can observe with our eyes, those factors that are corporeal enough to be taken in to the laboratory, but there is only so far that those limitations will let us go. Science depicts phenomena in some detail, but when it comes to the root causes actually causing events to take place as they do, scientists remain ignorant. The entire world remains ignorant! Is all our scholarship to be devoted to nothing more than a word game?

 

It isn't just that Torah study depicts what is going on in worlds conceptually prior to our own, the sources of creation and the manner in which G-d manifests His will for us, but it influences these things! Learning Torah illuminates all worlds and draws abundance down from the highest Source. Torah study is involved in every event that takes place; it precedes it.

 

The period of the exodus from Egypt saw the spiritual world as cause for the physical world revealed in an open manner. G-d took His people out of Egypt with wonders and miracles in order to bring them to Mount Sinai, give them the Torah, and provide them with the tools to change reality in ways that science can not yet even begin to imagine.


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