Parshat Shemot By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land
The First Law of Thermodynamics
The First law of thermodynamics states: When energy passes, as work, as heat, or with matter, into or out of a system, the system’s internal energy changes in accord with the law of conservation of energy. Equivalently, perpetual motion machines of the first kind (machines that produce work with no energy input) are impossible. This law entails the concept of internal energy, which is a fundamental quantity of thermodynamics. The internal energy of a substance can be explained as the sum of the diverse kinetic energies of the erratic microscopic motions of its constituent atoms, and of the potential energy of interactions between them.
Therefore, if we were to examine the burning bush sighted by Moshe Rabeinu in physical terms, the fact that the bush burned continuously in an inexhaustible way shows that the bush contained internal energy that perpetually exists, which is impossible according to the first law of thermodynamics, as mentioned above. Rather, of course, we must say that there is Divine Energy involved in this vision. However, what does this vision mean? According to the Midrash, the bush represents the People of Israel, and the Fire represents the Godly Fire as was sighted at the Giving of the Torah. In a different teaching, our Sages discuss the positive commandment “to Him you shall cleave.” The Sages question: “Is it possible to cleave to the Holy Presence, as He is a consuming fire?” They answer: “Rather, cleave to the [Godly] righteous.” Another answer to this question is that by cleaving to the attributes of Hashem, i.e just as He is merciful you shall be merciful, etc., it is considered as if one has cleaved to Hashem. (Sota 14a) Combining these teachings we may say that the burning bush, the first prophetic vision seen by the “Master of Prophets”, is a constant message throughout the generations of the great Divine energy involved in the various methods of cleaving to God, the Ultimate and Infinite Source of All Energy. There is also a source in the Midrash that the fire in this vision represents the enemies of Israel who try to “consume” Israel. Here too we may say that, measure for measure, since Israel is deeply united with the Godly Fire in their cleaving to It as explained above, therefore they are able to continuously resist the consuming “fire” of their enemies.
Remarkably we find that, although in the physical world we do not have any real infinite/perpetual source of energy, nevertheless one of the most powerful relatively “continuous” sources of energy is the sun, which produces its energy through nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei are combined to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles (neutrons or protons). This combination of elements strongly resembles the spiritual “law” of cleaving to Hashem by cleaving, i.e combining with, the Godly attributes or with the Godly righteous. We may say that the great energy produced in the physical world is a “small” reminder of the greater energy involved in the similar, but yet truly eternal, spiritual “fusion” we described above.
The two methods of cleaving to Hashem are hinted to in the first two sentences Hashem ever spoke to Moshe, Master of All Prophets. First, Hashem orders Moshe to remove his shoes for the land he is standing upon is holy ground. In a previous issue, we explained that this order highly resembles the laws of ascent to the Temple Mount, and we based this examination on other proof-texts which show strong ties between the “Mountain of God,” where the burning bush was seen, and the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount may represent the method of cleaving to Hashem through cleaving to His attributes, for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the primary resting place of the Holy Presence, and it is there where one can “experience” the “attributes” of this Presence to the fullest extent.
The second sentence said to Moshe is “I am the God of your Fathers,” which hints to cleaving to Hashem through the Godly righteous, for our Forefathers are the forerunners of all the righteous. This method of cleaving to Hashem is most obviously achieved in Hebron, City of the Patriarchs. Indeed, the Arizal ties the cities of Hebron and Jerusalem to be the primary focal points of the resting of the Holy Presence (coined in Kabbalistic terms as the aspects of “Rachel” and “Leah”, respectively).
Miracles from the Holy Land:
First Day of the Six Day War: By 7:30 AM, two hundred Israeli Air Force (IAF) planes were in the air, heading towards Egyptian airbases. Though flying very low, so as not to be detected by the scores of Arab radar sites, a Jordanian radar facility detected an unusually large number of aircraft heading towards the sea. The officer on duty immediately sent a message, “Inab,” the codeword for war, to Jordan military headquarters in Amman. The message was encoded and passed on to Egypt’s defense minister in Cairo. Miraculously, however, the Egyptian coding frequencies had been changed the previous day, and the Jordanians had not been updated. That morning, with the element of surprise in their favor, the IAF obliterated six Egyptian airfields—two in Egypt proper and four in the Sinai Desert—destroying 204 Egyptian planes, half of their air force. Though Egypt had sufficient anti-aircraft ammunition to destroy all the attacking Israeli planes, miraculously, no order was given for these missiles to be launched. The Israelis accomplished their mission with practically no resistance. By the end of the day, Israeli airstrikes destroyed two-thirds of the Syrian Air Force, more than 300 Egyptian aircraft, and most of Royal Jordanian Air Force. In addition on that day IDF completed the capture of Rafah and El-Arish, and The “Government House” in Jerusalem was captured from the Jordanians.