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Convergence of Scientific Knowledge and Torah

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Convergence of Scientific Knowledge and Torah as the Messianic Era Approaches[1]

by the Executive Director of Ask Noah International

Delivered as a talk at the 4th International Noahide Conference, Jerusalem, Israel, 5779 (20’19).

Suppose we could send a message back in time to a prominent Rabbi of the past. Perhaps Maimonides who wrote Mishneh Torah during 1170-1180 C.E., or Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi who wrote the Mishnah around 200 C.E. If we told him that we’re gathered here in the Hebrew year 5779, what would be his first response? Undoubtedly, he would jump up and exclaim, “You’re living in 5779, and Moshiach didn’t come yet? He’ll be there any minute! What are you doing to get ready?!

How far away is the Messianic Era?

Torah tradition teaches that the Messianic Era will begin no later than the Hebrew year 6000. In fact, it will begin at some time before that. This isn’t abstract theory. The Talmudic Sages treated is as a matter of Torah Law. About 1700 years ago, the Great Sanhedrin established and sanctified the current Hebrew calendar. It’s based on calculation of the dates and times of the new moons, instead of calculations combined with witnesses. Since then, the Festival Days in Judaism are observed as holy only because they were previously sanctified by the Sanhedrin.

The Sages foresaw the Messianic Era, with a proper Sanhedrin in session beside the Third Temple, beginning before the year 6000. Therefore, they only sanctified the new moons up until that year. If Moshiach didn’t rebuild the Temple before then, G-d forbid, the Jews temporarily could not observe their Festivals as holy.

QUESTION from a Noahide friend: I have been trying to follow the moral conducts as outlined in chapter 8 of Part I : “The Fundamentals of the Faith” in the book THE DIVINE CODE, by Rabbi Moshe Weiner. Most of the points regarding the conduct were already being followed by me. But I find it is becoming difficult to follow the first point: never to be angry.

I am by heart very peaceful, but I do think however that anger does serve useful purposes at times. I find it difficult to “not take revenge” or “not hold a grudge.” Are these points good for books yet unpractical in real life? Please explain the dichotomy in these points and the real world which is so different. I love to follow anything wholeheartedly, and I find it problematic to follow some of these conducts in my business. (For example, controlling my employees, dealing with cunning people, etc.) I would request you to throw some light on this fundamental question: is anger or holding a grudge always wrong?

Sorry if all these questions sounds too stretched, but I am just trying to please G-d with all my heart!

P.S.: “The Divine Code” is an amazing book indeed.

ANSWER

You’re correct that it is possible for anger to serve a useful purpose in some specific situation. G-d created everything for a purpose – including anger. I will explain that last.

The problem arises when a person allows his capacity for anger to flare up and take hold when it shouldn’t. This is any time that a person’s anger overrides and pushes away his faith in G-d. A person needs to understand that there is a true inner essence of a situation. That essence is in G-d’s hands, and this fact can be accepted intellectually. Moreover, the human mind has a natural, G’d-given power of control over the emotions. Therefore, the emotions will automatically follow the way that the person is thinking about the situation.

There are two aspects of the proper understanding, and these are like two sides of the same coin:

(1) Divine Providence

Everything happens by Divine Providence – as G-d wills it to be at that moment. Once something has happened, then it is established that it was G-d’s will. Therefore, the book of Zohar teaches that “Whoever is in a rage is as if he worships idols.” If the person truly believed that what already happened was brought about by G-d, he wouldn’t become angry. This does not change the fact that the person who made him angry was acting with freedom of choice. Therefore he is responsible for the damage or insult and/or sin that he committed. This means that he is liable by G-d’s and the society’s laws for the wrong that was done.

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