Modern Challenges: Cold Science and Warm Reality

Challenges of the Modern World: Cold Science and Warm Reality

by Mordecai Plaut

What is a cold world? It is a world of isolation and disconnectedness, a world in which there is nothing that connects different points in space nor different instants in time. Everything is, but it might not be. You might be here and you might not be here. Your friend might be here today but gone tomorrow -- and for no reason. Whatever is gone, is completely finished, dead and done with. Underlying the whole universe is nothing but blind chance. It is all true, but whatever appears alive is only an illusion, a living mask that mimics what life might be like but is really nothing more than cleverly cobbled together chemical and physical processes. Welcome to the world of modern science.

What is a warm world? It is a world of wholeness and unity, a world in which every point is there as part of a plan and every instant is progress towards a goal that was set out in advance by a higher intelligence. All are part of the plan and all work towards the final goal. You are here because you must be here to fulfill the plan and to advance towards the goal. If you friend is gone tomorrow, it is for the best. Death does not kill the essence and the soul of the person. Underlying the whole universe is a thinking, intelligent, loving, living G-d. All life is truly animated by sparks that originate in Him. All the complex and wonderful physics and chemistry of the physical world parallel and proclaim the true life force that pulsates throughout the universe, starting from its Divine source, running according to Divine plans and moving steadily to the Divine goal. Welcome to reality.

What do we remember about Amolek? Asher korecho baderech (Devorim 26:18) -- who attacked you with coldness and chance ("korecho" is related to both) while you were walking in the desert on the path of Hashem towards the Torah and the realization of the purpose of Creation. After the heightened excitement of Krias Yam Suf, the splitting of the Red Sea, when it became so obvious to the whole world that Hashem dominates the universe and is leading Am Yisroel along the path He blazes, Amolek came and cooled things down.

We can no longer identify individuals who are part of Amolek, but their spirit is everywhere today. Cold space. A mechanical world. Blind fate. A world that runs on its own, based on "laws of nature" without any ultimate underlying intelligence or purpose, a dead world without any good or evil, since that is beyond the boundary of scientific discourse.

This is the "working hypothesis" of modern science, which many people accept as the working hypothesis for their own lives as well. This is the world of most of the Western communication media as well, and cooling off one's zest for life from this frigid Amolek perspective is one of the serious risks that come from exposure to Western newspapers, radio, Internet and whatever else.

The annual public review of the story of Purim, which is explicitly cast as a chapter in the historical struggle with Amolek, is surely an important means to counteract the Amolek atmosphere of the whole year. When we see in the Megilloh how events spread over more than a decade are all arranged by Providence to save the Jewish people and also to destroy Amolek, it inspires the confidence that all history is so guided. The warmth of the family Purim feast modulated by the simchah and the wine, is the conclusive and final eradication of the iciness of Amolek, to help us feel the true warmth of the universe that is charged with total purposiveness of Hashem's creation that surrounds us throughout the year.

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