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Bringing the World to Life

In the laboratory for aging research in Bar Ilan University, they are searching for the genetic and molecular basis for aging. One of their current studies is a scan of the genome of a small worm called C. elegans, which shares most of its 20,000 genes with humans. They have tested gene after gene in the worm, in search of the ones responsible for the aging process.

Recently they have made an impressive discovery: When one gene is removed from the cell, it lengthens the worm's life span to two months, four times longer than the average worm. This gene codes for an insulin receptor, which humans also have. With this gene removed, the worms became youthful and frisky, in comparison with the ordinary worms of the same age, who could barely drag themselves around and soon died. Now the challenge for the researchers is to see whether this gene has similar effects in humans as well.

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When and if the scientists will succeed in their goal, of extending life through genetic means, remains to be seen. In any event, though, in the near future we can look forward to a significantly increased life expectancy. We are on the cusp of the final Redemption, and one of the prophecies is that the dead will be restored to life and all of us will merit eternal life.

The truth is that eternal life does not represent a change in nature, but rather a reversion to its original state. G-d originally created man, and all creatures, with the potential to live forever. However, when Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, this capacity was temporarily removed, and death was introduced into creation. With the coming of the Geulah, G-d will restore nature to its original pristine state, and death will be eradicated forever.

Now, in the final moments of exile, we see stepped-up efforts by scientists to discover the cause of aging and death, in the hopes of eradicating it altogether. We no longer accept it as natural and inevitable, but seek to find ways around it. Although the resurrection of the dead will clearly be a miraculous process, the current scientific research paves the way for us to better understand and accept this concept.

Our challenge at this time is to augment the scientific advances with our own spiritual efforts to bring about the resurrection of the dead and eternal life. Chassidic teachings explain that the physical world of inanimate and impermanent objects, can be considered lifeless. It is our task to take these “dead” objects and infuse them with life, by using them in a meaningful and purposeful way, to serve G-d. In this way we bring more life to the world and make it a fitting vessel for the revelation of Moshiach.

 

 


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