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Light, Action!
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

Science doesn't progress in a straight line. Rather, it advances in a rather convoluted fashion. Often, a great deal of time, money and energy is invested in a promising new field, only for it to turn up empty. At times the straightforward path produces fine fruit, and sometimes the newest discovery comes from a completely unexpected direction, and propels the whole field of science light-years forward.

However, in order for these new discoveries to produce the desired effect, we need trained scientists who can recognize and understand the implications of their discovery. Otherwise, their revolutionary findings could be put down to mere error. A classic example is the discovery of radioactivity.

A scientist named Henri Becquerel was studying radiation in his laboratory. He placed uranium salts on a photographic plate, wrapped the plate in paper and exposed it to the sun. The image of the uranium salt was exposed on the plate. At first Becquerel assumed that the exposure was due to the effects of sunlight on the uranium crystals. However, a week later he repeated the experiment, but since there was not enough sunlight, he simply put the wrapped photographic plate with the uranium crystals in a dark drawer. To his surprise, the plate was nevertheless exposed. This led him to his now-legendary discovery of radioactivity. He realized that the uranium crystals themselves were a source of light--a type of light that had heretofore never been known.

In spiritual terms, we have also been fortunate to discover a “new light” - but now it’s up to us to recognize that discovery and learn to channel its power. Nearly 20 years ago we were told by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, in a rare prophecy, that Moshiach is already present in this world. All that remains for us to do, said the Rebbe, is to receive the revelation that is already taking place. Over several weeks, the Rebbe repeated this message in various forms, using the phrase "Open your eyes!" In other words, all you need to do is look around and recognize the truth. It is time to change our approach drastically, and make a leap into redemption.

The long-anticipated Redemption has already begun to come to light. Light does not create anything new--it only reveals that which is already present. It removes all doubts engendered by shadow, by darkness, by mistaken notions and blindness. This light can be revealed even now, through studying the teachings of Chassidut. Through this study we can be released from our exile frame of mind, which prevents us from seeing the full G-dly reality. It breaks through our self-erected mental barriers and opens the mind to what is above it. It inspires and ignites the imagination to allow for new possibilities, to go beyond our negative, self-limiting appraisals.

“Taste and you will see—that G-d is good!”

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.



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