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    The Torah Science Foundation Newsletter

    Volume 1, Number 1
    Elul-Tishrei 5761-2 / September 2001

    In this issue:

    1. About the TSF Newsletter
    2. Foundation News
    3. Website Updates
    4. Recent and Upcoming Events
    5. Journal Update
    6. Some History of the "The Unity of Science"
    7. Contributing Material to the Foundation's Website and Journal

    1. About the TSF Newsletter

    You are now reading the first installment of the Torah Science Foundation's Newsletter. This monthly publication will contain information on the activities and development of the TSF.

    2. Foundation News

    The TSF received an additional donation by Mr. and Mrs. Micha Taubman of Jerusalem, who were instrumental in helping launch the Foundation's website.

    We wish the Taubman's an enjoyable stay in the United States over the next few months.

    The TSF is about to launch a fund raising program aimed at expanding funding from the "seed" level made possible by the generosity of the Taubmans, to an operating budget level. Any advice or suggestions with raising these funds would be appreciated.

    The TSF would like to welcome some new advisory board members:

    Herman Baranover is Professor of physics at the Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Israel. Professor Baranover served as the Lubavitcher Rebbe's key scientific spokesperson, bringing the Rebbe's teachings on the relationship between Torah and Science to wide audiences in the United States, Israel and the former Soviet Union. He is also the founder of the B'or Hatorah Foundation which holds international conferences on Torah Science issues, and publishes the B'or Hatorah Journal.

    Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm holds a doctorate in Jewish Philosophy and has been President of Yeshiva University for more than 2 decasdes. Rabbi Lamm is one of the most prominent researchers and writers on Torah Science issues. In addition, Rabbi Lamm is well known for his insightful research in Hassidism, particularly into the writings of the Alter Rebbe, the founder of Habad.

    Mr. David Suissa, is Creative Executive Director of Suissa and Miller Advertising, one of the United States' leading advertising firms. He is also the entrepreneur behind the Olam Magazine, which seeks to bring Yiddishkeit to people of all walks of life.

    We are sure that their experience and renown will be a great asset to the TSF.

    3. Website Updates

    Over the past few months we have seen the launching of the foundation's website (www.torahscience.org). Articles have been posted in the Torah-Science, Natural Sciences and Economics sections of the site.

    Please note the Community section in the web site. If you are active on any aspect of Torah science issues and you wish to be listed in the Community section, please send us your profile, following existing ones as a guideline. We would like to create a virtual community for those involved in Torah and science through the TSF web site.

    4. Recent and Upcoming Events

    The Torah Science Foundation's inaugural lecture series, entitled "Unifying Fragmented Reality", was held at the Dan Pearl Hotel in Jerusalem on the 25th and 26th of December 2000. Lectures included a keynote address by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz) on the issues involved in unifying Torah and Science, and a two-day seminar by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh covering scientific methodology, Newtonian mechanics, and the laws of thermodynamics in light of the inner wisdom of the Torah.

    Transcripts of one of the lectures is available on our website, the other will be posted in the next few weeks. Audio and video tapes of both days are available for sale. Audio Tape set (5 tapes) is $50 (+shipping). To order please contact us by email or phone appearing on the website.

    Prof. Eliezer Zeiger, the Torah Science Foundation's Founder and Executive Director conducted 2 weekend seminars on Torah and Science in Miami, and Pittsburgh.

    5. Journal Update

    The first issue of Wisdom, the Foundation's academic journal will be out Fall-Winter 2001. The inaugural issue contains 4 full-length articles by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), and Moshe Genuth, co-founder of the TSF and editor-in-chief of the journal. The issue's table of contents is:

  • Analyzing Periodicity: A Study on the Periodic Table
  • Time and Purpose in Science and Mathematics
  • Photosynthesis and Hassidism
  • The Torah-Science Methodology

    6. Some comments and explanations on the TSF's homepage

    Our homepage contains a 'partzuf' (literally, persona) of the various areas of sciences and arts. A 'partzuf' is the most advanced, multi-dimensional model for ordering any aspect of human experience. Developed by the Arizal (Rabbi Isaac Luria) in the 16th century, it propelled Kabbalistic understanding and theorizing far beyond the early, usually uni-dimensional, Kabbalistic models.

    Any partzuf, at the most basic level, serves as a place-holding model. The partzuf's placeholders can be any of several organically related elements. Some such related elements are:

    1. the sefirot: Crown (Keter), Wisdom (Hohma), Understanding (Binah), etc.;
    2. the letters of the Tetragrammaton: Yud, Heh, Vav, Heh (with or without the point of the Yud kutzo shel yud);
    3. in a recursive fashion, other partzufim, such as those identified by the Arizal himself in the Zohar: Atik, Arih Anpin, etc.

    Note that different partzufim are of different size. Thus for instance a partzuf based on the sefirot will normally have 10, 11 or 13 elements; a partzuf based on the letters of the Tetragrammaton will have 4 or 5 elements; and one based on the partzufim of the Arizal may have anywhere between 5 and 12 elements. Whatever the 'place-holders' may be it is then necessary to place the objects under consideration in their correct locations in the model being proposed. In our own example, the Arts and Sciences have been placed in correspondence to the Sefirot.

    It is beyond the scope of this short note to fully explore the significance or the mechanics of a completed 'partzuf.' Briefly, they function in a similar manner to other scientific models that describe natural or social phenomena. We would like to note one key feature of partzufim (plural form of partzuf), which is not paralleled by other types of models, that is unity and flow of energy.

    When a partzuf has been constructed correctly it becomes possible to detect anew the unity of the phenomena analyzed. A case in point is our homepage partzuf that corresponds to each area of human knowledge and artistic creation, with its corresponding Sefira. The parts of the analysis, when coming together to form a partzuf reflect a newly found unity between all the areas of knowledge.

    It is well known that there are two types of unity: 1) unity prior to analysis and 2) unity formed after the analysis by synthesis. The 'na´ve' form of unity is the first; the second type of unity is more 'mature', or more conscious. The na´ve form of unity leaves a seemingly unified subject of inquiry analytically untarnished. The second type seeks to re-synthesize the fragmented products of analysis.

    Let's put these two types of unity in historical perspective:

    The scientific revolution beginning in the 17th century brought analysis (or as it is known in some areas, criticism) to act on human knowledge in a way that would change it forever. From philosophyliterally, the love of Wisdomgrew astronomy as a separate discipline then natural philosophy, slowly followed by an ever-increasing demarcation of boundaries between various areas of knowledge. In many ways we have reached the culmination of this segmentation process, a process that has left us richer in particular knowledge and conscious of the seemingly ungraspable complexity of the world we live in.

    The challenge facing us in the next stage of our development is to re-unify our knowledge. This is necessary not only on a spiritual level, where the break-up of reality has left humanity confused and searching for an identity, but also with regard to science itself and its continuing search for knowledge. As is becoming apparent to many top researchers, to continue the advancement of knowledge and the ability to gain recourse over nature, we should begin to seek more unified models and conceptions of our world.

    It should be clear that the unity sought today is of the second type, which comes after the analysis. This is reflected beautifully in the very notion of a partzuf in general and the Arts and Sciences partzuf in particular. For as an actual 'persona' acts to create a unity among seemingly different characteristics or qualities, so does a partzuf provide the necessary framework within which seemingly different entities can come together to form an organic, 'breathing' unity. At the same time, each entity continues to 'act' or 'function' separately, in its own characteristic way in order to bring its own special contribution to the whole.

    In particular, the partzuf of the Arts and Sciences creates a unified whole for human knowledge, which can then serve as a reference for conducting additional research into the nature of the interactions between the different areas of knowledge. With the TorahDivine knowledgeas the Keter (the Crown) of the partzuf of human knowledge, we are presented with a structure that unifies both our spiritual and mundane forms of knowledge, thus giving us a rigorous perspective on the possible interactions between Divine and scientific wisdom.

    7. Contributing Material to the Foundation's Website and Journal

    The TSF welcomes contributions to our website and journal. Note that the contents of the first issue of Wisdom have been finalized, so we are not receiving any more material for this issue. We are however accepting material for the next issue, planned for spring 2002. A deadline for submissions to issue 2 has not yet been set, but expect a January or February date.

    We recognize that our vision on the unity of secular and Divine knowledge is unique and we hope to remain true to our vision. Similarly we realize that our approach places new challenges for scientists, artisans and religious scholars alike in bringing together the Torah and their fields of knowledge. We therefore will do our utmost to work with contributors in editing and developing existing manuscripts.

    The TSF publications, online and hardcopy alike, aspire to the highest level of commitment to traditional Torah values and to academic and scientific rigor, alike.

    We would like to wish all our readers and their families a good and sweet New Year, both physically and spiritually. Ketiva ve'Chatima Tova.

    (for replies, inquiries, etc. please email mgenuth@hotmail.com)

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