There were many arguments in favor of our return to Jewish observance, but the most compelling one was physical. I loved the idea that G-d wanted me to have children, because there was some innate, womanly part of me that had an undeniable and tremendous desire for children as well. Some aspects of the mitzvah to “be fruitful and multiply”–commanded in this week’s portion of Noah— were more challenging for us than others. (Raising our kids gave new meaning to the term “Jewish survival.”) But when I see the twin girls our son Mordy and his wife Rivkee welcomed into the world this week, it reminds Zev and me all over again that we are very blessed to have made the decision we did.
Because if I didn’t buy the whole Torah package, trusting that G-d always knows what He’s doing even if I don’t, I could easily despair over the kind of world these twins will inherit. Then again, a wise rabbi once reminded me, there’s nothing new under the sun: Cain slew Able within days of creation, effectively annihilating 1/3 of the world’s male population. A tendency towards behavioral dysfunction, including jealousy to the point of murder, is intrinsic to humankind. But what is inarguably new in the world today is the way we receive information about the family of man–thank G-d for the good news we can easily share now, too–since the advent of the internet and social media.
And through Noah we learn why this change is happening, and why it’s good news, especially for the Jews.
Here’s what it is:
The flood began in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life. The Zohar predicts that in the six-hundredth year of the sixth millennium (corresponding to the year 1840, the peak of the Industrial Revolution), the world will be “flooded” with wisdom–which is exactly what happened. Not as well known is that in 1840, the mystical teachings of Chasidus also “flooded” the world, revolutionizing how Jews understood G-d, themselves, and all of creation. Together, these spiritual and material advances prepare the world for the seventh millennium, the Messianic era. (In case this is your first time reading this blog, that’s the good news for the Jews. And everyone else, too.)
It’s obvious how Jewish mysticism gets us ready for the time when we will all be able to openly perceive G-dliness. But how is technology making it easier to perceive this spirituality? Just replace “Google” with “God” to get a sense of how everything in creation will be understood in the Messianic era. Think how the “Share My Location” feature on an iPhone is analogous to God seeing everything we do. (It’s also a great way to show your kids how much you love them by following them around.)
We may not fully appreciate that God knows everything, sees everything, and IS everything until Moshiach arrives, but today’s technology reminds us how close we are. (So please share this and make technology great again!)