According to Kabbalah and Chassidut, the rectification of the physical world occurs through clarifying, elevating and returning sparks of holiness at present entrapped in the “secular” wisdoms of the world to their source in Torah. The Talmud declares that if one is told there is wisdom among the nations he should believe it, but if told there is Torah among the nations he should not believe it. Torah is not merely an intellectual pursuit whose goal is human or even Divine wisdom. Rather it is an all-encompassing lifestyle whose true wisdom is imparted only to those who fully live according to its instruction. The Talmudic statement asserts that we should “believe” there is wisdom among the nations. An alternative way of reading this statement would be: there is wisdom among the nations–therefore infuse it with your Torah beliefs, by incorporating their wisdom under the “wings of faith.”
Maimonides states that if one wants to know more about G-d he should look closely at the world around him where G-d’s imprint is encoded in every detail of nature. The numerical value of G-d’s Name Elokim is 86, the same as the word for “nature”. This Name, the only name of G-d employed in the initial account of Creation, appears thirty-two times, alluding to the thirty-two pathways of wisdom spoken of in Kabbalah.
Man’s quest to understand the world around him has led to wisdom in many areas of life and in a multitude of intellectual disciplines. It is particularly evident in the scientific and technological revolutions of the last few hundred years. A Jew, and especially a leader, should not be afraid to acknowledge and take advantage of these advancements but, quite the opposite, he should seek to find their source in Torah as Ben Bag Bag said: “Turn it [the Torah] and turn it again for everything is in it.?”
When the physical source of all earthly phenomenon returns to its spiritual root in the Torah it is thus redeemed. By taking Einstein’s discovery that all matter in essence is pure energy one step farther we see the unification of secular knowledge and Torah wisdom reveals that all energy in essence emanates from One G-d. Certainly Einstein intuited this when spending the remaining years of his life trying to develop his unified field theory, which remains to this day the ultimate goal of modern physics.
Before secular wisdom can be totally integrated with a spiritual Torah consciousness, it needs to be clarified or “converted.” This method also follows the three-stage process of “submission,” “separation,” and “sweetening.” First a Jew must humble himself to accept that wisdom is coming from, at first appearances, a non-Torah source. Simultaneously, the particular body of wisdom, as it were, submits its wisdom to scrutiny in order to return to its ultimate Divine source. Following this initial process of clarification, the secular “shells” surrounding the pure kernel of wisdom are separated from it, thus exposing its natural connection to Torah. Ultimately the essential truth is united with Divine Torah wisdom, leading to the final rectification of “sweetening.”
The leader works ceaselessly to reveal a “unified field” of immediate experience to those around him, wherein secular and holy, physical and spiritual are all seen to be manifestations of one energy, one G-d
?to be continued