two becomes one

There is nothing more basic in the world than putting two things together in order to create some new object. This is a fundamental essence of being alive. We consume food, reordering it into flesh and blood. We look at a bunch of stones stacked a certain way and see a house. We see a face, recognise a friend, and wish them well.

Every morning we are plunged into the chaos of existence, and we make order out of so much noise. Every generation we move further along in the task of classifiying and taming that chaos, drawing ordered logical rules out of a seemingly unpredictable environment.

Why is this the basis of life, and why is this possible?

When Yaakov Avinu has a divine revellation in his dream, the only physical proof left is the pile of rocks on which he slept; they were fused into a single rock. Why is this significant enough to warrant mention in the brevity of written Torah?

When we take two things that seem completely unrelated, and we combine them, the fact that this is even possible is miraculous. Look at man-made tools, if you are in the wrong country with the wrong standard voltage, your appliances might not work, or they might get fried. If you try and mix lego and duplo, you're out of luck. If you have the wrong component, your computer won't function. If all you have are AAA batteries and you need a 9-volt battery, what to do?

When we find novel and new ways to overcome apparent limitations and differences between ideas, people, languages, or other more material things, we are connecting to their underlying commonality. We can understand about the health of a human from the health of a flowe or of a mouse because we can get down to the level of DNA and find commonality. When we set off a fusion reaction, we are getting down to the level of the atom, common to all matter. We can go deeper and deeper and as we do, we see that everything is essentially the same, everything shares a common essence.

Everything comes from the same source.

Everything can be related because it all draws its existence from God. It is to remind us of this that God fused a couple of rocks under the head of the tzaddik Yaakov Avinu. Yaakov is called so because his name implies that he reveals Godliness throughout the entire world, even down to the level of the heel, the lowliest level.

This is a lesson especially appropriate to the coming festival of Hannukah, in which it is said (in the Torah Ohr among other sources) that the divine pressence sheds its light even down to the lowest levels, below the ten handbreadths that are normally untouched by such a revellation.

The goal of all of science is nothing more than to unify everything in existence through a common set of rules, a common foundation. In this sense science and religion blend perfectly.


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