science of the exile

We've brushed on this topic in the past, but I found an intriguing quote from the Komarna Rebbe in his work Netiv Mitzwotecha which gave me new insight into the matter.

The Rebbe explains (Netiv HaYihud:3rd path:aleph) that there are two major states of existence. There's the outer status and the inner one. The outer is characterized by the initial static state of the universe since creation. In this outer state, all of creation receives exactly in accordance with its needs. The outer state is a meager state of subsistence.

The inner state is entirely the opposite. When the world functions according to the inner, or direct, state then HaShem provides tremendous surplus, astronomically above and beyond the simple needs of creation.

He goes on to explain that this inner state is a function of the work of our hands. We are capable of attracting HaShem's attention so that we receive in great volume, or if we don't live up to the challenge, still creation will continue to subsist, if not so glamorously.

Ok, this seems like a straightforward case of reward and punishment, but to me it highlighted something different.

The Komarna Rebbe explicitly says that while we are in an 'outer' state, then the world operates in accordance with the patterns set out by HaShem since the creation of the world. But, when we reach that inner state, then HaShem directly intervenes and provides abundant new energy that was not part of the original emanation that was creation.

To me this says: the 'outer' state is the ideal closed system that the framework of science so dearly depends on, whereas the 'inner' state breaks the closed system and G-d defies nature.

So, essentially, the development and progression of science had to take place in an exile-style framework. When the system is open, or in an 'inner' state, the ground starts to fall out from under the feet of scientific theory.

Until now I had never been sure whether Judaism held that the system was open or closed. How can that be? Well, the question is half semantics: there's no difference for G-d who is beyond our concept of time, to change something now (supernatural) versus at the time of the universe's creation. (natural) But here the Komarna clarifies it for me: Judaism believes unquestionably that the universe is an open system, yet in times of exile or 'outer' existence, the system functions like a closed system, ie. no new external energy is introduced.

This kind of sort of straightens out the difference of opinion between the Rambam, that there is nature, and the Ramban that nature is a series of repeated miracles, in that the universe is always (at its core) an open system, (read:miraculous) but there are times when it acts like a closed system. (read: nature)


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