Sara Jacobovici – When Two Black Holes Collide
When Hamlet says, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” he is assuming that all the other questions related to this one have already been answered. For example:
- What does it mean to exist?
- Who am I in that state of existence?
- Is this question temporally based, i.e., Am I referring to what is happening now, in response to what has occurred or in anticipation of what is to come?
The paradox that is formed in this discussion is the following:
As we strive to become, we need to understand who we are, so as to then find the way to be.
But is the activity similar to a dog chasing its tail? Can we ever be if we are always in the process of becoming? Is Hamlet referring to a state of inertia when he says “to be”? Is he simply in the existential question of opposites; life and death?
According to Heraclitus; “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
What never ceases to amaze me, from a purely psychological perspective, is that we are even able to ask the question; to be or not to be. Don’t take it for granted. Just being able to ask proves we’re human. This is what separates us from the rest of the animal world. While all life forms do what they can to survive we humans are reflective about it. We think, write, paint, dance and sing about it.
From a Torah perspective, the question “where am I” is asked more often than “who am I”. Individually and collectively we try to make sense of our state of existence.
In the beginning.
In the beginning Hashem speaks yet no human ear is there to hear. Creation takes place through the vibrations, the sound frequencies produced by Hashem’s utterances. Hashem speaks and sees.
Creation is a sensory event. Hashem creates man in His own image. Does that mean we “look” like Hashem? Of course not, but it does mean we are sensory beings reflecting Hashem’s qualities.
The moon has no light of its own. We see its light as a result of the moon reflecting the light of the sun. In this way, human beings reflect the image of Hashem through our senses. Each sense fulfills a role in understanding who and where we are.
The Torah is replete with references to all the senses. For the purpose of this article I will focus on the story of Itzhak and his sons Yakov and Esav to discuss the significance of the senses.
Genesis chapter 27: (Emphases are mine)
|1It came to pass when Isaac was old, and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called Esau his elder son,|
|4And make for me tasty foods as I like, and bring them to me, and I will eat,|
|5But Rebecca overheard when Isaac spoke to Esau his son,|
|8And now my son, hearken to my voice,|
|9… I will make them tasty foods for your father, as he likes.|
|11And Jacob said to Rebecca his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, whereas I am a smooth man.|
|12Perhaps my father will touch me, and I will appear to him as a deceiver,|
|16[Rebecca took] the hides of the kids she put on his hands and on the smoothness of his neck.|
17And she gave the tasty foods and the bread that she had made, into the hand of Jacob her son.
|21And Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come closer, so that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.”|
|22So Jacob drew near to Isaac his father, and he felt him, and he said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”|
|23And he did not recognize him because his hands were hairy like the hands of his brother Esau, and he blessed him.|
|26And his father Isaac said to him, “Please come closer and kiss me, my son.”|
|27And he came closer, and he kissed him, and he smelled the fragrance of [Esav’s] garments [in which Yakov was dressed], and he blessed him, and he said, “Behold, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field, which the Lord has blessed!|
This story reflects how the senses influence and impact on who we are, our relationships and most of all, our state of existence.
How did we make sense of who we were and our relationship with Hashem in our Garden of Eden state of existence? How did that change when our eyes “were opened” after eating the fruit and Hashem made “shirts of skin, and He dressed” us?
Moses and Miriam sang us across the divided sea and we moved to the drumming of Miriam and the women. We saw sounds at Mount Sinai and after revelation Moses ascended and wrote all the words of Hashem in the Book of the Covenant. Moses then read those words “within the hearing of the people, and [the people] said, “All that the Lord spoke we will do and we will hear.””
Albert Einstein said: “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.” Well, those details were confirmed:
In a highly anticipated announcement, physicists with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) revealed on 11 February that their twin detectors have heard the gravitational ‘ringing’ produced by the collision of two black holes about 400 megaparsecs (1.3 billion light-years from Earth).
I read the above description in the following way: the collision of two black holes or the “darkness [which] was on the face of the deep” produced the gravitational ‘ringing’, the first vibrations of sounds produced when Hashem uttered the first words, “let there be”.