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The Resonance of the Word: A Philosophical Legacy of Judaism By: Laurence L. Murphy and Dominick IorioGo Back to Table of Contents
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If we can fully grasp the Logos of that which we decipher and relate to in logic, we can even predict the manifestation of this principle within the physical universe. The discovery of black holes, for example, as a rational deduction of mathematical logic preceded the empirical data that such phenomena did in fact exist. We discovered the existence of Black Holes through nothing but the symmetry of mathematical formula--which is itself a kind of language--and thus began looking for what we otherwise would never have known to look for: a hole in the night.

When our reason reaches such heights of revelation, it implies that we in fact have some degree of belonging to the symmetry of the phenomenal cosmos in general. The bridge between ourselves and all else that is--is established through the language of ideas expressed in formula. When that bridge is built, then our capacity for reason seems complicit with the reason, the Logos, that lies beyond the world of appearances. In essence our minds are a part of the symmetry of all else that exists, and that the logic, or Logos, of our mind is the same as the logic, or Logos, of that which surrounds us.

Yet, even though we can understand some laws that govern the physical universe, and express them in language as formula, we often cannot predict or control their manifestation--such as the unpredictability of the weather--the various manifestations of possible viruses--the endless combination of forms in fractiles. We can accordingly grasp certain rational principles that underlie many phenomena, but we cannot control many of the infinite variations that express those principles, or the infinite possibilities that may be derived from them. This freedom of expression in the universe is far greater than anything we can master. This unpredictability of the cosmos is part of its freedom.

In Judaism, it is out of such freedom that the Universe, as we know it, has fallen. “The Fall” is a cosmic tragedy which has predicated the nature of human existence, and time, ever since. It is after the Fall that we tumble into a universe characterized by time, aging, and inevitably death. In the Fall, the universe is divided from itself and recategorized into two essential subdivisions: that of Good and Evil. In the Fall, humankind took on the task it was not intended to take on: of categorizing and judging the Word’s creation. What was once one is divided, in our judgement, into two, and humanity broke its complicit and intimate relationship with the source of its creation. The Word, in short, as it was manifest in our very lives, was divided from itself in time.

This separation of the creative Word from all that is, and ever shall be, is, in one dimension, what we call “time.” Time is like the silence out of which we hear music. We know time is passing as we sense and uncover changes in ourselves and all that is around us--and in terms of our own existence we witness events. Patterns of events over time reveal to us an ongoing process as time-space separates one event from the other.

The event of our birth and our death, for example, are separated by time--although people are being born and are dying at the same time all the time. Similarly, all things are happening at once and separately all the time. We know there is a difference between night and day, but it is always night and always day at the same time somewhere on earth. Night never ends, nor does day, as long as the earth is. Still, we are subject always to time passing, just as we are subject to the earth turning, although each moment is in its essence a part of the eternal. What we see are merely event horizons of possibilities in time as we pass through shadows and return to light. It is the very passing of time which makes it impossible for us to find it, or to make it stand still.

Time is in motion. It eludes us in its passing, and we cannot find it through analysis, just as we cannot find time by taking apart a clock, nor in studying the intricacy of a clock’s parts. Instead, a clock can only tell us what those who created it thought about time and how they measured it for themselves. We cannot heal ourselves and restore the relationship between ourselves and the source of our Being beyond time.

The antidote to this division in Judaism is initially to restore this relationship by restoring God’s eternal Word in our lives through the concept of a covenant, or a holy contract. The Word that created all that is is converted in covenant into a promise, a vow. The vow holds all together in relationship until the created universe is restored beyond time. The covenant is a giving of one’s word so that what we say and what we do is whole and complete and true.

This concept of a vow can be illustrated in the West through traditional wedding ceremonies. In the ritual itself there is a pause, a place for reasons to be recognized as that which can prove and demonstrate a divisive concern of why two should not be joined as one:

“if any man knows of any reason why two should not be joined together, let them speak now, or forever hold their peace.”


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