The Wave Function Collapse

Posted on 05 December 2019 by LeslieM

Fascinatingly, a parallel concept exists in science, known as the wave function collapse. 
Contrary to common sense, quantum mechanics has shown that matter and atoms can exist in several states at one and the same time. For example, we now know that sub atomic particles move clockwise and counter clockwise simultaneously. Yes strange it is, but it is today the prevailing notion in modern physics.
But here is the catch: When a person observes the atoms, they collapse all the states and the atom settles into one state of being.  That is why when we observe an object we only see it in one state, because our observation of it defines its reality.
This is one of the most exciting, perplexing, and extraordinary ideas in modern physics. As it turns out, the Rogatchover Gaon, who passed away in 1936, sees the origin of the idea in the Talmud.
The Tree
We have another illustration of this in the Talmud. This case concerns a tree on a boundary line where two property owners claim ownership. The roots of the tree are exactly on the boundary line. Who owns the tree? Shmuel says, split it in half between the neighbors. Rav disagrees. He says that would be unfair. As in his mind, the roots of the tree on the border is in a limbo-state and is not owned by anyone of them. So what do you do? He says this: The direction that the branches of the tree lean is dispositive of who it belongs to. If some branches lean toward one neighbor, he owns them. The branches leaning in the other direction belong to the person living in that direction. Wherever the limbo state leans, there it will be placed. 

Jonah’s Strategy
So Jonah is living in this limbo city, not fully in Israel not fully out. G-d shows up one day giving him this mission that he does not want. He is afraid that the gentiles will listen, and it will cast the Jewish nation in a terrible light. What to do? 
Jonah knew he could not run from G-d. But he also realized that, being that Tzidon is a city in limbo as far as Jewish law is concerned, if he decides to run to outside of Israel, he collapses the limbo state and the city becomes a non-Israel city for him. So powerful is man’s choice in Judaism that it can actually determine the statutes of a city in limbo. So too, Jonah collapsed the limbo state of Tzidon by deciding to leave Israel, and hence the city of Sidon has not become a route taking him outside of Israel.
That is why the opening of Jonah states: “And Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from before the Lord.” It does not say that he fled. It says that he arose to flee. What mattered here was his intention. He decided to leave from Sidon to Africa (Tarshish). As soon as his intention turned towards outside Israel, the city became non-Israel, and as a result, he was not considered a prophet since he was effectively not in Israel when he heard the voice. He was not a prophet once the limbo city was collapsed in favor of outside Israel!
What then did G-d do? G-d sent a storm and whale to fetch Jonah back. Once the fish spit him out in the waters of the land of Israel, it turned out that Jonah’s original destination when he boarded the ship in Jaffe was ISRAEL. Sidon, it turned out, was not a starting point to leave Israel, rather it was a route taking him ultimately back to Israel. Thus, retroactively Sidon became Israel, and he had the obligation to carry out the mission and message to the people of Ninveh, which he did effectively. 

The Message
of repentance
The Baal Shem Tov says: You are where your thoughts are. You are where your desire is. Do not underestimate the meaning of these words. If I am in a terrible, or not such terrible, lowly state, but I want to get out of it, then I am not in a lowly state any longer, even though I am technically still there.
It is not about where you are, but where you want to be. I may be suffering from addiction; from anger; insecurity; dejection; fear; or so many other difficult emotions. Granted. But at the end of the day what counts is where I want to be. If I want to be elsewhere, then I am elsewhere.
We often find ourselves on “borders.” We can go either here or there. Really every moment of our life we are standing on the border between truth and falsehood, holiness and profanity, good and evil, functionality or dysfunction, happiness or depression, connected to G-d, or disconnected, shallow or deep, real or fake. We get frustrated because we can’t define our state of being. We wish for more clarity.
Comes the story of Jonah and states that it all depends on your desire and intention. If your intention is truth, that is where you are.    
As we prepare for Yom Kippur we get in touch with a basic truth. G-d does not care so much about your spiritual bank account, how much you’ve saved up in your 401k. He simply cares about where you are intent on going. Are you moving closer or moving farther. Everything else is a weather report. 
The Rebbe Reb Yosef Yitzchak, as a child, was once standing in his class room, gazing outside. His beloved teacher, Rashbatz, told him a few words that stayed with him:
“It is far better to be on the outside looking wistfully in, then on the inside looking wistfully out. “
Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit

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