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by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

Where, exactly, is the Internet? Many people think that it exists somewhere in cyberspace, but that's not quite accurate. The Internet actually consists of some 800,000 kilometers of cables, sunk 1,600 meters under the sea. The sub-oceanic cables cross the ocean and surface on land, where they link up with numerous stations, which house the computers known as “servers.” Through a series of connections, a computer in Kinshasa can link up with a computer in Kansas, all at the speed of light.

The Internet communication network is largely dependent on the integrity of these underground and undersea cables. Because of their importance, the cables are carefully guarded from physical damage. They need continuous maintenance, because they are prone to damage from ocean waves. Specially trained divers inspect the cables at regular intervals. Any cable that is torn or damaged must be repaired in an intricate and delicate operation. Naturally, these repairs are quite costly. However, if the repairs are not made speedily, or if there should be extensive damage to many cables at once, the entire worldwide communications network could be disrupted.

*

Like the Internet, we, too, are interconnected, by a strong cable made up of 613 ropes that binds us to our source of life--our soul root, as it is above. We are bound through spiritual ties that cannot be expressed through the physical body. By way of this cable, spiritual energy flows to us, which enables us to exist

Like the Internet, our spiritual cables are buried deep under the sea. Strong waves and inner storms threaten to tear asunder one or more of the threads making up our cable, to sever our link with the Divine, or, in simple words, to entice us to sin. Every sin, in small part, causes a break in the rope that binds us to G-d. There are sins that are so severe that they can, G-d forbid, disconnect the entire cable at once.

Fortunately, the damage to our "cables" can also be repaired, through the power of teshuvah, return. Our sages assure us that teshuvah has the power to restore the connection and make it even stronger than before. We need to engage in a steady process of repair and restoration, and not allow the links to remain severed for long. Keeping our cables in good repair allows us to live a healthy, productive life, filled with Torah and good deeds.

The most encouraging part is that we are soon entering an era when our cables will no longer need any repair. Nothing will be able to threaten our direct bond to G-d, our source of life. All destructive forces will be eliminated from the universe, in the words of the prophet Zecharia (13:2): "And I will remove the spirit of impurity from this earth."

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.

 

 


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