Teshuvah and Entropy: Aligning with HaShem to Repair the Cosmos

8 min read

Our transgressions (averot) not only affect our reality but also impact others’ realities. As the Jewish people, we are quantum observers, and our actions influence the entire cosmos. The concept of thermodynamics and entropy illustrates this effect. Entropy, symbolized by the letter (S), represents the measure of disorder and chaos within the universe. Our averot increase entropy in the universe, expanding it and causing measurable shifts in the cosmos. Although the Jewish people are not ruled by celestial bodies, the nations are. This is why HaShem added a “hei” to the names of Avraham and Sarah in Bereshit (Genesis), as discussed in the Talmud and Rambam’s Laws of Teshuvah. Increased entropy shifts the cosmos, altering the consciousness of non-Jewish nations in a negative way and creating more chaos in the world.

Scientists say that it’s impossible to reduce entropy, but we know that Teshuvah (repentance) can reduce it. Teshuvah allows us to merge multiverses to a state of base reality. This is the essence of returning to a state far greater than we would have been if not for this opportunity granted by HaShem. As Rabbi Kook writes, “Through Teshuvah, the past itself is transformed into a source of merit” (Orot HaTeshuvah 6:7). By doing Teshuvah, we repair our spiritual state and contribute to the rectification of the entire cosmos, fulfilling our divine potential and bringing harmony to the world.

When we sincerely repent, it is as if our transgressions never existed, thereby reducing entropy. This transformation is akin to our averot becoming mitzvot (merits). The Talmud states, “Great is Teshuvah, for it transforms intentional sins into merits” (Yoma 86b). Reducing entropy through Teshuvah aligns our world more closely with the divine essence of HaShem.

HaShem is infinite and without limitations. The concept of tzimtzum, a divine contraction, explains how HaShem created space for the physical world to exist. This contraction can be linked to our inability to know HaShem, our perception that we are separate from HaShem, and our rejection of HaShem’s will, creating a perceived separation and expanding entropy. By aligning ourselves with HaShem’s will, this entropy is reduced. This alignment brings us closer to HaShem as we integrate our will with His.

As entropy decreases, the universe contracts, and the space-time continuum changes. Reducing entropy decreases the size of the universe, eventually transforming it into Olam HaBa (the World to Come). In this state, the perception of time ends, including the ability to actualize reality through mitzvot and Teshuvah, as all action depends on time. Increased entropy leads to the illusion of time accelerating, resulting in shorter human lifespans and a hastened perception of events. The prophet Daniel mentions, “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4), indicating an acceleration of time in the final days.

In these end days, time will appear to hasten due to our negative actions. However, this hastening is also a manifestation of HaShem’s mercy, as He hastens the redemption. The Ramban explains, “in the merit of Teshuvah, HaShem brings the redemption closer” (Ramban on Deuteronomy 30:2). What seems negative can be viewed positively when we understand that HaShem’s mercy is at play, guiding us towards redemption.

The merging of our reality with HaShem’s essence through reduced entropy aligns us with a more refined state of existence. As we align with HaShem’s will, the universe’s expansion slows, moving us closer to a divine state where the space-time continuum ceases to exist. This final state, where time ceases, is alluded to in the teachings of the sages, who describe a time of ultimate peace and unity with HaShem.

The ultimate lesson here is the power of Teshuvah and its ability to transform our world. By sincerely repenting and aligning our will with HaShem’s, we reduce entropy and bring the universe closer to its divine origin. This process is the essence of tikkun olam, the repair of the world. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught, “Every good deed and every mitzvah is a step closer to the final redemption” (Likutei Sichos, Vol. 20, p. 184).

In Jewish thought, Satan is often understood as an aggadic metaphor rather than a literal entity. This metaphorical understanding emphasizes that Satan is not an independent force opposing HaShem but rather a representation of the internal challenges and negative inclinations within us. The term “Satan” means “adversary” or “accuser,” symbolizing our internal struggles and temptations. The Talmud states, “The evil inclination is initially like a spider’s thread, but ultimately it becomes like cart ropes” (Sukkah 52a), indicating how minor temptations can grow into significant challenges if not addressed.

Jewish tradition teaches that individuals who do not follow the Torah and lead self-centric, ego-driven lives can be seen metaphorically as “demons.” Their negative actions create a ripple effect within the cosmos, contributing to the negativity we perceive in the world. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai explains in the Zohar that “the evil inclination is an agent of testing, pushing man to strive for spiritual refinement” (Zohar I:61b). The Maharal of Prague discusses in “Netivot Olam” how the yetzer hara (evil inclination) is an intrinsic part of human nature, meant to be harnessed and directed towards good. For instance, someone who acts violently or with malice towards others can be considered a “demon” metaphorically. These negative encounters serve as reflections of our inner struggles and opportunities for spiritual growth and rectification. The Torah teaches that these challenges are signs from HaShem, guiding us to correct our internal flaws to repair the world. This is supported by the teachings in Pirkei Avot, “Who is strong? He who conquers his evil inclination” (Pirkei Avot 4:1). The Chofetz Chaim in his sefer “Chofetz Chaim” emphasizes that our interactions with others are mirrors of our inner state, teaching us what we must rectify within ourselves.

The Arizal teaches that every action we take, whether positive (mitzvot) or negative (averot), creates ripples in the spiritual realms that impact the physical world (Etz Chaim 1:2). The metaphor of a spider’s web, where each strand’s movement affects the entire web, aligns with this concept. Our mitzvot strengthen and repair the world, while our averot create negative consequences that must be rectified. Quantum physics offers an intriguing parallel to this idea, suggesting that our choices can influence multiple potential outcomes, akin to the concept of a multiverse. Just as observing a quantum particle can affect its state, our actions and intentions shape our reality. Rabbi Dessler in “Michtav Me’Eliyahu” writes, “Our world is a reflection of our inner state, and by refining our character traits, we alter the very fabric of reality around us.”

The concept of the Angel of Death is also allegorical. When Adam and Eve chose to partake of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they chose their will over HaShem’s will, leading to spiritual death. This choice symbolizes the birth of the Angel of Death within humanity. Eve’s action can be metaphorically associated with Lilith, emphasizing the consequences of diverging from HaShem’s will. The Midrash states, “When the first man was created, HaShem took him and showed him all the trees in the Garden of Eden, and said to him, ‘See My works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are! And all that I have created, it was for you that I created it. Be careful not to corrupt and destroy My world’” (Kohelet Rabbah 7:13). This teaches us that our choices have profound spiritual consequences, transforming our reality.

The true battle is within us. By aligning our will with HaShem’s will, we achieve spiritual harmony and contribute to the rectification of the world. The path to this alignment is the “middle path,” represented by the Tree of Life in the middle of the field, symbolizing balance and righteousness. As the Rambam states, “The way of the middle is the balanced path, and it leads one to a life of righteousness and closeness to HaShem” (Rambam, Hilchot De’ot 1:4). This concept is further reinforced by the teachings of the Vilna Gaon, who noted that “the greatest battle a person fights is the one within his own soul” (Even Sheleimah 1:1).

Our struggles and triumphs are part of a broader tapestry that connects our internal spiritual work to the external world. By conquering our yetzer hara and aligning with HaShem’s will, we participate in the ongoing process of tikkun olam, repairing and perfecting the world. The Baal Shem Tov emphasized that “every person is a miniature world, and by perfecting ourselves, we contribute to the perfection of the entire universe” (Tzava’at Harivash 12).

Our actions have profound cosmic implications. Through understanding and embracing the teachings of our tradition, we can navigate the complexities of our existence and contribute to the ultimate rectification and unity with HaShem.

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