Life’s Binary Code

today I have set before you life and death …  choose life 

Consider for a moment all of the wonderful and amazing things that you can do on this computer right in front of you.  Look at the colors and look at the font.  Think about the interactive nature of the Internet.  And what about all those computer games – the graphics, the sounds, the ability to test your wits against a machine.  Truly, to some degree, computers and robots and artificial intelligence are recreating life and the universe, albeit on a smaller scale.

Now consider, wonder of wonders, everything that a computer does comes down to the simplicity of a binary code.  Every command, every action, every color, and every sound that a computer generates result simply from a series of zeros and ones (e.g. 00110101).  And in actuality, even more simple than that, the “choice” a computer makes in executing a given command is not really between two numbers, a “zero” and a “one,” but between on and off.  In a sense, each digit in a number string is made up of a series of on/off switches or light bulbs, with zero representing “off” and one being “on.”

So too in life!  Everything around us is made up of a complex binary code.  Everything that exists and everything that can be experienced is a manifestation of a singular choice.  However, instead of a choice between a zero and a one, life’s binary code is made up of choosing between a manifestation of G-d’s presence or the hiddeness of G-d in this world. 

Chazal teach us that G-d’s first step in creating the world was to create a space, wherein (so to speak) G-d did not exist – or perhaps more accurately where G-d’s presence appeared vacant.  Then into that vacuum, G-d inserted “His” light, which became the foundation of creation.  So, everything we experience in this realm is either the presence or absence, or more accurately a complex combination of presence and absence, of G-d.

This idea is represented in the Torah most clearly in the concept of Tuma (impurity) and Tahara (purity).  G-d, of course, is the most holy and pure thing that there is.  The most manifest form of this purity and holiness is human life.  G-d breathed His Spirit into man – and that life has the highest potential for connecting to its Source of anything in the physical world.  Therefore, things which tend to life, which tend to ability to connect to and reveal G-d’s presence, are Tahor.  One the other hand, the most “impure” thing that exists is a dead human body – a place where all that potential has faded away.  Tumah is the absence of G-d as manifested in the absence of life.  Tumah enters the world when G-d’s Spirit as reflected in life ceases to exist and the ability to bring G-d’s presence down into this world ends.

Everything that exists is combination to some degree of Tuma and Tahara, of life and death, of a G-d’s presence coming down into this world or it being shielded.  These terms all reflect the same idea.  Existence comes about through a simple Divine, on/off, binary code.

Our job is to look through the obscurity of this world and unmask G-d presence.  When we do this, we elevate the mundane so that G-d’s light will shine brighter.  This is done by one simple choice demanded in this week’s parsha on the “on” side of the binary code of the universe – that is to “choose life.”  That is all there is.

In these days leading up to Rosh Hashanah, consider the moments of your life.  Every choice you make is either to life or to death.  If you are bored and doing something to “kill time,” you are choosing death.  If you are taking advantage of your moments to strive to grow, to be a better person, you are choosing life.  When making choices throughout the day keep this simple formula in mind and always try to chose greater life and connection.  By doing this you will surely be inscribed in the Book of Life.  Shana Tova!



This entry was posted on Monday, September 19th, 2011 at 10:50 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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