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Unseen Matter
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

One of the stated goals of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) currently being built by CERN in Switzerland is to explore the structure of the so-called dark matter. The discoveries made through the LHC are supposed to settle long-standing debates between cosmologists and physicists. The cosmologists argue that there is five times more matter in the universe than what physicists are able to "see." Even physicists agree that the standard model of the universe leaves out a substantial portion of its total mass.

The problem is that even if they are successful at CERN at generating the huge energies necessary to produce dark matter, it still won't be visible. It will pass through the detector (an instrument known as "ATLAS" that weighs 7000 tons, which creates a powerful magnetic field, strong enough to crush a bus). It will then pass through the atmosphere, into outer space, and will break apart. Dark matter has its name because it does not interact with any known particles in the universe, such as those making up the detector.

A problem, indeed.

We have a similar "problem" in a spiritual sense. It is clear that we can only glimpse a very small fraction of the totality of creation. Most of creation is made of "matter" and energy that is invisible and cannot be detected with physical or spiritual instruments. For us, they are "dark."

 Our sages relate many tales of creatures that are completely unheard of, and outside the realm of normal human experience. Only one class of people can detect them: the prophets. A prophet sees or hears things that an individual standing next to him cannot grasp at all. They "meet" angels or disembodied souls, residing in spiritual universes parallel to ours.

In previous generations prophets were far more common. However, because of the phenomenon of "generational descent," people today are less spiritually refined. Furthermore, perhaps the apparitions of the past do not serve the same purposes today. Nevertheless, there still are rare individuals in our time who have been blessed with the gift of prophecy. One such person is the Lubavitcher Rebbe, King Moshiach. Some prophecies were for general, global events, such as the Israeli victories and miracles in the Six-Day and Gulf wars, or the downfall of Communism and massive emigration of Soviet Jews. There were also many personal prophecies revealed to individuals: such as which business ventures would succeed or fail; which operations and medical procedures would be successful; who would be appointed to a particular position; and many other examples.

The most significant of all the Rebbe's prophecies to date, of course, has been his repeated statements that we are in the very last stages of exile, and we should prepare ourselves for the imminent revelation of Moshiach. Through increasing in acts of goodness and kindness, and in Torah study, specifically on the topic of Moshiach and Redemption, we will all merit the Geulah. And then, all of us will see it with our own eyes.

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



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