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Chicken Soup For the Soul
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

Chest is one of the most esteemed professional journals that deal with the cardiopulmonary system, and is widely read by doctors and researchers in the field. A recent issue of Chest reported on the results of a study, which, if not for the venerable source, would have aroused amusement. The study--using the most advanced biotechnological tools--investigated the benefits of chicken soup consumption on lower respiratory tract ailments. The article, accompanied by flowcharts, tables and erudite diagrams, proves that our grandmothers knew what they were talking about!

This is not the first time that a seemingly outdated view that had been rejected by science wins renewed recognition in light of recent scientific findings. The science of today is far more humble than in the past, despite (or maybe due to) its being far more advanced and wide-ranging. This is true particularly in the so-called "behavioral sciences," but even in the more exact sciences, there is a greater readiness to reconsider old ideas that had fallen into disfavor. Many of them are now proving to be helpful, and more importantly, do not have the destructive side effects of the modern-day solutions.

This newer and humbler approach of science is leading many scientists to reconsider their position on the truth and eternal relevance of the Torah. Long dismissed as anachronistic, even the modern intellectual is increasingly acknowledging that the Torah is a source of everlasting wisdom and insight.

Even for those who have accepted the eternal relevance of the Torah's teachings, we are still in need of inspiring teachers and mentors who can interpret the Torah and apply its lessons to modern day realities. In each generation, G-d sends the "eyes of the congregation," the righteous and wise leaders, who assist us in discovering the message for the day contained within the Torah. Torah is Divine, not human wisdom; for this reason, it has a lesson for every time and every place. Yet those who are steeped in the study of Torah merit to have the special insight that enables them to perceive the relevant message for daily life.

In our generation, one individual who has fulfilled this role masterfully is the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The Rebbe’s teachings are remarkable for their profundity as well as for their grasp of modern realities. The Rebbe takes the deepest teachings of Torah and reveals how to apply them to resolve modern day dilemmas. The teachings of the Rebbe, as well as all teachings of Chassidus, are a foretaste of the Redemption, when G-dliness will be revealed in this world and the timeless truth of the Torah will be clearly recognizable.

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



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