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Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 19 Adar I 5784
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New Horizons
Thought we knew everything there is to know about life on earth? Smithsonian zoologists recently announced the discovery of a new carnivore species – the first such discovery in 35 years. The olinguito is a small, rust-colored, furry creature that looks like a cross between a bear and a housecat.

The discovery of the olinguito “reminds us that the world is not yet explored and the age of discovery is far from over," says Dr. Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, who was the first to identify the creature as a new species. "The olinguito makes us think - what else is out there?"

The documentation of all forms of life on earth is far from complete. Who knows how many surprises of this sort await us still? A group of Australian researchers recently completed a four-year study in subterranean caves – and found over 850 (!) new species of invertebrates previously unknown to science. And it is generally accepted among scientists that only a tiny fraction of the ocean depths has ever been explored – meaning that a huge number of sea creatures elude our discovery.

The diversity of life on earth never ceases to astonish researchers in biology, zoology and physiology. Creatures cover a vast range of sizes, shapes, functions and character. Yet, despite the obvious differences between the microscopic bacteria and the killer whale, the moss and the cedar, the virus or the human, we are all created from the same building blocks and carry out very similar life processes. We all belong to the same category – living beings.


Our sages describe in vivid colors the moment of Redemption, when all animal and plant life and even inanimate matter will join together in a shared experience: a revelation of G-dliness that will encompass all of creation, and leave no room for doubt about our shared origins. “And all flesh will see that the mouth of G-d has spoken.” And it is not only the flesh that will speak – even a “stone in the wall will cry out, and a splinter of the tree will answer” – all of creation will raise its voice to join in the thunderous chorus, expressing our recognition of G-d.

The surprises that await us will come not only from the creatures that have yet to be discovered, but even from those we thought we knew all too well. For example, it will become abundantly clear that every Jew, without exception, has an “actual part of G-d Above.” Even the simplest, most ignorant person will be shown as a human being filled with innumerable qualities, good deeds, and refined thoughts.

If we would only open our eyes, we would begin to see that this hidden world is right before us. We need only to stop thinking that we know so much, and open our minds to the great unexplored wonders of existence.


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