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Water in the Desert
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

Deserts are no longer remote geographical locations. Today, there is a growing awareness of a trend called desertification, which is becoming an increasingly widespread problem. Desertification is defined as a decline in the fertility of the soul and a depletion of the natural underground water table. Desertification is generally caused by overdevelopment and overfarming in an area, which upsets the ecological balance of that location. Desertification threatens 45% of the entire landmass of the earth--nearly half!--and can lead to severe destabilization, war and starvation in the regions affected by it.

Drought, hunger and wanderings in parched soil are part of the legacy of man since the days of our forefathers. When the Jewish people left Egypt, they wandered in the desert for forty years, a place with snakes and scorpions and no water to drink, a wasteland unfit for human habitation. However, ironically it was in this place that they shed the filthy garments that clung to them from Egypt--the idol-worship and the false gods--and merited to receive the Torah.

The Dor Hamidbar, or “generation of the desert,” refers to the generation born and raised in the desert. Unlike their parents, who personally experienced the exodus from Egypt, they were never exposed to the corruption and filth of Egypt. They were also born free of the crushing burden of terror and obsequiousness towards the Egyptian overlords. Yet, in a sense they were on a lower spiritual level than their parents, who witnessed miracles on a phenomenal scale and personally witnessed the giving of the Torah. The generation that left Egypt is referred to as a Dor Deah, a generation of wisdom, because of their vast understanding of Torah.

Our generation is in many ways similar to the generation of the desert. The false ideologies that swept the world in previous generations are no longer relevant. Imperialism, Communism, Socialism, Capitalism have all been exposed, with all their weaknesses and internal contradictions. The “isms” of the past have died out, and have left in their wake a world population newly enlightened but thirsting for truth, for genuine insight and direction.

Precisely because of this set of circumstances, which appears to be a downfall, our generation is prepared for the greatest revelation of all. We have been through the process of refinement and clarification--the testing of various ideologies on a grand scale and their subsequent refutation. We are prepared to accept the true Torah, eternal and pure, without false interpretations and creative reframing.

The world is ready, and surely we are ready as well. All that is missing is the revelation of G-d’s kingdom here on earth, which will be expressed through the rule of His chosen leader, King Moshiach.

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



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