Rav Dessler on Reality and Perception

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  1. Bob Miller says:

    Let’s say that a Jew who was a secular archaeologist on Monday has become a totally committed Torah Jew studying in Kollel on Tuesday. As of Tuesday, his understanding of ancient history, including the time when our Mesora says the Mabul occurred, has changed radically.

    Objectively, what, if anything, is now different about the Mabul as of Tuesday?

    Are the facts about the Mabul dependent on our perception?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get it. So was Ancient Egypt wiped out in the Mabul, or wasn’t it? And if it was, how did it seem to continue uninterrupted all the way through Galus Mitzrayim?

  3. Bob Miller says:

    If a Jew held secular views about the Mabul based on the academic archeological consensus and then accepted the Torah view, one could say that “for him” the Mabul was transformed from some sort of natural event (or even a non-even) into another, miraculous event. But would this change of consciousness have changed the actual Mabul event and its aftermath objectively in any way?

  4. Chaim says:

    Can you recommend a good book on Philosophy of Science?

  5. Milhouse says:

    So someone looking in RCBD’s window would have seen the family sitting in the dark, and felt sorry for them? And if he were a materialist and he knew that they were experiencing light and warmth, because for them the vinegar was burning, he’d feel even more sorry for them, because from his perspective what they were experiencing wasn’t “real” but a “cruel illusion”?

    But then what of the other RCBD story, when his wife lit a fire in the oven to hide the fact that she had nothing to cook. When the neighbour looked in the oven, she saw bread that had just finished baking and was about to burn, and called to RCBD’s wife to come quickly and take it out. Was she living in olam hayetzirah?

  6. Abarbanel on Breishis explains Rambam in Moreh 2:29 as understanding the 6 days of creation as sequences of cause and effect rather than real time. Shem Tov and R.Moshe Narboni explain him that way too. As Abarbanel says Rambam referred to that as the greatest secret in Ma’asei Breishis. This would seem a simpler approach. Thus the six days refer to the laws that govern nature and all future developments having been put in place through the Ratzon of HKBH.

  7. micha says:


    The Rambam’s position seems to be that time during Creation was definable, but it wasn’t 6 days. He follows Aristotle, that time is a consequence of motion or change in objects.

    REED seems to be saying that without an observer who experiences desire – effort – satisfaction/frustration, the notion of a time-line is ill-defined. Humans impose a flow of time on a more complex reality.

    As for milhouse and David’s question, I don’t know if I can answer it. You’re looking for logical conclusions from a position which defies one of the most ingrained intuitions about logic — that contradictions can not coexist. I can’t reason that well in such a context, and certainly can’t do so with any surety that I’d reach a conclusion with which the Maharal or Rav Dessler would agree.

  8. Micha, I have read Rambam over and over on this issue. It is very difficult because one has to get into an Aristotelian way of thinking and that is not easy. i also think that to really grasp Rambam one has to, counter intuitively, apply his derech to current science. (I have planned for the longest time to write about that as Rambam seems to be suggesting that several times in Moreh, veod chazon lamoed).I am almost sure that Rambam believed that the first day of physical existence is symbolized by Shabbos and it is the beginning of time. i know it is revolutionary but I have some pointers to that. See his explanation of Shovas vaynofash also his comment by Odom vechave – lo hoyo teva yatziv – and other such small hints. As you know he always says several peshotim on one possuk – the Chitzony and the Penimi so one has to be very cautious.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Thirteen Petalled Rose said it well: There are worlds upon worlds. I don’t pretend to understand any of these matters. Al haTorah, al haAvodah, v’alGimilut Chasdim is all I know. Maybe in the next gilgul maybe I will know more.
    -Canecutter in the Bog

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