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Unread 02-17-2002, 03:32 PM   #1
Jude
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Open Your Eyes

The phrase "open your eyes" to see how everything is prepared for the Geula (Vayetze 5752) is perplexing to some. What does it mean?

Have you ever had the experience of having misplaced something and hunting all over for it, and then being shocked to discover it was right in front of you all along? We were certainly looking with our eyes open, but our eyes WEREN'T OPEN to see what was right in front of us!

An example from Torah is with Adam and Chava, where after eating from the Eitz Ha'Daas it says "their eyes were opened." Rashi says this refers to chochma and not to seeing.

In this thread I'd like to discuss examples we have read about or experienced, that have "opened our eyes" to the Geula. Some of them are just a "taste," and you would need to read up on the subject to fully appreciate it.

1) In another thread, the question was raised about how to present Jewish schools to secular parents. What's amazing about how to approach parents today, is how vastly different it is than fifty years ago.

Fifty years ago it was extremely difficult to convince parents to send their children to Jewish schools. Public schools were fairly decent if not excellent, and parents wanted their children to get a good secular education.

Today, many secular parents are very nervous about their children being in public schools. The statistics about pregnancy and drugs in the youngest of kids, the language and attitudes the kids come home with, the lack of morality and values, and the overall low quality education, are a boon to those who are trying to convince Jewish parents to send their children to Jewish schools.

If you don't read books and articles about the forties and fifties when the dayschool movement began, you can't begin to appreciate ("open your eyes") how amazingly things have changed.

Yes, tuition is a formidable problem, but secular parents can appreciate the idea of paying for a quality "private school" education.

2) We have very quickly gotten used to the idea that we can fly back and forth from the former Soviet Union for Pesach or the summer, that we can have Lag B'Omer parades in Red Square (?!), that there can be public sedarim by the hundreds, etc.
I, for one, grew up on "behind the Iron Curtain stories."

Seventy years of communism, and hundreds of years before that of oppressive rule under the czars with forced conscription of little children (rachmona litzlan - can you just imagine the U.S. government coming and taking little 7 year old Yossi off to boot camp for 25 years?!), and now there are Gan Yisrael camps, and the government is returning shuls to Jews?!

3) Although I'm not a big science buff, I've read some interesting things about how scientists are coming to recognize the underlying unity in all they see.

Also a book or two by reputable scientists about resurrection

Also the idea expressed in the experiment of Schrodinger's cat which is both alive and dead (sorry, can't explain it all, perhaps someone else will) which is reminiscent of "eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim chaim" - these and those are the words of the living G-d, said about conflicting views in the Talmud, and how both can be true.

Also about particles and waves, and what makes something one or the other. Strangely, scientists have discovered that it is the observer who determines which it will be. This underscores the idea of man being the purpose of creation, rather than the previous position science held, that the universe is a big machine which just keeps running.

4) Eretz Yisrael - the Rebbe told us that for the first time in recent history, we can stand up and proclaim to the world that Eretz Yisrael is ours because Hashem said so in the Torah. The fact that things are miserable in E.Y. now is SOLELY because those in power are NOT following the Rebbe's guidelines. They are following the old, galus way of trying to appease the goy. This USED to work, but NO LONGER DOES, because the Geula has begun!

5) that we can now, for the first time in millenia, teach goyim their Sheva Mitzvos

6) It used to be that a town had a rav, a shochet, a chazan, i.e. the appointed Jewish leaders. Today, the Rebbe says EVERYBODY can and should be a leader, giving classes, reaching out. This can be done even via telephone! It's just amazing!

7) Once upon a time, not that long ago, you needed mesirus nefesh to keep Shabbos. There was a six day workweek and the day off was Sunday. Now, there's a five day workweek, and if you even suspect you're being denied a job because of being Sabbath observant, you can take the case to court, and there are laws that protect the Jews' observance!!

8) Not that long ago, walking around and looking obviously Jewish required mesirus nefesh. Many frum men did not wear a yarmulka at work (wearing a toupee sometimes), and beards were not accepted either. Today, you have the "right" to dress the way you want!

9) Not that long ago, people preferred keeping their mitzva observance private. Today we have public menora lightings in which it is considered an HONOR for government figures to take part!

10) We've even gotten (half-hearted) apologies from the Pope and the church about the Holocaust and their view of Judaism.

There's much more, but I'll wait for comments and ideas from you !

Last edited by Jude; 03-11-2002 at 12:07 PM.
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Unread 02-17-2002, 05:48 PM   #2
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Schrodinger's cat : very interesting idea, actually. basically, it goes like this. if you place a cat in a sealed lead box, you wouldnt know if the cat is alive or dead unless you open up the box to check. so technically, the cat is both alive and dead at the same time. its a bit weird, but there you have it.

also, the whole idea of "beating their swords into plowshares is an amazing concept. in the past, who would ever have dreamt that world nations would get together to try to work out their difference without coming to war? in fact, on the wall of the un, there's a mural with the words "and they shall beat their swords into plowshares" yishayahu 2:4. this is quite amazing-anyone reading through history books will at once realize what an innovative way of thinking this is.
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Unread 02-17-2002, 09:13 PM   #3
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here's what I read:

Schrodinger's Cat is the mascot of the new physics ... it has become a symbol of much that is mind-boggling about 20th century science.
The cat is in the box. You can't see it. It will randomly get either good food or poison. In the quantum world, all possibilities - even mutually contradictory ones, coexist and have a reality of their own. These coexisting quantum possibilities ensure that S.'s cat is fed both food and poison simultaneously. So he is both alive and dead at the same time.
If we open the box to look at it, we will see it is either dead or alive. But it is our looking that has saved or lost the cat. The observer is part of what he observes; observation changes things, and the world of observation is a world of either/or. The quantum world is one of both/and.
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Unread 03-11-2002, 12:35 PM   #4
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Another angle to "opening your eyes," is seeing how numerous ideas that used to be true only in the spiritual sense, are now seen in the world in the most physical way:

1) the idea of the Rebbe being the neshama kelalis:
Chasidim used to learn this concept, but in no way did what they learned match the reality. Up until the present Rebbe, no other Lubavitcher Rebbe was seen as "The Rebbe of Jewry." Today, even opponents have to acknowledge the fact that the Rebbe is a world renowned figure. The Rebbe's picture hangs in homes from India to Africa to Europe to the Americas and Australia. Whether it was the Rebbe's general or personal letters to Jews the world over, 'dollars' for Jews of all walks of life, or numerous other examples, we can tangibly see how the Rebbe is a "general soul" to whom all other souls are connected.

2) Sefarim say that a mezuza acts as a protection, but where in history did we actually see this?
It is only in our times that we have hundreds and hundreds of stories in which kosher mezuzos literally make a difference in one's gashmius life.

3) The Torah, especially Mishlei, is full of pesukim which extol the good and deplore the bad, but it's really only in recent times that so many secular sources (the tachton) support this:

A) health - the correlation has been made between being "good" and enjoying good health. For example, anger is closely associated with heart disease.

B) many books on success advise people to tithe and say that "giving back," and being honest actually, literally, pays $$

C) morality and AIDS - the Torah gives Jews and gentiles guidelines on how to live. Those who disregard the laws about intimate relationships are paying with their lives.

D) Following the Family Purity laws turn out to be not only good for your health (with lower cervical cancer rates for those women who observe them), but also what marriage counselors advise for a good marriage!

4) the concept of mo'ach shalit al ha'lev - the mind rules the heart, is one the medical establishment is coming to recognize is a key to good health

5) the dictum in Pirkei Avos of mitzva goreres mitzva - one mitzva draws another mitzva in its wake is something any shliach can tell you about from his experiences with mekuravim


there's lots more! (As RavLub has asked) Anybody out there??
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Unread 08-26-2002, 05:20 AM   #5
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Shared prosperity achievable, says Mbeki

From: http://www.bday.co.za/bday/content/d...6078-0,00.html

By Donwald Pressly
Shared prosperity on the globe is achievable because for the first time in human history, human society possessed the capacity to eradicate poverty, South African President Thabo Mbeki said at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) this morning.

Opening the biggest conference on the African continent in world history - he hastened to add that a "dark shadow" of poverty still hung over most people and there was a widening divide between the countries of the North and South.

In the last 10 years there had also been much praiseworthy agreement on the need to foster sustainable development but there had been little done carry it out. A practical plan of implementation of agreements at this summit were therefore crucial, he argued.

He said it was necessary that the Johannesburg event be "a fitting culmination to a decade of hope".

In an upbeat, but serious, speech the South Africa president, who underscored that he was speaking on behalf of South African people and the peoples of Africa as a whole, said: "I am certain that we share the view that poverty, underdevelopment, inequality within and among countries together with the worsening global ecological crisis sum up the dark shadow under which most of the world lives".

President Mbeki said the fact that the delegates - the official count is now over 35,000 official visitors to Johannesburg with more expected to flow in over the next 10 days - had convened at this cradle of humanity "emphasises the obligation we all face to respond with all seriousness and with a sense of urgency to adopt a meaningful Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, in the interests of all humanity and our common planet."

A global human society based on poverty for many "and prosperity for the few characterised by islands of wealth surrounded by a sea of poverty is unsustainable".

In a thinly veiled pointer to the developed world, he emphasised that although humanity now had the capacity, knowledge and resources to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment, to use these possibilities required that "we also agree to the concept of a common but differentiated responsibility".

Referring to the Rio earth summit 10 years ago - as well as Stockholm - he emphasised there was agreement "for all of us to act together to protect the global environment".

"All of us agree that unsustainable patterns of production and consumption are creating an environmental disaster that threatens both life in general, and human life in particular.

The president said Rio produced several landmark agreements aimed at halting and reversing environmental destruction, poverty and inequality.

Agenda 21 was placed at the centre of the challenges facing humanity, which he described as the appropriate framework for sustainable development.

The UN Millennium Summit stood out among these global conventions because its outcome, the Millennium Declaration, constituted a united pledge made by the world's political leaders, at the highest level. These leaders committed themselves to meet the Millennium Development Goals that must help to inform the outcome of this Summit, he said.

"We can therefore make bold to say that there exists a detailed global agenda for sustainable development that provides the solid base from which the Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development must proceed. Regional initiatives, such as Nepad (the New Partnership for Africa's Development), provide us with the framework and institutions to translate the global agenda into reality."

He added, however, that "sadly, we have not made much progress in realising the grand vision contained in Agenda 21 and other international agreements".

"It is no secret that the global community has, as yet, not demonstrated the will to implement the decisions it has freely adopted."

"What is required of us is that we agree on the practical measures that will help humanity to achieve these results."

He said the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation "must be a real Plan of Implementation, a credible and meaningful global plan of action for the realisation of the goals that humanity has already set itself".

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Unread 10-20-2002, 09:24 AM   #6
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Is the World Really Getting Better?

by Tzvi Freeman

Question: You are always talking about how the world is ready and prepared for the Age of Moshiach. I don't see it. It looks like a pretty awful world to me. Looks like we've got a long way to go.

Answer:

That's because you don't see where it's coming from, what it used to be and how much it changed.

Let me illustrate: Nowadays you can call anywhere from anywhere. Imagine a call to the past. Say you called up your great-grandparents.

"Hi, great-grandma, great-grandpa! This is your great-grandchild calling from a hundred years later!"

"So wonderful to hear from you! How is life in the 21st century? Do you have enough to eat?"

"Well, when I want to eat, I go to my refrigerator. It keeps all the food cold and fresh."

"You only eat cold? Poor thing!"

"No, I stick it in my microwave for a minute and it comes out warm and cooked."

You go on to describe your menu, including produce and packages from every part of the world. And not just food, but people, too: You can take a cute little device out of your pocket and have a conversation with someone anywhere in the world, anytime. And if you need a piece of information, or to study any subject, you have access to millions of computers and many helpful people around the world-without even stepping out the door.

Your home is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. No Cossacks come to burn it down. In fact, the government provides subsidies so your children can study Judaism. Even in Moscow, the government helps build places of worship for Jews, as well as people of all faiths. The people around you teach their children tolerance and love of peace. The world produces enough food to feed each of its six billion citizens. Scientists, rather than challenging faith, point out the mysterious wonders of the universe and its essential oneness. For the first time in history, war is looked down upon and world peace is a value.

To them, you are describing a miraculous world. A world more distant from their world than theirs was from the ancients. They could only reach one conclusion: You must be calling them from the Times of Moshiach.

Yes, you left out a few details. For example, that you still owe the bank for that house. That the food produced is not reaching those who need it. That the information superhighway is often used for trash and pornography rather than for the wisdom it is destined for. That the world is still filled with much evil and suffering. But the point is, the stage is set, all is in place. Never before has the world been anywhere near this position. All that's left is for the curtains to be drawn and the lights to shine on the scene.
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Unread 02-02-2003, 11:54 AM   #7
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The Finger of G-d

(Adapted from a speech by Rabbi Shloime Ezagui)

Seeing G-dliness in the world has never been easier

The Rebbe writes in his letters that the function of a Torah institution is to demonstrate the connection and unity between the physical world and Torah. As we approach the time when the whole world will see this unity of truth, the times of Moshiach, the Rebbe said we must simply open our eyes and we will see how all is already in place for the unraveling of this actuality.

In this spirit I write the following article, where I will attempt to show how recent modern discoveries are no more than principles laid out for us in the Torah thousands of years ago. I will try to demonstrate that if we really make an effort, we can see how the world is heading more and more – albeit unknowingly – in the direction of Hashem’s eternal words in the Torah.

* * *
107 billion pieces of first class mail were delivered by the U.S. postal service in 1998. How about 4 trillion, the approximate number of e-mail messages that were received by U.S. residents in 1998. By the way, do you have any idea of the difference between a million, billion and trillion? A million seconds is 11 days, a billion seconds is 33 years, and a trillion seconds is a whopping 34,446 years!!

Do you know how many cells comprise a human body? 100 trillion cells!

Most of these 100 trillion cells have a nucleus that contains a complete set of the bodies’ blueprints. These blueprints are twisted in 46 packets called chromosomes. Unravel a chromosome and you get a long thread-like molecule called DNA. Within the DNA are the blueprints called genes for making proteins. The DNA molecule has a twisted, ladder shaped structure, the famous double helix. The genetic code can be read in the rungs of the ladder. Four chemicals, spelling out the code. A pairs with T, G pairs with C, to form the rungs of the ladder.

Just for some added numbers: There are about 100,000 genes in a human body, 3 billion chemical pairs in our DNA, 10 billion or more neurons in our brain, 10 million biochemical beacons, and we haven’t even touched the surface.

Imagine for a minute going to a factory with over a million different machines in it. Each one perfectly coordinated with the other to produce a beautiful product, again, again, and again. Now someone tells you that the whole factory happened by accident –not only this factory, but also the one next to this factory, etc., and the product it produces is also part of that unplanned coincidence. Ludicrous.

Yet when considering the human body, which has, as modern scientists tell us, over 100 trillion components, and should, G-d forbid, only one of these cells go haywire, this could cause a terrible illness, we overlook the fact that it is totally illogical to think that all this was not put together by a super-mind for some positive constructive purpose.

While it’s true that just about every cell in the body has the instructions to make a complete human being, most of those instructions are inactivated when becoming the organ they end up being, with good reason. The last thing you want is for your brain cells to start churning out stomach acid or your nose to turn into a kidney. The only time cells truly have the potential to turn into any and all body parts are very early in a pregnancy, when so-called stem cells have not begun to specialize.

That is why the Torah tells us we can pray for having a boy or a girl before the 40th day of pregnancy, while there is still a chance to direct the course either way. Doctors not long ago discovered this same date, as the time when the chromosomes result in the baby’s gender.

If doctors could isolate stem cells, then direct their growth, they might be able to furnish patients with healthy replacement tissue. The same applies to cloning, which is really just the other side of the coin. True cloning, as for Dolly the sheep two years ago, involves taking a developed cell and reactivating the genome within, resetting its developmental instructions to a pristine state. Once that happens, the rejuvenated cell can develop into a full-fledged animal, genetically identical to its parent. The ability to reset body cells to a pristine, undeveloped state could give doctors exactly the same advantages they would get from stem cells: the potential to make healthy body tissues of all sorts and thus to cure disease.

Many people may be asking what does all this have to do with Yiddishkeit, Chassidus and Moshiach. The answer is everything imaginable.

Hasn’t Chassidus revealed to us – and the Rebbe repeated many times – that we should not accept outer limitations but delve deeper into the source, the omnipotent Ein Sof. Science is now thinking in exactly these terms.

When Moshiach comes there will be a revelation of truth. No more will the world conceal over the deeper truth and reality of existence. Then, when Moshiach comes, all will see that everything comes from Hashem and is constantly animated and energized by Hashem. When Moshiach comes we will see that all is Hashem, and the possibility for anything to happen was always around us.

Rashi says on the pasuk "Sh’ma Yisroel," listen Yidden, the "Hashem Who is our G-d," in the times of Moshiach, He will be accepted as "Hashem Echad," the only one and true G-d. "Ba’yom ha’hu yiheh Hashem Echad," Achdus Hashem, the unity of His existence, that all is Hashem. Then it says, "u’lavdo sh’chem echad," everyone will worship the oneness of His existence.

So until those days, just before Moshiach comes, it’s written "to'ame'ha chaim zachu," we taste this divine manifestation of truth and revelation of Hashem’s achdus and unity. As it says, "Ha'shamayim me'saprim," the Heavens reflect the signature and imprint of its Maker. This we see today, more than ever.

For this taste and awareness of Hashem in all of creation, we have always seen the number four, which is the name of Hashem, Yud Kei Vav Kei, through which everything was created, reflected in so many essential areas of creation.

The four spiritual worlds Atzilus, Briah, Yetzira, Asiya. The four essential levels of creation domem (inanimate objects) tzomei'ach ( vegetation) , chai ( living creatures ), medaber (human beings). The four ways to interpret Torah, Pardes. The four Books of the Shulchan Aruch, the four kelipos, four parts of the davening, the four letters of Hashem’s name, which, through different combinations, give life to every hour of the day, etc.

Now comes modern science and discovered what we have known for thousands of years. There are basically four essential elements that constitute the essence of all matter. Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Torah already told us, that at the essence of all existence there are four elements. The element of afar (earth), mayim (water), eish (fire), and ruach (air).

At the core of these above mentioned four chemicals there is the DNA of all living tissue. Four components that pair into two. Exactly like Yud & Hei, Vav & Hei, the source of all creation and the potential for all. By the way, Torah and Chassidus already tells us zachar u’nekeiva bara osam. Everything at all levels, comprises of a pair, mashpia and mekabel, a giver and receiver.

DNA the physical blueprints and basis to life, literally reflects the name of Hashem, the source and the root, which created all and is all.

In these last days of Galus, Hashem in his kindness is showing us technicalities of his world, so we become convinced of His finger b’derech ha’teva, in natural ways. In all that happens, the unbelievable wisdom of Torah. Even in Galus Mitzrayim, Egypt, it came to a point where the Egyptians themselves recognized Etzba Elokim, the finger and interaction of Hashem in what was happening.

We see now more than ever through DNA the achdus in all of creation. All of creation is essentially a united existence with one imprint on all of it, the four components, reflecting the four letters of Hashem.

The DNA is shaped like a ladder and double helix, reflecting its source, the "rungs" of Seder Hishtalshlus. Accordingly, the stairs of the Beis HaMikdash, the source for all energy in this world, were spiral!

The real core behind DNA, the four letters of the name of Hashem, may be reached through the four parts of t’filla. Every letter of the davening is like another strand of spiritual DNA. It is no wonder then to consider how careful the Rebbe is in pronouncing every letter in davening.

The Rebbe tells us so many times not to be satisfied with teva, nature, which is only a limited superficial expression of something much deeper. We can and must reach deeper to the true source, we must open our eyes and see how the opportunity for this is all around us, so we can experience Yetzias Mitzrayim, a redemption from all the self-imposed constraints and limitations, and so we can taste the Leviason, Shor HaBar, and Yayin HaMeshumar, which are already here before us.

If we study well the blueprint of creation, Torah, we will find the answers to all that we need. The basic principles and rules to all fields of knowledge are in Torah. The advice in Torah can never run counter to nature.

Today more than ever as we begin to hear, see, and experience the days of Moshiach that is becoming more and more obvious, let’s seize these last days and do our share so that we are not one of those that will be sorry for not having taken full benefit of the Galus days.
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Unread 02-03-2003, 02:17 PM   #8
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Open your eyes and look at the building and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction. Does North Korea brazenly and openly building nuclear weapons mean that nations are beating their swords into ploughshares? Does Iraq building chemical weapons demonstrate that the Geulah has already started?
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Unread 02-03-2003, 02:33 PM   #9
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Are you asking a question or making a statement?
If it's a question, then perhaps what you're saying is:
On Shabbos parshas Mishpatim 5752, the Rebbe said that the fact that nations gathered, including the two super-powers, and they resolved and announced a new era in the relationship between nations which included the reduction and elimination of weapons and mutual cooperation, is because of Moshiach's impact on the world and is a clear sign of the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise of the Geula (grinding swords into plowshares etc.) - how does this fit with what we see in the world today?
If it's a statement then it sounds to me like what it's saying is either the Rebbe was a naive dreamer, or things looked better back in 5752, but they look pretty awful today, so the Rebbe's message is irrelevant.
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Unread 02-03-2003, 02:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jude
If it's a statement then it sounds to me like what it's saying is either the Rebbe was a naive dreamer, or things looked better back in 5752, but they look pretty awful today, so the Rebbe's message is irrelevant.
How about neither. Perhaps, things looked better back in 5752 but they look worse today, so the Rebbe's message is dated (or, more likely, misunderstood but not ch"v irrelevant).
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Unread 02-03-2003, 02:56 PM   #11
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how about that's precisely what I included in my post? or maybe you can explain the difference between 'dated' and 'irrelevant'?
but as I suspected, you have no true interest in understanding the Rebbe's teachings, so further discussion with you on this topic is pointless
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Unread 02-03-2003, 03:02 PM   #12
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Do you believe that the Alter Rebbe's interaction with the Russian government is irrelevant? Presumably not. It is highly informative even though it is also highly dated. Times have changed but the words and actions of a gadol beYisroel are eternally part of Torah.
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Unread 02-03-2003, 03:26 PM   #13
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so how do fish breathe under water
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Unread 02-03-2003, 11:07 PM   #14
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BS"Dstamayid, If you follow that line of thinking, maybe all the Rebbe's instructions are inapplicable to us, ch"v. I trust you do not believe that.

So, perhaps you can give us a thorough explanation of YOUR understanding of the practical relevance of those sichos? Until then, please just admit that you don't know.

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Unread 02-03-2003, 11:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by stamayid
Open your eyes and look at the building and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction. Does North Korea brazenly and openly building nuclear weapons mean that nations are beating their swords into ploughshares? Does Iraq building chemical weapons demonstrate that the Geulah has already started?
See the sicha of Shabbos Parshas Bo (4 Shvat) 5751, where the Rebbe discusses the three potentials of golus (http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books...lish/47/10.htm):

1) the elevation of the Jewish people
2) elevation of the divine sparks
3) "The destruction and nullification of those aspects of worldliness which cannot be elevated. Concerning these elements of existence, it is said, 'their destruction represents their purification.'"

The Rebbe elaborates (bold, mine)
Quote:
"b) The destruction and nullification of those negative factors which cannot be elevated to holiness. For this reason, we find many prophecies describing the fall of the nations which ruled over the Jews, e.g., 'Babylon has fallen and she will be broken,' 'There will be a slaughter for G-d in Batzra,' 'And saviors will ascend on Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esav.' The only nations which will remain will be those which help and support the Jewish people"
The footnote from Sichos in English quotes the Zohar, "There will come a time when the descendants of Yishmael will stir up great battles in the world.... At that time, a nation from the ends of the world will be aroused... and will wage war with them ... "


It is also interesting to note the following, from the Sicha of 16 Adar 5751 (after the end of the 1st Gulf War), the Rebbe states a wish for America's success in the war against Basra in the future tense, though the war had just ended:

Quote:
"Nevertheless, although we are in the midst of exile, the dominant nation in this exile is a generous country, a country who offers assistance to many nations and offers assistance to its Jewish residents. In appreciation, may G-d grant that country success in its war against Basra and may we soon merit the fulfillment of the prophecy, 'Who is that coming in soiled garments from Basra?' with the coming of redemption."
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Unread 02-03-2003, 11:41 PM   #16
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For free I'll throw in this one, from Yisro 5751:
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"Even before the Era of Redemption, the Jews will live in security. They need not fear despite the fact that the nations of the world challenge one another and the entire world is seized with panic and consternation. On the contrary, they must realize that 'All that I have wrought, I have performed only for your sake' and that Mashiach will soon 'stand on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and proclaim, "Humble ones, the time for your redemption has come." ' "
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Unread 02-04-2003, 01:18 AM   #17
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Originally posted by stamayid
Open your eyes and look at the building and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction. Does North Korea brazenly and openly building nuclear weapons mean that nations are beating their swords into ploughshares? Does Iraq building chemical weapons demonstrate that the Geulah has already started?
Yes. Yes.

Because now, for the first time in History, this is looked down upon. The world mindset used to be one of territorial expansion and constant warring. It used to be expectable, understood, and expected that a nation try to amass the biggest badest weapons it could. After all, a nation has to protect itself.

Now this has changed. The common worldview is that this is improper, futile, and wasteful. The world mindset is now one of peaceful cooperation. This represents a refinement of the worldview--a birur.

There may still be evil leaders in the world, but they have to carefully isolate their people, because nowadays your average Tom Dick or Harry is going to tend toward western beliefs of peace and mutual growth.
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Unread 02-04-2003, 01:40 AM   #18
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How about neither. Perhaps, things looked better back in 5752 but they look worse today, so the Rebbe's message is dated (or, more likely, misunderstood but not ch"v irrelevant).
Correct, the Rebbe's message is dated from that time and on. Just look at the message--we are now closer to the time of Moshiach and we can begin seeing it. The Rebbe didn't say that nothing golusdik will ever occur again, and as previous posters have quoted, these new events are also signs of Moshiach's imminence.
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Do you believe that the Alter Rebbe's interaction with the Russian government is irrelevant? Presumably not. It is highly informative even though it is also highly dated. Times have changed but the words and actions of a gadol beYisroel are eternally part of Torah.
These comments where of a different nature. Answering questions about Judaism is case-specific and time-related, because different peoples and different times have different questions. For example, the sort of philosophical inquiry found in Morre Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed) was an answer to Greek philosophy popular at that time. That mode of thought is outdated. The answers are still true and holy, but the approach is not tailored to us.

The Rebbe's comments, however, are observations about the world status: we have entered a new era. This can only become more and more timely as rise to the climax of Moshiach's arrival.
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Unread 02-04-2003, 06:01 AM   #19
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The British Prime Minister Tony Blair was quoted yesterday as saying: "We are entering the final phase of a 12-year history of the disarmament of Iraq."
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Unread 02-09-2003, 12:16 PM   #20
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Swords Into Plowshares: Annual Report - 5759

By Rabbi Shimon Silman
Director of the Rabbi Yisroel Aryeh Leib Research Institute on Moshiach & the Sciences, Professor of Mathematics, Touro College

Seven years ago this week (the week of Parshas Mishpatim, 5752), a well known conference took place in New York City at the United Nations between the leaders of the major nations of the world — President Bush, Yeltsin, and leaders of other major military powers. In this meeting a joint resolution was made to begin the reduction of armaments and to use the resources and technology to further the development of economic conditions in the world, to increase food production, and to benefit mankind in general.

This meeting and this resolution probably escaped the attention of most of us, or perhaps it was simply passed off as political rhetoric. But the Rebbe MH"M who sees deeper into things, talked about it the next day at the farbrengen of Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim, 5752. The Rebbe said that this announcement by the leaders of the nations of the world — that they intend to reduce their military operations and increase food production in the world — is the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Yishayahu HaNavi, the Prophet Isaiah, thousands of years earlier, that in the times of Moshiach the nations of the world will “beat their swords into plowshares.”

The Rebbe continued that this was the direct effect of on the nations of the world, and the Rebbe discussed at length the steps leading up to this. That is, the spreading of the wellsprings, the spreading of Chassidus and Yiddishkeit throughout the world, and especially the spreading of Sheva Mitzvos B’nei Noach among the non Jews, eventually lead to the collapse of the atheistic government in Russia and ultimately to the global resolution to “beat swords into plowshares.”

Of course, this resolution and proclamation was not just a single isolated event, but the beginning of a process that will continue at an accelerated pace until the prophecy is completely fulfilled with the true and complete Redemption. Over the past seven years there have been thousands of examples of the transformation of military technologies into peaceful applications.

At the annual Moshiach & Science conferences of the Rabbi Yisroel Aryeh Leib Research Institute on Moshiach and the Sciences we frequently report on what’s new in “Swords Into Plowshares.” Our first report on this matter was in 5753, by the man in the United States in the best position to talk about it, the man at the forefront of research into military technology, namely, the well-known Lubavitcher Chassid, Dr. Naftali Berg, z’l, Director of Research of the Advance Technology Office of the Army Research Center at the Pentagon. Dr. Berg spoke about how military technology at the Pentagon is being transformed to be used for peaceful purposes. [The full text and tapes of his lecture are available from the RYAL Institute, 718-604-4700, RYALinst* ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** *.]

One example Dr. Berg cited is Dual Use Technology, a new program initiated by the current administration of the United States government to include research for the sake of peaceful ends along with every instance of military research.

This brings us to the main theme of this paper, the transformation of military technology to be used for peaceful purposes in Russia, the most militant of all the nations in recent history.

The development in the area of turning “swords into plowshares” that has been recently taking place in Russia goes beyond anything that is happening in the United States. The background for this achievement is as follows:

A few days after the Rebbe announced that the prophecy of Yishayahu that “they shall beat their swords into plowshares” has begun to be fulfilled, President Yeltsin and President Bush sat down together at Camp David and made a plan to establish the International Science and Technology Center in Moscow, a center for the development of scientific projects for former military scientists in Russia to work on transforming the Russian military science and technology such that it may be used for peaceful ends.

Over the next two years this goal became a reality. By 1994 there was a functioning institute of science and technology in Moscow funded by the United States, Russia, Japan, and the European Union. These countries invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the project. The first executive director of the institute was an American named Glenn Schweitzer, who wrote a book called “Moscow DMZ: The Story of the International Effort to Convert the Russian Weapon Science to Peaceful Purposes,” documenting the institute’s accomplishments during its first years.

The first point I want to make about the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is that whereas with respect to the United States, Dual Use Technology was considered a very good development, for the ISTC in Russia, Dual Use Technology was not good enough. While the Pentagon may be required to pursue a dual use policy rather than a pure military policy, it, nevertheless, maintains its interest in advancing military technology. Thus Dual Use Technology may be the best we can hope for in America until we see the complete Redemption when there is no more war and no more swords, no more military and no more weapons.

Of course, United States, Europe, and Japan would not be interested in pumping millions of dollars into Russia to finance scientific projects which could be used for military purposes as well as peaceful purposes. They would be interested only if the projects had strictly peaceful applications with no possibility of their being used for any military purposes. These were the only kind of projects that the ISTC considered.

I would like to give some examples of the projects — and the scientists involved — that the ISTC sponsored. The author Moscow DMZ estimates that when the Russian Military machine was fully functioning, there were approximately one million scientists, engineers, and technicians working for the Russian military. It was estimated that after the fall of the Communist government, about 60,000 of these had to be targeted for international science and technology projects. These were the ones who were most volatile and dangerous. They were scientists and engineers who if approached (as many of them were) by Arab or far eastern countries to work in those countries to promote their nuclear technology programs, they would be the ones most useful to those countries. In other words if a low level technician took such a job he could not cause much harm, but if a high level technician or scientist took such a job, his participation would be very beneficial to their projects and thus a threat to world peace.

Contributing to the threat was a financial element. At the time, Russian scientists and engineers desperately needed employment; once their military contracts were cancelled a lot of them had no source of income. In fact, it was found that many top Russian scientists were earning a lower salary than bus drivers, making them easy prey for Arab countries to entice them to join their nuclear projects.

Of the 60,000 scientists it was estimated that 30,000 were in aeronomical science, 20,000 in nuclear science, and 10,000 in biological science. A third of them — about 20,000 — remained employed by the Russian military. Another 15,000 got jobs in the commercial sector. The remaining 25,000 were the ones that the ISTC took on.

Nuclear scientists who specialized in the design of nuclear weapons were put to work at designing safer nuclear reactors. In disregard for nuclear safety, Russia is notorious for having poorly designed reactors. The accident at Chernobyl, which was the most dramatic of all the nuclear accidents, was not the only one. There were many, many incidents of radiation leaks. Parts of Russia are contaminated by radiation. Nuclear waste was not dealt with in any safe way. A lot of times it was just dumped into rivers. Many ISTC projects involved putting these nuclear scientists to work designing safer, better, and more efficient nuclear reactors, and to clean up those areas of Russia that had been contaminated.

Chemical and biological specialists, i.e. specialists that were trained in biological and chemical warfare, were given projects to work on pollution. While in the United States pollution is already pretty much under control, in Russia it has always been disregarded. They never concerned themselves with it. Now the chemical and biological specialists are working on chemical and biological pollution problems.

Aerospace specialists have been working on projects ranging from designing special environmental observation aircraft to projects involving researching nuclear propulsion technology for the exploration of Mars.

In addition to the International Science and Technology Center, there is an American organization called the Defense Enterprise Fund, financed by the Pentagon, which is dedicated to helping Russia transform its military industry into peaceful purposes. One of its projects is to help construct a $200 million factory to produce silicon for computer chips in Krasnoyarsk-26, a Russian “nuclear city” whose scientists have been unemployed since the shutdown of most of the nuclear facilities there. (New York Times, 11/18/98)

The magazine Science reported on one particular biological weapons installation called Vector in the Russian city of Novo Sibirsk which was transformed into a pharmaceutical research organization now called the State Research Center of Biology and Biotechnology. Whereas before they had the top Russian biological scientists working on devising biological weapons to kill people, now they are doing research on viruses, collaborating with the United States Center for Disease Control, contracting internationally to produce pharmaceutical drugs and the like. The same scientists and the same technology which was once used to produce biological weapons is now being used to produce drugs and to research cures for diseases.

From the small sample of “Swords Into Plowshares” phenomena that we have considered, we see that the Rebbe's declaration that the prophecy of “Swords Into Plowshares” has already begun, along with all the other aspects of the Redemption, is the reality of the world. As a professor of Physics from China recently noted at the beginning of his article on the transformation of military technology to peaceful uses in China, “The transformation of military technology to peaceful uses is now the state of the history of the world.” The same applies to all other aspects of the Redemption as well. We need only to open our eyes to see the reality as it is.

Last edited by Jude; 02-10-2003 at 01:18 PM.
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Unread 02-10-2003, 11:42 AM   #21
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Jude,

This article is from three years ago! Look at the beginning when he says that Parshas Mishpotim 5752 was seven years prior.

It was before the situations in Iraq and North Korea started to blow up.
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Unread 02-10-2003, 12:00 PM   #22
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Maybe it got lost in the post office.
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Unread 02-10-2003, 01:22 PM   #23
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Swords Into Plowshares: Annual Report 5760

By Rabbi Shimon Silman

Director of the Rabbi Yisroel Aryeh Leib Research Institute on Moshiach & the Sciences, Professor of Mathematics, Touro College

Eight years ago this week (the week of Parshas Mishpatim, 5752), a well known conference took place in New York City at the United Nations between the leaders of the major nations of the world, including President Bush, Yeltsin, and other leaders of major military powers. In this meeting they made a joint declaration and commitment to begin reduction of armaments and use the resources and technology to further the improvement of economic conditions in the world, to increase food production, and to benefit mankind in general.

Although this meeting and declaration was probably overlooked by most of us, the Rebbe MH"M, who sees the truth, talked at length about this the next day at the farbrengen of Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim, 5752. The Rebbe explained that this announcement by the leaders of the nations of the world to reduce their military operations and increase food production is the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Yeshayahu HaNavi that in the times of Moshiach the nations of the world will beat their swords into plowshares. The Rebbe MH”M emphasizes that this was the direct effect of Melech HaMoshiach on the nations of the world. Melech HaMoshiach’s spreading Chassidus and Yiddishkeit throughout the world for decades, and especially the spreading of Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach among the non Jews, is what eventually lead to the collapse of the atheistic government in Russia and ultimately to this strong declaration by these nations to beat their swords into plowshares. Another aspect of the Geula had thus begun to unfold before our eyes.

Since this is an act of Melech HaMoshiach and an event of Yemos HaMoshiach, once it starts it continues and progresses. It was not a single isolated event that took place back then. Rather, it was the beginning of a process, which now continues at an accelerated pace.

Various international organizations have been established to document it and several books have been written to report on it. At the annual Moshiach & Science conferences of the Rabbi Yisroel Aryeh Leib Research Institute on Moshiach and the Sciences we report on what’s new in “Swords Into Plowshares.” The Swords Into Plowshares transformation has become so prevalent throughout the world that a group of physicists from the China Academy of Engineering Physics were prompted to write, “The peaceful use of military technology represents the trend of history,” or, in our terminology, “We are in the Era of Moshiach.”

In this year’s report we will look at the transformation of a major Russian military research institute and the transformation of two Russian military bases in Poland.

The Transformation of a Military Research Institute

First we will discuss the restructuring of the Central Aerohydrodynamic Research Institute (TsAGI) from a military research center into a research center for peaceful applications.

TsAGI was established in Moscow in 1918 and grew to become the largest aerospace test center in the world. Its facilities were moved to Zhukovsky outside Moscow in 1939. Zhukovsky is now a city of 100,000 people whose economy revolves around the aviation industry. By World War II, TsAGI had already branched out into several divisions.

TsAGI has been involved in the design and testing of every major Soviet military and commercial airplane, helicopter, missile, and spacecraft. It also engages in flight-simulator design and training. Its facilities include wind tunnels for subsonic, transonic, and supersonic aerodynamic tests as well as chambers for thermal strength testing. Some of these facilities are the most advanced in the world. It has extensive software development and computational capabilities as well as prototype manufacturing facilities that are used for producing test instrumentation and experimental models.

After the Swords Into Plowshares declaration, TsAGI began to reorganize itself in a way that would make maximum use of its technology and facilities to develop new products and provide services of economic benefit while retaining its key technical personnel and providing challenging scientific work for them. (While many of its employees left and went into other commercial pursuits, this itself is considered by many analysts to be a “passive conversion” from military to peaceful.)

To achieve these goals, TsAGI formally consolidated its core aerodynamic, thermal, and mechanical testing facilities into the TsAGI State Science Center (TSSC) in 1994. The Science Center itself has three categories of subsidiaries (see diagram). Category I comprises companies that are most closely linked to the Science Center’s core capabilities and activities. They all involve high technology and use key scientific personnel from what was TsAGI before the establishment of the Science Center. Some of these subsidiaries are also involved in marketing the services of TSSC to domestic aerospace customers who could not afford the higher costs of working directly with the TSSC. The main difference between these Category I subsidiaries and the Science Center itself is that while TSSC provides technology services for the state (it’s similar to government owned national laboratories in the US), the Category I subsidiaries are involved in providing these services for private customers, both inside and outside Russia.

In addition to carrying out commercial businesses, these subsidiaries engage in advanced applied research that may have further commercial potential. The objectives of these subsidiaries are clearly the long-term enhancement of TsAGI’s basic capabilities and commercial viability.

Subsidiaries in this category include a helicopter plant, facilities for producing measurement instruments, testing-equipment supply and testing services, and a software firm. Aerospace technology has been reapplied by enterprises in this category to produce automobile testing equipment and medical equipment.

The second category of subsidiaries also involves technology and skilled personnel from TsAGI, but the technology is used to develop new commercial products and services that don’t involve the basic testing services of the Science Center as the main element of the product or service. These subsidiaries are basically free to do business on their own. Much of the required capital comes from private investors.

As an example, one of these Category II subsidiaries specializes in solar heaters. The enterprise grew out of a research group at TsAGI that was working on commercializing technical processes developed at the institute. Initially focusing on prefabricated building materials, the group utilized a flexible thin metal sheet developed by TsAGI. Later the group turned to the development of solar panels. The metal sheet technology enabled the group to develop piping for the panel that was cheaper and more efficient than the traditional copper models. TsAGI’s aerospace technology in surface coverings was also applied to the solar panel to increase its absorptive capacity and dampen energy release. While the solar-collector project was initially oriented toward developing a solar water heater, in 1994 TsAGI researchers began developing applications in air conditioning, desalinization, drying equipment, and other areas. The firm has received orders from the Moscow Regional Government and even from some foreign companies.

Other enterprises in this category include a firm that provides repair and certification work for foreign aircraft, an enterprise that uses a large vacuum chamber for high-altitude thermal strength testing, a producer of machine tools for wood processing, and a flight simulator.

Category III comprises subsidiaries that were established to provide employment for excess production workers, to utilize idle space and equipment, and to generate revenue without monetary investment. Some of these subsidiaries stress employment, while others stress income.

It is important to emphasize the significance of this step. One of the aspects of Marxist philosophy that the Rebbe criticized was the idea that the individual good must be sacrificed “for the good of society.” Judaism, l’havdil, emphasizes the significance of the individual and says that a single act or even a single thought of an individual can bring about a change for the good of the entire world. In the formation of these Category III subsidiaries we see a complete reversal of the Marxist philosophy: An institute is reorganized and a subsidiary is set up whose primary purpose is to provide employment for the former employees of the original institute. (Even in the U.S. we do not always see this step taken in the reorganization of corporations.)

The Category III subsidiaries are low-technology product ventures such as production of furniture and shoes or services such as a cafeteria and a management training program, but they have little or nothing to do with the science center’s base activities. From a Swords Into Plowshares perspective, however, these subsidiaries are especially important since they were established primarily to provide employment and their products are consumer goods.

Other examples of Category III subsidiaries are: 1) A subsidiary that manufactures various instruments. TsAGI provides the building, equipment, and personnel; an Israeli firm provides technology and some equipment, a US firm provides marketing and sales and a Swiss firm provides financing. Each partner receives 25 percent ownership. 2) An industrial diamond manufacturer. This is a joint venture with 55 percent ownership by TsAGI and participation by firms from Eretz Yisroel, the United States, and Sweden. 3) A management-training program (55 percent owned by TsAGI with participation by Moscow State University, the Open University (UK), and University of Michigan). 4) A wood-processing plant, and 5) a food-services organization.

Here we have seen how a major military research institute has subdivided into divisions where the military technology itself is used for peaceful uses, as well as divisions which directly provide consumer goods.

The Transformation of Military Bases

Military bases throughout Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as military research institutes, have been transformed and are being used for peaceful purposes. We will look at two Russian military installations in Poland and see how they have been transformed.

Following World War II, the Soviet Union took over the former German barracks facility in Poland’s northwestern port city of Szczecin. Situated directly between Berlin and Gdansk, this city of 420,000 is the logistic and population center of the region. Shortly after the Russian soldiers withdrew from Szczecin, the barracks complex was converted into an educational complex consisting of three schools: 1) the Institute of Computer Science of the Szczecin Technical University, 2) a campus of the University of Szczecin, and 3) the Maritime University of Szczecin. The barracks hospital was converted into a civilian hospital owned and operated by the city. The current level of activity in this complex greatly exceeds the former, military base level.

The city of Legnica is located in southwestern Poland and is the capital of Legnica Province. During World War II, it was the Eastern Forces Headquarters of the German army. As the Russian troops advanced, the Germans abandoned it. The Russian army took it over and in 1955 it became the headquarters for the entire Soviet Northern Group Forces.

During their presence in Lognica the Soviet troops occupied 1200 buildings — 840 that had been built by the Germans and 360 that the Russians themselves built. To assure security and separation from the residents of the city, the Russians built walls around various sections of the city that contained these military buildings. One such walled section, called the Russian Square, a five-block area in the heart of Legnica, housed the Russian elite, officers and high ranking party officials. It consists of massive houses, which are at least a hundred years old, with large yards.

After the Russians left, these buildings were used for housing. The larger buildings were bought by developers to transform into apartment buildings and the smaller buildings were sold to individuals for private homes.

One building located just outside Russian Square had been built by the Germans in the 1800’s as a villa for visiting athletes. After World War II the Soviet military took over the residence as a guest house for visiting officers. After the Russians left, the city government converted the building into a retirement home under the management of the Legnica City Office of Social Assistance. After a lengthy and expensive renovation it began functioning as a home for seniors in 1996.

Finally we mention that several military airbases are in the process of being transformed into civilian airports. But this takes much longer because of the tremendous expense involved in removing the pollution and contamination left by the military, rebuilding and expanding the buildings and the runways, and, in general, meeting the safety requirements for a civilian airport.

* * *
As we consider the above examples and follow this trend of transformation of military technology, military research institutes and their personnel, military airbases, army bases and naval bases etc. into peaceful uses, and the redirection of the funds previously used to finance these operations to peaceful purposes, we see that Swords Into Plowshares is indeed “the trend of history.”
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Unread 02-10-2003, 01:36 PM   #24
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The Swords of China Into Plowshares - 5761
Part 1
Prof. Shimon Silman, RYAL Institute and Touro College

When discussing Swords Into Plowshares in China, as well as all matters pertaining to China, the issues are unique and complex. China has always isolated itself and done things its own way. It’s hard to say "isolated" when there’s about a billion people there, but on the other hand, their large population has enabled them to develop in their own way with minimum international interaction. This applies also to their nuclear weapons development which, after a short period of collaboration with Russia, they did mostly in isolation.

Thus the analysis of China vis-ŕ-vis the Swords Into Plowshares conversion – which is called "the trend of History" by one group of Chinese physicists – is itself complex and requires careful consideration of exactly what Swords Into Plowshares means.

Not every non-military or even food-related use of military equipment is necessarily "Swords Into Plowshares." Consider, for example, a soldier on the battlefield in the middle of a cruel war. The soldier gets hungry and takes out an apple from his food bag. Suddenly he realizes that he can use his sword not just to kill the enemy but also to cut his apple. Do we point to this and say, "Aha! Swords Into Plowshares"!? In every country there were always "spin-offs" or civilian uses of military technology but this was not Swords Into Plowshares.

So lets go back to the original sicha of exactly nine years ago this week, the sicha of Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim, 5752, in which the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach explains in detail how the fulfillment of this Messianic prophecy of Yishayahu (Isaiah) has now begun to be fulfilled. Referring to the meeting of the heads of state of the major countries of the world at the United Nations at the end of January, 1992, the Rebbe writes, "Since these days heads of state of the world’s countries are making decisions and announcements regarding the reduction and dismantling of weapons and the increase in matters required for the maintenance of the economies of the individual countries and the world as a whole – which is the content of the prophecy ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares,’ dismantling the instruments of war to produce from them instruments for working the ground, ‘earth from whence comes forth bread’ (Job 28, 5) – this is a clear sign of the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy in the true and complete Redemption of Moshiach Tzidkeinu" (italics in original sicha).

We see from this quote (and others later in the sicha) that the content or the meaning of this prophecy is an overall shift in resources from military to economic uses. This comes as a result of reduced threat perception on the part of the countries involved, as we see from the Radak quoted earlier in the sicha: "There will be no war between one nation and another because [Moshiach] will bring peace among them. Thus they will not need instruments of war and they will beat them to make from them instruments for working the ground" (italics not in original).

We might say that the highest form of Swords Into Plowshares occurs when the peaceful conditions will bring about a change of attitude on the part of the countries of the world. They will not feel threatened by each other. They will feel secure so they will not need instruments of war. It is within this framework that all Swords Into Plowshares developments should be analyzed. We will review the development of nuclear weapons technology in China and its conversion to peaceful uses, but first let’s see what the Chinese themselves have to say on the matter.

WHAT THE CHINESE SAY

In the introduction to their paper entitled "The Practice and Progress of Defense Conversion in China," three professors from the China Academy of Engineering Physics write:

The peaceful use of military technology represents the trend of history. The fundamental element of the conversion of military technologies to civilian ones for each country is to reconfigure the factors of production in peacetime, which consists of land and natural resources, capital and labor, science, technology and information, etc. The purpose of conversion is to make an efficient contribution of post-war economic recovery and construction which is determined by national defense, economy, strategy of science and technology development, industry policy and labor distribution. Defense conversion is a fundamental issue that is related to world peace, disarmament, international security, and economy development. The influence of the conversion has been more significant after the cold war; and a lot of countries have paid attention to it. Many scientists and outstanding people have been working hard on promoting the defense conversion.

The most important aspect of peaceful use of defense science and technology is its development and applications. It is a common demand of people of the world and the wishes of most scientists and engineers to convert the advanced military technologies to productive forces, to promote national economy development and bring benefits to human beings. The national condition of China determines that the objective of Chinese conversion should be to develop productive forces and meet the increasing demand for material and civilization development and applications of advanced defense technology in civilian area will significantly promote the economy, technology and society, and bring new social culture and material prosperity. In order to be converted to productive forces, science and technology must be effectively converted into products that meet the demand.

In the mid-fifties, Mao Zedong required that military industries have dual-productive abilities for military and civilian. However, defense conversion in China began actually in the late 1970’s. Deng Ziaoping proposed that military science and technology should serve the national economy, and then a new era of the combination of military with civilian started. Chinese military industries have now achieved preliminary success in changing the status from sole military production to a combination of military with civilian production.

In the early 1990’s, the output value from civil products had counted more than 70 percent of the total of military enterprises. For example, the annual production of color TV sets has increased from ten thousand to twelve million during the past ten years, in which military enterprises, Changhong and Panda took about 30 percent of the total. Almost one half of all civilian motorcycles were produced by enterprises of military sector. With further reform and openness to abroad, Chinese defense conversion is now accelerating to a new phase.

A recent investigation in more than two hundred defense institutions, by China Defense Science and Technology Information Center, shows that these institutions have set up a new management structure and are now in a new stage of converting new technologies into civilian applications. Up to now, more than 84 percent institutions have had their defense programs and other programs managed separately. The income from civilian products counts for more than 41 per cent of the total. A series of high-tech products have been produced consisting of computers, communication equipment, auto-control system, electrical-mechanical apparatus and transporting vehicles, etc.

Nuclear industries in China used to develop in an enclosed style of management. With the emphasis on the transition of the national economy, we have made a significant progress in nuclear power, application of radioactive isotopes and radiation technology, development of high-tech civil products, controlling of nuclear waste, and environment protection technology development. According to a statistic in 1992, the output value of civil products took about 61 percent of the total of nuclear industries.

(continued in next post)
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Unread 02-10-2003, 01:49 PM   #25
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The Swords of China Into Plowshares 5761
Part 2

by Prof. Shimon Silman, RYAL Institute and Touro College


Plowshares Into Swords – The Development of China’s Nuclear Technology

In part 1 we explained that the transformation of military technology to peaceful uses – "swords into plowshares" – that is sweeping the globe, includes China. In fact, it was a group of Chinese physicists who identified this transformation as the trend of history.

But just a few decades ago, before the declaration of "swords into plowshares," when China was first developing its nuclear weapons, all of its civilian resources were put at the disposal of the military to develop weapons, especially nuclear weapons. This phase of China’s history could be characterized by "Plowshares Into Swords" (a phrase found in the Prophet Yoel, who was instructing the people to prepare for war. My appreciation to Levi Yitzchok Silman for bringing this verse to my attention.)

In this part of the paper we will trace the history of the development of China’s nuclear technology and in part 3 we will describe the transformation of its nuclear technology to peaceful uses – the "swords into plowshares" phase. Our report is based on a paper of Prof. Yitzhak Shichor of the Hebrew University entitled "Peaceful Fallout: The Conversion of China’s Military-Nuclear Complex to Civilian Use."

***

Throughout the Mao era, from the early 1950’s to the late 1970’s, China’s nuclear complex was launched, built, and expanded primarily for military ends, using considerable civilian resources including funds, manpower, and equipment. China’s leadership was aware of the peaceful use of nuclear energy and technology as early as the 1950’s and had done some initial research in this direction, but civilian considerations were subordinate to military considerations. This was especially so since the late 1950’s, as its threat perception increased and its relations with the U.S. and Russia deteriorated. Its scarce economic resources were allocated to developing a military-nuclear complex, and its civilian output was only about 5% by the late 1970’s, at the end of the Mao era.

The initial stages of China’s nuclear weapons development began in about 1952. China had recently established the Research Institute of Modern Physics, drawing on Chinese physicists at home and abroad. Those who returned from abroad brought with them personal connections, books, equipment, and materials, which provided the foundation for China’s nuclear research.

In January 1955 China and Russia began collaborating on nuclear research. In March 1956, China, Russia and 10 other socialist countries formed the Joint Atomic and Nuclear Research Institute in Dubna (near Moscow). The next month, Mao Zedung declared that China "would not only have more aircraft and large guns, but also atomic bombs." Russia continued its nuclear scientific and technological assistance to China, and on October 15, 1957, the two governments signed an "Agreement on Producing New Weapons and Military Technical Equipment and Building Comprehensive Nuclear Industry in China."

Early in 1958, however, Russia secretly decided to back off from this deal and, as Sino-Soviet relations began to deteriorate, China decided to start all over again and develop an atomic bomb on its own. In the spring of 1960, scores of scientists were mobilized to work on nuclear weapons and missiles projects for the Nuclear Weapons Research Institute. Despite a major setback later that year, when Russia suddenly stopped the supply of equipment and recalled hundreds of nuclear experts, who took blueprints and information back with them, China proceeded with its plan to develop an atomic bomb, more determined than ever.

At this point the plowshares into swords conversion took place in China. Much effort was exerted to ensure the supply of all the manpower, materials, and equipment needed by the nuclear industry. By the end of 1963, over 400 factories, institutes, colleges and universities all over China contributed to the effort. Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, China’s nuclear weapons development proceeded at a steady pace. As its nuclear program gathered momentum, China’s threat perception increased. Mao claimed, "If we are not to be bullied in the present-day world, we cannot do without the bomb." Consequently, he gave priority to nuclear weapons development over conventional weapons development. Even the natural spin-off of nuclear technology – nuclear power for civilian use – was very slow in developing in China. Strategic weapons programs outdistanced all other modern economic activities in China.

Military-Civilian Combination

In the late 1970’s, after Mao’s death, China put forward a policy that its surplus military manpower and equipment be used for civilian purposes. This was not yet a "swords into plowshares" policy, since China’s threat perception was still very high, considering Russia as the most immediate threat to its security. The policy was put forth primarily for economic reasons. They realized that much of the nuclear and conventional defense industry potential, used in the past almost exclusively for military production, had a surplus capacity, which could be used for civilian purposes. It was a matter of putting this surplus to practical use.

This policy was described by the Chinese as "preserving military needs while converting to civilian production." It was a sort of dual-use technology policy – assuring military production while developing civilian goods.

In the case of China’s nuclear technology, there were four main obstacles to such conversion: 1) China’s nuclear industry had been developed in total secrecy and under tight security measures, totally ‘secluded from market forces; 2) The technologies it used were dangerous and the nuclear industry was so specialized for military purposes that the existing production facilities and equipment could not be directly converted to civilian production, and its management system, operational methods and work styles were incompatible with the requirements of civilian production; 3) Two thirds of China’s nuclear complex were located in deserts and mountain regions, far away from urban commercial centers; 4) The nuclear industry had no experience in what was to become its principal civilian application – nuclear power plants.

It was necessary to reduce centralized state control and increase flexibility, initiative, and competition. One of the organizational measures taken in this direction in the 1980’s was to allow each of the defense industries to establish its own trading corporations. Several corporations were set up to deal with specific civilian aspects of China’s nuclear industry, such as the China Isotope Co., China Nuclear Instruments and Equipment Corp. and the Nuclear Industry Development Research Center. At the same time, a gradual process of changing the names and the nature of the defense-industrial government ministries began. For example, in 1988, the Ministry of Nuclear Industry was replaced by the China Nuclear Industry General Corporation (CNIGC) under a newly created Ministry of Energy Resources.

With the "swords into plowshares" declaration in 1992, China’s threat perception was greatly reduced, and a genuine "swords into plowshares" process began in China. Russia was no longer the threat that it formerly was and China found that it no longer needed the vast nuclear arsenal it had developed nor the vast army it had organized.
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