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Purpose of Time and Space

Philosophers and scientists have expended great efforts in defining the concepts of time and space. This matter has concerned many people because time and space define the limits of man’s world. Some of the philosophers toyed with the idea of whether time and space are subjective (Kant) or objective (Descartes), or perhaps an illusion (Berkeley). Modern science has adopted an approach that time and space are directly related to mass (Einstein). One proposal is to view time as an interface between humanity and the world (Bergson). Another question that has been brought up is whether time and place have minimum values, a concept similar to “atoms” (Arab philosophers called "Mutkalmin" by the Rambam), or are a continuum (Aristotle). Thus, humankind has studied these two concepts to find definitions that satisfy their intellectual curiosity.

However, one subject has yet to be discussed. Why do time and space exist? The sages of Yisrael did indeed discuss this matter, but from a moral standpoint and not necessarily as a scientific pursuit.

Space is what gives us the ability to separate between one person and another. If we were not separated by distance, we would feel like we were the same personality. Such a state would not allow the development of mutual reactions between different people, and there would thus be no basis for the concept of morality. That is what the sages meant by saying, “Nothing exists that does not have its place” [Avot 7:3]. Without rules for the relationship between one person and another, it would be impossible to observe the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself” [Leviticus 19:18], which Rabbi Akiva declared was the main principle in the Torah – and in such a case the entire world would become Hell (Levinas).

Time is what makes it possible to acquire the privilege to exist. If not for time, we could not insist on the requirements of justice because humankind is so puny that it cannot stand up against the eternity of G-d. This is undoubtedly true in the case of a creature who sinned. The Ramchal explains that time was given to the sinners so that they will be able to rectify what they have distorted. Even if no sin has occurred, time is necessary to establish a basis for a personality and acquire the privilege of existence. This is the essence of the Divine trait of mercy ("rachamim"). The name comes from the word for a womb ("rechem"), a place that has been given to living creatures so that during pregnancy, they will develop the tools to allow them to cope with the external world after they have been born.

Since the justification for the existence of time and space is an ethical approach, their need depends on a moral requirement. Therefore, after humanity acquires the right to exist, the concept of place will no longer be needed, and all the souls will be united through mutual love. This is explained in the Tanya (Chapter 12) – that all of the people of Yisrael are a single soul which appears in separate bodies. In addition, the world will rise above the continuum of historical time and reach the level of the upper world. That is eternal life.

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Rabbi Oury Cherki's "A Bridge between Faiths: An Open Letter to Islam, Part 1" delves into the intricate dynamics between Judaism and Islam post the 2023 Hamas attack on Israel. The piece probes the philosophical and legal facets of Islam's status in Jewish literature, uncovering points of unity and contention. Cherki scrutinizes Islam's potential for spiritual progress and calls for a nuanced understanding amid the unique historical context. The article accentuates the scarcity of literature exploring Judaism's stance on Islam, presenting itself as a contribution to fostering mutual comprehension.

Cherki elucidates the shared beliefs in monotheism, rejecting God's corporeality and idolatry, while acknowledging differences in their understanding. Notably, he highlights the significance of the Seven Noahide Laws, urging Islam to embrace them more unequivocally for enhanced cooperation. Judaism's recognition of Islam as a sister religion and the potential for collaboration are explored alongside historical perspectives, celebrating the initial affinity between the two faiths.

However, the article confronts substantial disagreements, including Islam's assertion of the nullification of the Mosaic Torah and claims of corruption by Jews. It underscores the necessity for Islam to acknowledge the eternal validity of the Torah and the divine promise of the Jewish return to their homeland. Cherki posits three prerequisites for Judaism to accept Islam as a legitimate religion for all, calling for recognition, abandonment of claims of corruption, and acknowledgment of the divine promise.

Concluding with a call for peace, Rabbi Oury Cherki sets the stage for Part 2, promising an exploration of Muhammad's status, Judaism's potential contributions to Islamic faith, and more. This open letter seeks to build a bridge between the believers in the One God, urging Islamic religious leadership to engage in dialogue on critical issues for future harmony.

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