Noah, Technology and the Coming of the Messiah
I was talking with a rabbi recently, and told him that the world had hit a new low. He quickly reminded me that Cain slew Abel within days of creation, effectively annihilating one third of the world’s male population.
No, there’s nothing new under the sun. What is inarguably new is how we learn about this dysfunction. The Internet and social media have changed the world — as has technology in general over the past two centuries.
Why is it that advances in civilization limped along for millennia, then picked up pace rapidly in the past 200 years?
This week’s Torah portion of Noah relates how the flood began in the 600th year of his life. The Zohar, the primary text of Jewish mysticism, predicted that in the 600th year of the sixth millennium (corresponding to the year 1840), there would be a “flood” of wisdom in the heavens, as well as here on earth. That was the year the Industrial Revolution peaked in its transformation of earthly society, and the teachings of Chasidus were fully disseminated, transforming spirituality “from above.” Together, says the Zohar, they prepare the world for the seventh millennium: the Messianic era.
The Torah’s mystical teachings prepare the world for the Messiah, giving us a hint of the time when “the world will be filled with the knowledge of God (Isaiah 11:9).”
Technology “below” is now making it easier to perceive this spirituality, and every day it becomes easier. Replace “Google” with “God” to get a sense of how everything in creation will be understood in the Messianic era. The “Share My Location” feature on an iPhone is analogous to God seeing everything we do.
We won’t fully appreciate that God knows everything, sees everything and is everything until the Messiah arrives, but today’s technology, getting “smarter” every day, shows us how close we are.