Parshat Yitro By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land
Lightning and Capacitors
Lightning is a natural electric phenomenon that is closely related to the electric capacitor. Capacitors are used by many on a daily basis in the form of charged batteries. What causes the phenomena of lightning is the accumulation of electrically charged particles of one type, i.e positive or negative, in the sky and oppositely charged particles on the ground. Then, when there is a release of this electric “tension”, this release comes forth in the form of lightning which connects the positive and negative particles through its electric current. Capacitors work similarly in the sense that they contain two plates one positively charged and the other negatively charged, thus “containing” an electric charge. However, in the case of a capacitor the plates are insulated from each other so that there is no electric passage, i.e “lightening,” between them.
In this Parsha, we find the theme of lightening in the Giving of the Torah. Kabbalistically speaking there is a concept of five aspects of “kindness” and five aspects of “judgment,” a matter that is remarkably similar to the positive and negative charged particles separated in a capacitor and in the case of lightning. According to the Kabbalah, these aspects are essential in the unity and enjoining of separate entities, a matter that highly resembles the “lightening” theme, in which the sky/heavens are connected to the earth. Also, the fact that lightning appears in the context of the Giving of the Torah fits perfectly with this theme for the Giving of the Torah represents the unity between the Divine Will and Its connection to the earth in the form of the Divine Command or Teaching.
These contemplations also shed light on the physical laws of the capacitor. These laws state that the total or equivalent capacitance, CT of an electrical circuit containing two or more Capacitors in Parallel is the sum of all the individual capacitance’s added together as the effective area of the plates is increased. However, when adding together Capacitors in Series, the reciprocal ( 1/C ) of the individual capacitors are all added together ( just like resistors in parallel ) instead of the capacitance’s themselves. Then the total value for capacitors in series equals the reciprocal of the sum of the reciprocals of the individual capacitance’s.
These laws stand in direct opposition to the laws of Resistors, for in Resistors in Parallel the total of the resistance is equal to the reciprocal ( 1/R ) of the sum of the inverses of all the individual resistors added together. However, for Resistors in Series, the total of the resistance is equal to the (regular) sum of all the individual resistors in the series.
These laws can be spiritually explained by saying that capacitors and resistors, in essence, stand in diametrical opposition to each other, for capacitors represent the reception of electrical charge while resistors represent the opposition to electric charge. Also, the Hebrew word for reception is “kabel” which is also the Modern Hebrew word for a capacitor. Also, the word for “parallel” in Hebrew, the Holy Tongue by which the world was created, is “makbil,” from the same verb root as of “kabel.” This remarkably explains why specifically in the case of capacitors – “kabel” – in “series” – “makbil” – the total sum of capacity is a direct sum of these capacitors. Indeed, according to the Kabbalah, two matters that are placed in parallel to each other, i.e “standing before each other,” carry a stronger connection to each other than those that are put one after the other, i.e “in series” so-to-speak. [This is also an important contemplation in regard to human relationships.] If capacitors represent connection as illustrated above in the case of lightning and the giving of the Torah it becomes clear why “parallelism” in the case of capacitors causes a direct influence of adding, i.e “connecting”, the individual capacitors to reach the total capacitance. However, when placed in a series, the reciprocals of the capacitors must be used, signifying the lessened spiritual energy in such a system.
According to the Zohar Hebron is synonymous with the Torah scholar, for this scholar is called a “haber.” We may also add that Hebron itself is synonymous with the Torah, the “lightning-like” connecting force between Heaven and Earth and Hebron means connection – “hibur.” Indeed, this is Hebron: Beacon of the Holy Land enlightening us all with its unifying “lightning” and tremendous energy and capacity, enjoining us with Hashem, enjoining us with the Holy Presence in the Holy Land, enjoining Heaven and Earth.
Miracles from the Holy Land: Fifth Day of Six-Day War:
After suffering significant casualties in the offensive to overtake the Golan Heights, Commander Musa Klein’s platoon had only twenty-five men at his disposal. But they continued upwards. When they reached Tel Fakhr, Klein ordered his men to charge the position, unaware that it was one of the most heavily fortified Syrian positions. It had bunkers, trenches and a double row of wire, along with an arsenal of antitank guns, machine guns, and 82mm mortars. The handful of IDF soldiers were worse off than sitting ducks . . .
Syrian Captain Ahmad Ibrahim Khalili gave his men instructions not to fire until the Israelis reached the wire. In no time at all, however, it was too late. In the Syrians’ own words: “The Jews are already inside, and we’ve taken heavy casualties.” Commander Klein and his men were victorious and continued up the Heights. On that day too Israel seized the Straits of Tiran.