This week the White House announced that President Obama will pay a visit to Hiroshima, where one American atomic bomb avoided the need to invade Japan and ended six long years of endless bloodshed. Since that fateful day in 1945, the world as been grappling with how to control the immense power of nuclear energy. 

Everything in this world has a reason for existence, was created by God (to be discovered by man), and therefore has the potential to teach us a lesson for life. (This is not a denial of science, evolution, or man-made inventions. Rather, it is the belief that God is the one who created, and maintains, the world, in order for us to discover how to best harness its powers.) That said, what could we learn from atomic energy? 

What is atomic energy? In essence, it is the realization that the greatest power in every physical object, is buried deep within it. It is the result of a paradigm shift in how we think. Instead of always looking at something and thinking "how can I change, carve, construct, alter or attach this item in order to see how it can be useful", atomic energy resulted from thinking "how can I dig deeper into its very essence to discover its power?".

In this week's Torah portion we find that God instructs the Jewish people to "be holy", by being kind, moral people, and living a Jewish life. The wording God uses in the Torah is "you should be holy, because I am holy". Simple enough. We should be holy, because our creator is holy. What does that really mean? Besides, just because God is holy, what has that got to do with me? I'm not God!

When the Torah tells us to be holy, to be good, righteous, upstanding, caring people, it is not commanding us to be something that we are not. It is telling us to think like an atomic scientist. You know why you should, and can, be holy? Because at your core you have a shining Neshama, a soul, who's essence is a piece of God. Dig deep into yourself and unleash that power of good. If God is holy, that makes you holy too. You're holy, special, giving and kind already, at your very core. 

Yet it took the Manhattan project and hundreds of scientists to unleash this power. It takes tremendous effort to stay in touch with you're true self. Which is why we have the Torah and 3,000 years of Jewish tradition, guiding us through our every stage in life. It is not meant as an imposition, but a guide for us to stay in touch with who we really are.


Rabbi Avrohom