Monday, July 11, 2016

Anniversary of the Maaseh Merkava

ויהי בשלשים שנה, ברביעי בחמשה לחדש, ואני בתוך-הגולה, על-נהר-כבר; נפתחו, השמים, ואראה, מראות אלהים. בחמשה לחדש
Today is the anniversary of Yechezkel's vision, and it is a good time to repeat something Reb Moshe said about the meaning of what he saw.

One of the things Yechezkel saw was the Ofanim.
וּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה הָאוֹפַן בְּתוֹךְ הָאוֹפָן.

Reb Moshe said that although we do not understand the Maaseh Merkava, the image of אופן בתוך האופן is one of a gear. When we look at the things that take place in this world, we are perplexed by the apparent movement against what we are taught is Hashem's will, against justice and yashrus. But that is the nature of a gear- the direct result of an action is movement in the opposite direction; counterclockwise rotation is converted to clockwise rotation. Sometimes, what appears to be a very small movement is multiplied and generates tremendous change, far greater than was initially apparent. And what appears to be endless and pointless rotation produces forward movement.

(A coincidence involving Hashkafa and gears that change the direction of force- Reb Yisrael Salanter had a son, Lipmann Lipkin, b. 1846, d. of smallpox in 1876. Too bad they didn't have effective inoculations then. He received his Ph.D in Mathematics from Jena University, his dissertation titled "Ueber die Räumlichen Strophoiden." He first became known in the mathematical world through his mechanical device for the change of rotational into linear motion, this mechanism having been invented by him while he was still a pupil at the technical high school. He described his invention in the journal of the Russian Academy ("Mélanges Mathématiques de l'Académie Impériale à St. Petersbourg," 1870), under the title "Ueber eine Gelenkgeradeführung von L. Lipkin." The Russian mathematician Chebyshev had tried to show that an exact solution was impossible; and his views were accepted until Lipkin's discovery proved the contrary. This invention has been described in numerous text-books, such as Collignon's "Traité de Mécanique, Cinématique" (Paris, 1873), where it is called "Lipkin's Parallelogram."

A model of Lipkin's invention was exhibited at the exposition at Vienna in 1873, and was later secured from the inventor by the Museum of the Institute of Engineers of Ways of Communication, St. Petersburg.

And here it is.

1 comment: