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The Binding of Isaac and Quantum Entanglement

In Kabbalah, each central quality of the psyche is represented by an archetypal Jewish soul. Abraham, the first of the Patriarchs, is the archetypal soul of love, and his son Isaac is the archetypal soul of fear. God Himself alludes to Abraham as, “Abraham My lover,”[1] and for Isaac there is a phrase in which God is referred to as “the fear of Isaac.”[2] Thus the first two generations of Jews, father and son, represent the first two emotions of the psyche—love and fear.

Complementarity and Entanglement

The complementarity of the wave-particle function in elementary particles determines that as soon as one of the functions is observed, the other function collapses. Similarly, the general rule is that we can never experience love and fear simultaneously. However, the sages teach us that regarding God we can experience them both at the same time. This paradoxical accomplishment was achieved by the binding of these two archetypal souls in the last of Abraham’s ten trials—the Binding of Isaac.

Although the literal significance of the Binding of Isaac is Abraham’s physical binding of Isaac to the altar in order to sacrifice him as God commanded, the symbolic significance is the binding of these two spiritual attributes of love and fear.

At the moment of the act, their love and fear of God were fully integrated and inter-included within each-others’ souls. God tested Abraham—whose natural consciousness was full of love— in order to assess his fear of God, and indeed, when the angel came to tell Abraham in the name of God that he should not slay Isaac, he said, “Now I know that you fear God.”[3] Isaac—whose primary experience was purely fear—was willing to become a sacrifice and give up his life for God out of the highest level of love and pure devotion, as we are taught, “’You shall love Havayah, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul’–even if He takes your soul.”[4] At the climax of the Binding if Isaac, the souls of Abraham and Isaac became cosmically “entangled” like a pair of elementary particles.

Experiencing Both Love and Fear

The entanglement of Abraham’s and Isaac’s souls at this monumental event effected a similar binding of the two attributes of love and fear in each of their souls. From that moment on it became possible for every descendant of Abraham and Isaac to experience the two apparent opposites of love and fear of God simultaneously without a “collapse” of the opposite function. This is the secret of true peace, as we are taught that God makes peace in the world by uniting opposites. [5] Indeed, the final phrase of the Priestly Blessing, “and He shall grant you peace” [וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם) [6)  has a numerical value of 782, which is also the value of the phrase, “the Binding of Isaac” (עֲקֵדַת יִצְחָק)!

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class on the number 137 and Love and Fear, Toronto, Av 5770

For a video introduction to the 137 group of classes, please watch: “Kabbalah and the Fine-Structure Constant


[1] Isaiah 41:8.

[2] Genesis 31:42.

[3] Ibid 22:12.

[4] Rashi, Deuteronomy 6:5.

[5] Zohar Vayikra 12b; see also, Likutei Moharan 80.

[6] Numbers 6:26.

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