Tonight we will answer the question How many Stars are there in the universe?
Another question we will answer is Why do we care exactly how many Stars are in the Universe?
It is widely acknowledged that there was no magnifying glass or telescope anywhere in the world until it's revealment or invention in the year 1608 generally attributed to Hans Lippershy.
What is the difference between revealment and invention? When one perceives technology is invented then one is saying that the human mind and thought is independent of a Creator. When one perceives that technology is revealed then one assumes that all wisdom including technological development occurs as a revelation from a Creator and that this wisdom is already known outside of the human world view. This difference is very significant in the consciousness of man and the world view of man as it relates to history. The Kabbalists teach that wisdom is always known by the quantum consciousness of the universal collective mind or in the religious term God. One of the purposes behind this series of classes is to cause people to realize how important the words that are used impinge on this collective mind and mold its perceptions.
The Midrash states that there is a sheath around the sun's orb. This same Midrash quotes the following verse from Psalms to explain that a tent and a sheath are the same thing.
Without a telescope only the human eye was able to count the stars from the earth. We generally accept that approximately 4000 stars can be seen with the human eye from earth. This was the accepted scientific answer to the above question - How many stars are there? Starting with the revealment of the telescope this number began to expand until the estimated answer today is 10 to the power of 21 or 22. This is the number 10 followed by 21 or 22 zero's. Obviously a large number. This is the current estimated answer to this question - How Many Stars?
Science does not answer the question Why does it matter How many Stars there are? This is because science has an excepted structure of questions. The question of why something develops can only relate to the physical causes. The question Why are there so many stars can not be answered with a physical cause and thus the question is not answered.
It is accepted that the Mishna part of the Talmud was written between the year 100 and the year 300 of the Common Era. This is approximately the year 3300 to 3500 of the Hebrew Calendar. It is also generally accepted that what is written in the Talmud are the results of notes taken from oral teachings that go back hundreds of years to when the Torah was revealed at Mount Sinai in the Hebrew year 2448, which is approximately 500 years Before the Common Era. At this time there can not have been a telescope to confirm the following writing in the Talmud.
This writing is written using a military description borrowed from the Romans. Where did the Romans get this military description can not be answered. We will touch upon this answer below. The Talmud says in the following "God said to the Jewish People I created 12 constellations in the firmament". (Where does the 12 astrological constellations come from? Who speaks of these 12 pictures in the sky that is so difficult to actually see even today. What are these 12? The Ram, Bull, Twins, Crab, Lion, Virgin, Scales, Scorpion, Bow or Rainbow, Goat, Water Carrier, and Fishes). This leads to another series of questions we will not answer tonight.
The Talmud continues "For each constellation I created 30 Hosts." "For each Host I created 30 Legions." "For each Legion I created 30 Divisions." "For each Division I created 30 battalions." "For each battalion I created 30 camps." "For each Camp I have attached 365 thousand tens of thousands of stars, corresponding to the 365 days of the solar year. And each of them I have created only for your sake."
As said above the terms Host, Legion, Division, Battalion, and Camp are terms used in the Roman Military Legions. Let's see what this calculation gives us. 12 x 30 x 30 x 30 x 30 x 30 x 365 x 1000 x 10,000 = 1,064,340,000,000,000,000. This is an exact number of stars which is on the order of 10 to the power of 18.
Let's analyze this number.There are 13 zero's to the right of the numbers. 13 represents the Hebrew word Echad or Unity as well as the energy of Love and Affinity. 10 to the eighteenth power represents the energy of Life. The number 34 becomes 7 when we add the integers. 7 represents our world of the 7 lower Sefirot. 64 is 8 squared. 8 represents a connection to the Sefirah of Binah which is the energy store. All of these stars clearly demonstrate an incredible amount of energy. The reason for the squared number is to show the unity between the two levels of the physical world. The stars and the earth are always unified. Remember what the Talmud says: "And each of them I have created only for your sake". At a minimum this shows the connection between the earth and its stars even if it does not explain the meaning yet. Before we look at that question, let's remember that at the historical time science says there are approximately 4000 stars our Sages have been told an exact number that also can be interpreted metaphorically.
The Sages have explained this sentence from a spiritual perspective using Psalm Chapter 8 Verse 4 and 5. Here they are in both Hebrew and English.
Ki EhrEh ShaMehCha MaAhSay EtzBeOhTeCha YaRaAch VeCoCaViM AhSheR CoNaNTa. Mah EhNoSh Ki TiZKeRehNu UVeN AhDaM Ki TiFKeDehNu.
When I behold Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast established; What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou thinkest of him?
Verse 4 has 9 words and 40 letters. Verse 5 has 8 words and 28 letters. When we add these together we have 17 words and 68 letters. These teach us that the energy of these two words is dealing with the energy of goodness and life . (If you need me to explain this let me know).
The Sages explain that these verses along with general knowledge see the universe and overwhelming and amazing by its dimensions alone. This helps man to have a sense of humility which grows into spiritual perfection the more we contemplate this immense size. This is also true at the microscopic level as well.
The Sages also explain this as a physical explanation. They say that the universe is necessary for the earth to exist within it. Over the last 70 years since the development of larger and more efficient telescopes has allowed science to come to the conclusions expressed by Professor Nathan Aviezer (Physicist and Author) in his book "In the Beginning" where he said "Recent advances in Astronomy have revealed a remarkable link between life on earth and the distant stars. In fact it is no exaggeration to say that without the distant stars life on earth would have been impossible".
What the Professor is referring to is the development of various elements like iron, carbon, and silicon. Professor Aviezer quotes another scientist Professor Michael Zeilik who said in an article of Scientific American, "Massive stars have relatively short lives, after which they catastrophically explode. During their life they manufacture, deep within their thermonuclear furnaces, elements as heavy as carbon and iron. At their death the awesome violence of the supernova explosion forges even heavier elements and blasts as much of 90% of the mass of the star into the interstellar space. Out of this recycled material new stars and planets are formed including our sun and the earth (according to science). Life arose on our planet because massive stars lived and died. Without supernova explosions the carbon base that our lives depend upon would not have been spread through out interstellar space."
Our Sages teach that prior to the Creation of the Earth and Sun our Creator created and destroyed other worlds. The Kabbalists (see the ARI teaching of the 8 Kings of Edom who appeared prior to their being a King in Israel) teach that there is a direct connection between the previous worlds and suns and our world and sun.
Although science has not yet developed this relationship the words of our Sages can be interpreted as alluding to the creation and destruction of these giant massive stars and supernovae as a necessity to the Creation of our world.
Science also teaches that the great size of the universe is necessary for our world to exist for two reasons. One relates to cosmic rays that are created by supernovae explosions. These massive distances drain the energy of the rays which is what allows us to remain unsterilized or unfried in the words of one Scientist, Professor Dyson Freeman of Princeton University.
Another scientific speculation is that interstellar gravity is so complex that it is necessary for our sun and planets to utilize this gravity to travel through space in such a way that our specific temperature range for life is met.
Our world exists only through a specific series of creations which still allow life to exist on our world. The Sages knew what science is only now discovering. Did they discover this because our Sages revealed the relationship a couple of centuries ago? Or is this two separate paths to knowledge? I leave this to your discussion and decision. Ultimately we must realize that science constantly undergoes theory and belief and update and changes in numbers and estimates. The Sages are very exact in their words and numbers.
I will leave you with a verse from Isaiah (Chapter 40 Verse 26) to contemplate.
Lift up your eyes on high, and see: who hath created these? He that bringeth out their host by number, He calleth them all by name; by the greatness of His might, and for that He is strong in power, not one faileth.
In my opinion, HaShem knows each human being by Name and Number, HaShem knows each star by Name and Number, and actually knows each and every atom, electron, and proton, since each of these items grow to become a host with another name.
Our Sages tell us in the Midrash that the sun has a sheath and that without this sheath life on earth would be impossible. When we look at the sun we do not see a sheath. What is the truth according to modern science?
Modern science has a description of the sun that goes like this. There are different layers of the sun just as there are different levels of the earth. The earth has an atmospere, a crust, and a molten core and the sun has a corona, a photosphere, and the Sun's Interior.
Actually the photosphere, as we will discover is the sheath that the Sages speak about. Before we do that let's look at what the Tanach says, specifically in the Psalms. Looking at Psalm Chapter 19 Verse 5:
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath He set a tent for the sun.
Note the last part of this verse referring to the Tent, the Sages state the Tent is the Sheath referred to in the Midrash.
Now let's quote Professor N Vidal, who is a recognized Astronomer with many University chairs and relationships including Harvard University. Professor Vidal says "The sun is a ball of gas, whose outer most temperature is 6000 degrees Centigrade. Gases at much higher temperature flow beneath the surface. According to our ESTIMATES, the temperature continues to rise as we approach the center of the sun, where it reaches 15,000,000 degree Centigrade. Today we picture the center of the sun as a type of "nuclear reactor" that releases vast quantities of heat which make their way slowly outward. As it moves out, the strength of this heat diminishes until it reaches the surface layer were it is "only" 6000 degrees Centigrade. The extremely high temperatures within the sun cause gas storms of tremendous proportions, which even form waves that crash against the surface gases with unbelievable force. These outer layers themselves absorb the heat being radiated from within the sun, and restrain the shockwaves caused by these waves striking it. We call this ourter layer "the sheath"."
Today we realize that just as the Earth has a surrounding atmosphere, which both provides oxygen for life and protects us from the dangerous cosmic radiation, so the sun has a sheath that protects the inhabitants on Earth. The Sages knew of this Sheath's existence from its source in the Torah. Furthermore, based on the Midrash, they knew of its protectve role, and the fact that Earth's inhabitants could perish were the sheath to fail in its task.
The facts given above teach us two lessons that are very important for us to realize.
The scientific information provided by the Torah has no human source. Through the source, the Creator of the Universe reveals some of the mysteries of the creation to his people. Among these secrets are items that are invisible to the human observer.
We should give full credence to the Sage's statements and grant them respect, even when at first, they seem difficult to grasp.
With that in mind let me reveal what the Zohar says. The Center of the sun is composed of material similar to the earth's dust.
This question is somewhat similar to our question about the number of stars although there is a reason that i am returning to this similar question. That reason will become clear shortly.
The Pleiades Star Cluster is visible from the earth. Due to its brightness as seen from the Earth it is spoken about in most if not all of the ancient cultures. It is frequently known as the 7 sisters and it has always had some occult speculation associated with it. Seen from the earth with the Naked eye typically it is composed of 6 stars. On a clear night a 7th is observed and sometimes it is possible to see an eighth.
After the revelation of the telescope a greater number of stars were identified as part of the Pleiades Cluster until now it is recognized that there are approximately 100 Bright stars and many more stars distant and because of the distance have less luminosity.
The Hebrew Name for this star cluster is KiMah. This translates as "For What". The Talmud asks the question "What is meant by KiMah"? And the Talmud answers "K'MeAh". Some say they are close together and some say they are distant."
The Hebrew KiMah is cognate to KiMeAh. KiMeAh translates as "about 100." Therefore, the Sages always spoke about 100 Stars being in the Cluster. Why is this important? In many of the debates about which religion is correct that were held at the behest of the Church this difference between 100 by the Jewish World and 7 or 8 by the Christian World was a significant difference and was used by the inquisition to show how incorrect the Jewish World View was thought to be.
This extra verse in the Talmud leads us to another general conclusion about what the Sages knew. They knew there was approximately 100 Bright Stars in the Pleiades Cluster. Where did this information come from? The Name. Who Named the star cluster? It came down to the redactors of the Talmud. The Talmud was a compilation of the Teachings of Sages who were from even earlier generations. In those earlier generations they knew that the Stars also included galaxies that are far distant from ours as well as galaxies that are close to ours. Since this information was taught orally the students of these earlier generations did not learn all that they should have learned. Some students learned that the galaxies were nearby and other students learned that the galaxies came from the far reaches of space. Yet the Redactors of the Talmud with their Ruach Hakodesh their Holy Spirit their intuition knew to add both teachings to the answer. What we learn is a clear lesson about the system and how one is to learn within the system by using our logic and also our connections and intuitions.
This story about science and Torah is one of my favorites as you will soon see why.
Torah Verse Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 7
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.
There is water above the Atmosphere.
The Midrash which is written about 1500 to 1800 years ago makes the following statement. The Water above the firmament is more abundant than the water below the firmament. In effect there is more water in outer space than in our oceans and clouds.
Does the Midrash tell us that there are oceans and lakes and currents of water in outer space? There is a lot of water on this planet almost 70% of the land area alone not counting the depths of the oceans. This earth has a lot of water and yet the Midrash (Torah) is teaching that there is more water in outer space than on this earth. Where is it?
The Midrash goes on to explain (by a close reading of the Hebrew) that this water is floating in space not resting on the Firmament as we would think if the Torah had said a division in the water. Of course the scientists and wise men of the other nation have always disputed this Midrash asking the question where is this water. We do not see it. Look around you and see all of the water, now look to space. Where is the Water?
The Midrash also tells us that the water is frozen. Let's look at what 20th Century science has to say about this frozen floating water.
The Cambridge Atlas of Astronomy says the following in a paraphrased description:
In 1908 there was an explosion in Siberia. It was a large explosion on the order of a 1000 times greater than the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb. What could be the cause of this explosion? It is a meteor. This meteor must have been solid ice. It is estimated the meteor to be approximately the size of 40 meteors in diameter and weighing 30,000 tons. This meteor exploded at a height of some kilometers.
Scientists at the time were baffled by the idea of so much water in one meteor. They did not pay attention to the Midrash as that was "debunked" by the scientists of the middle ages. The Jewish Rabbis knew but the scientists never asked and without a question there is no vessel to hold the revelation of knowledge.
These 20th Century Scientists asked the questions "Where did this much water come from and Are there many more water/ice meteors in space?" Modern Scientists "now know" that there are a significant amount of these ice meteors in the area of our solar system called the Oort Cloud Named after the discoverer a Dutch Astronomer Jan Oort.
This knowledge that there are a significant amount of water/ice meteors in this Oort Cloud comes about through the technology and size improvements in telescopes. Today science teaches us the "knowledge" that all meteors are ice mixed with particles of dust and rock. It is estimated that there are over one thousand billion comets in the Oort Cloud. Small comets are estimated to have approximately 1 billion tons of ice. Large comets are estimated to be over a thousand times larger. It is estimated that if all the water in the Oort Cloud were to be melted it would fill the oceans of over 1000 earth size planets.
That water estimate above does not count any of the water that recently have been found on the planets and moons of the solar system. Some of the water frozen on the planets are over 1000 kilometer deep.
How could all of this been known over 1500 years ago in order to write it in the Talmud and Midrash and actually known earlier than that? You know the answer. It was revealed to Moshe at Sinai and he revealed it to Joshua and then it was revealed to the Judges who revealed it to the Prophets and Kings and ultimately it was revealed to the writers of the Midrash who is estimated to be Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who is the reputed teacher of the author of the Zohar who is Rabbi Abba famous from the Zohar itself.
Next week we will discuss how this water above interacts with the water below.
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