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Credit Where Credit is Due
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

In 1982, surgeons in the University of Utah implanted an artificial heart into Dr. Barney Clark, who was close to death at the time of surgery. He lived for another 112 days after the surgery. The liaison between the surgical team and the media was Dr. Robert Jarvik, a young man of 35 who had worked on the artificial heart project and garnered his share of accolades for the successful surgery. To this day, the heart implanted into Dr. Clark is known as the "Jarvik-7"--despite the fact that Dr. Jarvik is not a surgeon and did not participate in the surgery. 

The real mastermind behind the artificial heart was Dr. William Kolff, known as the "father of artificial organs." Decades earlier, Kolff had developed the world's first artificial kidney, which helped save the lives of thousands of people suffering from renal failure. He headed the Division of Artificial Organs at the University of Utah, and lead the team that constructed the artificial heart. Over 200 physicians, engineers, faculty members and graduate students worked on the artificial heart project, and the project manager was a graduate student named Robert Jarvik. In his honor, Kolff named the heart the Jarvik-7.

* * *

In our generation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe has introduced many ideas that revolutionized the Jewish world. When disseminating these teachings to the broader community, the Rebbe instructed his followers to transmit them in his name if it would be helpful, or not to use his name if that approach would be more effective. In other words, what was important to the Rebbe was that his ideas should be taught and implemented--not necessarily that he should receive personal credit.

The majority of those exposed to these ideas--including people who have made fundamental changes in their lives as a result--are not aware of their true source. They have taken root to such an extent that it is hard to imagine how the Jewish world would look without them.

These teachings are part of the inner dimension of the eternal Torah, which has been in our possession for the past 3,300 years, since the Torah was given on Sinai. Around 300 years ago, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov began to reveal the Torah's inner dimension, which is known as the teachings of Chassidut. These teachings are a foretaste of the "new" Torah that Moshiach will reveal. Moshiach's Torah, of course, is not a new Torah but rather a radically new interpretation of the Torah we have. Through studying the teachings of Chassidut, we prepare ourselves for the imminent arrival of Moshiach and hasten the day when these new teachings will be revealed.

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.

 

 


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