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Holy Hackers

Dr. Yair Sharan is the director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Technology Analysis and Forecasting (ICTAF) at Tel Aviv University. During a recent international conference on computer security, Sharan spoke about the inherent difficulties of securing computer data. In his opinion, all privacy will be lost in the future. It will be impossible to completely safeguard any personal data stored on any computer system, because hackers will be able to break through whatever security wall experts can devise. He referred to a time when all barriers will be broken through and nothing will be hidden.

Sharan analyzed the various methods of data security and pointed out how each of them in turn could be cracked. In recent months we have seen how the computer systems of major corporations have been breached – for example, Lockheed-Martin, El Al and Intel. In some cases the break-ins were accomplished by casual hackers.

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A vision of the future – in which there will be no secrets, and a flood of revelation accessible to anyone – is not strange to those familiar with traditional Jewish teachings. The holy writings describe a time when all boundaries will be breached, and even the most securely kept secrets will become public domain. The most hidden information will be made public, but this will not be a time of chaos and travesty. On the contrary: It will usher in an era of unprecedented freedom. This is one of the prophecies of the future Redemption, as the prophet Isaiah states: “And the earth will be filled with knowledge of G-d, as waters cover the oceans.”

The concept of bursting of boundaries is so integral to the concept of Redemption that Moshiach himself is referred to as “Haporetz” – the one who bursts forth. Moshiach will be a descendent of Peretz, the son of Judah, who famously received his name by “bursting forth” from the womb ahead of his twin brother Zorach, whose hand had emerged first.

The process of “bursting boundaries” associated with Moshiach’s coming has been likened to labor and birth. The labor pains intensify and reach a peak, at which point the baby bursts forth from the womb and is delivered. Similarly, during exile our suffering intensifies until the moment that Moshiach is revealed, which puts an abrupt end to the pain. The child who was hidden in the womb becomes revealed, and the suffering and pain become transformed into deep joy.

It is safe to say that we are now in the midst of the birthing process. Very soon – long before the time projected by Dr. Sharan – Moshiach’s identity will be revealed for all the world to see, and from that point on there will be no secrets. G-d will emerge from the shadows in which He concealed Himself, and we will all have access to the most sublime of G-dly revelations. In the meantime, we must all take an active part in the process by preparing ourselves for Moshiach, through performing acts of goodness and kindness and studying about the Redemption.

 

 


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