For the last 30 years of his life, Albert Einstein tried to come up with a Unified Field Theory, to combine the equations of Gravity and Electromagnetism. Unfortunately, he failed.
In 1984, two Jewish theoretical physicists – John Schwartz and Michael Green – succeeded in this endeavor, and developed a Unified Field Theory called String theory. String theory says that the basic building blocks of the Universe are tiny vibrating strings, and the theory originally said that they vibrate in 10 dimensions. In 1994 the theory was revised to say that the strings actually vibrate in 11 dimensions. We know that the physical world has 4 dimensions – width, height, depth, and time. But if there are a total of 11 dimensions, what are the other 7 dimensions?
If you asked a String theorist – and virtually all theoretical physicists agree with String theory – what the other 7 dimensions are, they would say that the math just says there are 7 other dimensions. We will look for clues about the other 7 dimension in the five books of Moses and other Jewish writings.
The book of Exodus describes the portable temple called the Mishkan. The inner room of the Mishkan has an ark with the 10 commandments. We will focus on the outer room of the Mishkan, and this outer room contains 3 objects. On the right is a table with loaves of bread that stayed fresh all week.
We suggest that the table – with its four sides and four corners – and with bread that fills our physical needs – represents the four physical dimensions. On the left of this outer room of the Mishkan, is a Menorah, with flames on the top of its 7 arms. We suggest that the 7 arms of the Menorah represent the 7 other dimensions of String theory. Between the table and the Menorah is an altar with spices that were burned giving off a beautiful aroma. Breathing in a beautiful Aroma is both physical and ethereal. The spices are made up of exactly 11 ingredients, and we suggest that they represent all 11 dimensions of String theory.
On Shabbat we emulate being in this entry room of the Mishkan. We eat delicious food at a table, illuminated by the light of candles. As we leave Shabbat and do Havdalah, we again emulate this environment. We drink wine representing the physical, we light a candle representing the ethereal, and we breathe in aromatic spices.
The question is: If the table represents the 4 physical dimensions, what are the other 7 dimensions that the Menorah represents? Kaballah – the mystical side of Judaism – says that there are 7 emotional worlds, called the 7 Spheros, and studying them might give us insight into the 7 other dimensions. The Talmud in the book called Chagigah, says that there are 7 heavens, and these might also relate to the 7 other dimensions.
In addition, there are other Biblical symbols that allude to this dichotomy between the physical and ethereal. When growing a field of grain – physical land with food for our physical needs – we must remember to care for the needs of the poor, and leave stalks of grain – that look like strings – in the corners of the field – for them to take, exhibiting the traits of generosity and caring.
The third paragraph of the Shema explicitly talks about the dichotomy between the physical and the ethereal. When we have a four cornered garment – representing the 4 corners of the physical world – we have to add strings to each corner. This paragraph of the Shema says that the strings represent the ethereal realm of our eyes and our heart – our consciousness and our emotions. It says that when we look at the strings, we are to remember the commandments so we are not led astray by the temptations of our eyes and heart.
We’d like to speculate about the 7 emotional dimensions, using the model of the Menorah. On the right are positive emotions, and on the left are negative emotions. On each side are outward, middle, and inward emotions. Examples of positive emotions might be friendship, acceptance, and confidence. Examples of negative emotions might be anger, worry, and depression. The central arm of the Menorah might represent the sublime, similar to Shabbat the 7th day of the week, and the blue thread attached to the strings at the 4 corners of a garment.
To summarize, string theory says that there are 11 dimensions. We know of 4 physical dimensions, and there are in addition 7 other dimensions. We are suggesting that the table in the Mishkan, the field of grain, and the four cornered garment – represent the 4 physical dimensions. On the other hand, the Menorah in the Mishkan, the stalks of grain in the corners of the field, and the strings at the corners of the 4 cornered garment represent the other 7 dimensions. The Shema suggests that these other 7 dimensions involve our eyes and our heart – our consciousness and emotions.