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Menorah Files, Light V: Outa Nowhere

Menorah Files, Light V: Outa Nowhere

The limits of unlimitedness

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OutaNowhere had learned their lesson from what had occurred with Quality. You could tell from their presentation.

“We’re not going to bore you with the technical details behind this tremendous feat of spiritual engineering,” continued the sales rep. “After all, we’re an end-user oriented company. We’ve put a lot of thought into the practical, nitty-gritty —the things that count in the physical world where our target user resides. Here’s our human interface expert to discuss ground level implementation.”

The HI expert stepped up before the 3D-video atrium.

“Actually, we’ve got two options to present,” he said. “You’ve seen a demo of option #1 already, but here’s a short animation that will demonstrate how far we’ve gone into the details.”

A life-size image of a Hasmonean Cohen holding a jug of olive oil in front of the Menorah had appeared. This being heaven, with more than 3 dimensions available, the image displayed that the jug was full.

“That’s the initial state. Now observe what happens as the Cohen fills the cups of the Menorah on the first day.”

As the Cohen filled each cup, the jug became successively emptier. But then, just before the last drop poured out, the flask suddenly refilled itself. The Cohen froze for a moment, puzzled, stared into the jug, and then ran out of the Holy Chamber yelling, “A MIRACLE! A MIRACLE!”

“Note,” the HI expert commented, “that as this scenario occurs each of the eight days, we have in effect eight separate miracles. This is in direct contradistinction to certain other solutions that offer only one miraculous state-change of the olive oil, which then remains consistent over the next eight days. Obviously, you can see the superiority of our...”

“You call that superiority!?” yelled a snide voice from the back of the room. It was the VP from Quality. All this time he had been sitting in a back row, arms folded, waiting for his chance to jump back into the ring. Now, completely out of protocol, unable to contain himself any longer, he grabbed it.

“Why, with your solution, the only ones who ever see a miracle are those who are there at the time of the lighting! After that, it’s just everyday burning of olive oil. Our solution provides any witness at any point in time, a clear view of a miraculous state, every day, at every moment!”

“But you must agree,” replied the OutaNowhere expert smugly, “that the actual miracle only occurs once in your solution. Once your oil is set to its high quality level on the first day, it just remains there. Here, every day, a miracle must occur for new oil to appear!”

“What does that have to do with the project requirements?” shot back Quality’s VP.

The ChairAngel called for order, chiding Quality’s VP for his disruption of protocol. The HI expert, however, was delighted his competition had provided the opportunity for him to fully present his leading edge.

“The success of a miracle,” he explained, “must be measured by the end user experience. Consider here the impact upon the human psyche. A continuous state of miracle would become accepted as natural routine within a single day. The sense of wonderment would rapidly wear out. By calling for spaced, intermittent miracles, we hope to sustain the wonderment factor for a much longer period. This, after a careful study of human psychology…”

“Psychology shmykology!” shot back the Quality VP. “Who are you kidding? What do you know about human psychology? What do any of us know? We’re angels, for heaven’s sake!”

“That’s right,” replied the expert. “We were on the design team.”

“Design team!? Design team!?” mocked the VP. “Haven’t you read the Adam Files?! If it were up to us, the Earthly Human Project would never have gotten beyond the World of Emanation stage!!”

The judges were enjoying the entertainment, but the ChairAngel finally had to interfere. “We have a human subject right here,” he remarked. “Why don’t we ask him?”

Rabbi Karo was reluctant. “I believe your test would be more meaningful if performed on a more skeptical specimen,” he suggested. “Perhaps you have a Hellenist about somewhere? Or maybe even an authentic ancient Greek?”

Silence, but for a moment.

“Your honor,” ventured one of the lesser judges. “Perhaps we could call in the Sar Shel Yavan?”

The ChairAngel’s face glowed with delight, as did the faces of the others. “Yes!” they cried out, one to the other. “The Sar Shel Yavan! Who else could we call to test end user experience?”

In the data processing protocol of heaven, there are only seventy nations. Over each of these is appointed a sar, meaning an officer, somewhat lower than a full-fledged angel. “Yavan” is the name by which the ancient Greeks are known. Thus the “Sar Shel Yavan” —the officer appointed over ancient Greece.

He came hobbling on crutches, covered with wounds of war. His substance was as the walls of the chamber, that heavenly version of marble. You could still see the beauty and gracefulness for which he had been known, but military defeat and economic shame had taken its toll.

We won’t get into the details of the user testing, at least in this edition. Suffice it to mention that the Sar refused to acknowledge any miracles, attributing everything to natural causes. When pressured, he began to accuse all the heavenly court of being “no better than those superstitious Jews, believing in things that cannot be logically resolved, relying on empirical evidence rather than the truth of the natural sciences.”

At any rate, he stayed to audit the rest of the hearings.

“Truthfully,” the ChairAngel commented to Yosef Karo, “We’ve never had much success with end user experience. On occasion, we went through ten iterations of miracles before achieving our goals—and even then only with partial success.”

The other judges nodded, resignedly.

“We even,” the Chair Angel hesitated, “had to…drown the test subjects at the end of that procedure…to cover up the data.”

Yosef Karo took over. “All right then. So allow me to return to the scenario presented in this last detailed animation.”

The OutaNowhere expert was relieved, feeling he was back on a more solid cloud.

“On the first day, that is the afternoon of the 25th, a miracle occurs, correct?”

“A very startling miracle, your honor. At least, certainly to the Maccabees for whom it is performed.”

“And on the second day, the afternoon of the 26th, the same miracle?”

“That’s correct.”

“And so on, all the way until the eighth afternoon?”

“Precisely.”

“And then what happens?”

“On the ninth?”

“No, on the eighth. What miracle occurs on the eighth? Remember, there are eight days of Chanukah. Or are you proposing to change that?”

“Well, all could occur just the same as the seven days before. Oil mysteriously appears outanowhere, and…” The human interface expert passed a quick, nervous glance over to the other members of his team.

“I’m sorry,” countered the ChairAngel. “But we have a policy concerning such matters. Miracles must always serve a practical function. Nobody, not even Heaven Inc., is allowed to make miracles just for the heck of it. And in this case, since new oil will be arriving on the ninth day anyway, there is no need for your miracle on the eighth. The Cohen can just empty out his entire jug on the eighth day, with no need for your miraculous auto-refill out of nowhere.”

The sales rep from OutaNowhere was motioning wildly to the HI expert. All those dealings with earthly beings had dulled his angelic intellectual brilliance. Yet eventually the puzzled expression on the expert’s face resolved into glee, as he exclaimed, “Yes! Oh yes! That’s why we have solution #2. Here it goes:”

Another animation began. The initial state was the same, but this time, the jug emptied entirely—sans the auto-refill miracle. The animation collapsed the next 12 hours into a few nanoseconds, during which the oil progressively decreased in quantity. Then, just as it was down to its last drop, oil returned suddenly to the cups of the Menorah. A Hasmonean Cohen entered the Holy Chamber that morning —technically, day two of Chanukah —to prepare the Menorah as per Temple ritual. He looked in the cups, saw the oil and ran out waving his arms and yelling, “A MIRACLE! A MIRACLE!”

“Now, you’ll observe in this scenario,” concluded the expert, “since the miracle occurs the day after, instead of immediately, the miracle must also therefore occur on the 8th day of Chanukah, in order that the Menorah may be lit on that afternoon!”

“You’ll also notice,” pitched in the sales rep, “that we’ve provided all of you with auto-refilling coffee mugs to demonstrate this wonderful application of our technology. We’re not limited to refilling the source —we can even cause the recipient vessel to auto-refill!”

Yosef Karo sat poker-faced, astonished by the trap OutaNowhere had laid for itself.

His query came softly and innocently. “And what about the first day?”

“The first day?”

“Yes. You said the miracle doesn’t occur until the day after. What miracle do we celebrate on the first day then?”

The expert was by now searching his pockets for his Heavenly version of Prozac™. His team members were holding their heads in their wings, practically between their knees. The CEO of OutaNowhere sprung up in a last ditch attempt to save his company.

“Gentle Angels,” he said, feigning suave and good humor. “I’m sure you yourselves have realized the most obvious solution, so simple we didn’t even feel need to mention it!”

Action continues at Light VI: Miracle Whip

From Heaven Exposed by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman. For bio, info and more articles by this author, click here. To order Tzvi's books, click here.
Imagery by Natalia Kadish. Natalia is a surrealist artist inspired by the joy received from learning Torah and contemplating the infinite. See more of her art at NataliaKadish.com.
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