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Come to the Water
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

The sun shines only by day, and the wind does not always blow--so solar or wind power are not necessarily a steady, reliable source of energy. The water in the ocean, however, flows constantly. Therefore, many energy experts argue that the true solution to the energy crisis is found in the seas--an unlimited source of cheap, clean energy.

Equipment designed to harvest energy from ocean waves and from high and low tides are being developed all the time. Such mechanisms will be especially effective in desert areas close to the sea. Energy plants can be erected near the water, and the energy produced can be used to desalinize the water. This process could be especially useful in Western Australia, an area of the world that has been hard-hit by global climate change. The dams and aquifers now have only a quarter of the flow of fresh water that they had a decade ago.

The global shortage of fresh water will not last for long, apparently. In the Torah and sayings of our sages, we read that in the time of Redemption there will be a period of abundance of fresh water. Water will flow even from the Holy of Holies in the Temple, as the prophet Joel writes (4:18).

The intense flow of physical water will be parallel to a spiritual abundance that will flow to the world. As the prophet Isaiah writes, (11:9), “The world will be filled with knowledge of Hashem, like waters cover the sea."

What is the parallel to the current shortage of fresh drinking water? In our era, moments before the Redemption, there is a spiritual drought, described by the prophet Amos (8:11): “Days are coming, says the L-rd, that I will send a famine in the land. Not a famine for bread and not a thirst for water, but to hear the words of G-d.” The spiritual thirst that many are experiencing today is a direct parallel to the lack of fresh water and the creeping desertification presently occurring in many areas of the world.       

The best way to deal with the problem is as described by the prophet Isaiah: “May all those who are thirsty go to the water.” The commentaries explain, “There is no water except for Torah.” The spiritual thirst will be satisfied by Torah study. This, in turn, will hasten the final Redemption, when there will be an abundant flow of water, both physical and spiritual.

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



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