For Eduard Shyfrin, originator of the theory of the Kabbalah of Information, 5782 has been a year of learning and advancement, but it has also been coupled with sadness over the aggression against his native Ukraine.
In the past 20 years, he has been making up for lost time. In 2002, Shyfrin, a successful businessman then living in London, decided to change his personal lifestyle, and began an intense study of Jewish mysticism. He concluded that the ideas of Kabbalah echoed in modern science. Since then, he developed his unique perspective on the relationship between Kabbalah and science with his theory, known as the Kabbalah of Information. He has written a comprehensive book on the subject, penned a children’s book, and is the author of an ongoing series of articles on the Kabbalah of Information that regularly appear on the Jerusalem Post website.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post shortly before Rosh Hashanah, Shyfrin reviewed the past year in terms of his studies, his goals, and his plans for the coming year.
'It is important to show that, in fact, Kabbalah is deeply scientific'Eduard Shyfrin
How has the past year been for you?
It has been a year of joy and sorrow. I have continued my work on the Kabbalah of Information and have published 18 articles on the Jerusalem Post website. Most importantly, for the first time, I presented the results of my research at two major conferences.
The first, in June, was at the Global Philosophy of Religion Project Conference 2022, which took place at the University of Birmingham in the UK. The theme of the conference was “Death and Immortality.”
The second conference, the World Union of Jewish Studies, was held in August at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Participating in these conferences was a breakthrough for me. I consider it an important part of my job to make my teaching known to academics, philosophers, scientists and members of the general public in different ways.
This year, the Hebrew edition of my children’s book, Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind, became available in bookstores in Israel. The book is based on stories I told my grandchildren. It follows the adventures of young Aaron and Stella, siblings who are transported to the Land of the Mind, a fantasy kingdom based on mathematical principles and quantum physics.
The sales of my book From Infinity to Man – Basic Ideas of Kabbalah in Terms of Information Theory and Quantum Physics continued on Amazon for the fourth consecutive year.
Please explain – what is the Kabbalah of Information?
The Kabbalah of Information is based on the traditional concepts of Kabbalah as expressed in Sefer Yetzira, Sefer HaBahir, the Zohar, the works of R. Joseph Gikatila, R. Moses Cordovero, the Holy Ari, R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi and others. I reformulated it in light of the theory of information, developed by Claude Shannon in 1942, and the ideas of J.A. Wheeler, Manfred Eigen, R. Humming, J. Worrall, and others.
The main concepts of the Kabbalah of Information are: In the beginning, He (Almighty in His Essence) created information, and He didn’t create anything else. He just shaped and formed it. This is based on the famous interpretation of Nahmanides, who wrote, ‘In the beginning He created primordial matter, and He didn’t create anything else. He just shaped it and formed it.’
Information is the basic irreducible block of Creation. Everything is made of information. Creation is a multidimensional information space made of concepts and is governed by the laws of likeness, correspondence and hierarchy.
What are the goals of your work?
My goal is to explain the basic structure and the laws of Creation and provide insights as to how we should serve God with understanding. Many people have a misconception that Kabbalah, being a mystical teaching, is anti-scientific. After all, the word ‘mystical’ is translated from Latin as “anti-scientific or irrational.” It is important to show that, in fact, Kabbalah is deeply scientific.
It is also important to provide information about Kabbalah in a clear and understandable manner. The classical Kabbalistic works were written in a highly symbolic language, and there are many allegories and hints that make them incomprehensible to the modern reader. While many popular books have been published recently about Kabbalah, in my view most of them are primitive. The Kabbalah of Information combines theological and scientific terminology and is written in a language that is accessible to educated people.
What are your plans for the coming year?
Currently, I am writing an essay about the creation of the First Man, and I am preparing additional articles about the Kabbalah of Information and quantum physics. This winter, Prof. Robert Lawrence Kuhn – creator and host of Closer to Truth, the television series which presents scientists and philosophers discussing fundamental issues, such as cosmos, consciousness, philosophy and religion – will host me to speak about the Kabbalah of Information.
In this coming year, I am planning to compile my articles and essays into a new book about the Kabbalah of Information and science.
You come from Ukraine. What is your attitude toward the war?
For me, the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is a personal tragedy. I was born in Dnipro, a city in eastern Ukraine. My native language is Russian, and I also studied Ukrainian language and literature for 10 years.
In secondary school, I was a Physics Olympics champion in Ukraine. After graduation from the Moscow Steel and Alloys Institute, I worked for 10 years in the metallurgical mill in Zaporizhzhia and earned my PhD. I then worked in the metallurgical business in Ukraine for 25 years.
In 2005, my later father and I received the State Prize of Ukraine for the publication of the first metallurgical textbook in the Ukrainian language. To me, Mariupol, Zaporizhzhia, Kryvyi Rih are not just the names on the map.
They are an inseparable part of my life. I’ll never accept the fact that bombs and rockets are falling on the heads of my compatriots in Ukraine just because they want to live in their own country.
I’ve never shared anti-Russian or anti-Ukrainian ideology. There are many issues between Russia and Ukraine. Some originate from the distant past, while others are the products of recent history. They must be resolved, but not through war.
I have family in Ukraine. In May 2022, my beloved mother, Evgenia Alexandrovska, passed away in Kyiv. I spoke to my mother via Zoom two days before she died. She told me: ‘When I was seven years old in 1942, I was in Stalingrad (my grandfather and grandmother were military doctors), and I saw Germans attacking our hospital. I saw the real war. Now I am 87, and I am seeing the war again.’
On the first day of the war, our family gave money to help evacuate the elderly and children from the Jewish community of Kyiv and have continued helping since.
I have nothing to do with politics, but I consider it my duty to condemn the aggression against Ukraine and, by doing it, to help make a better future for the world.
This article was written in cooperation with Eduard Shyfrin.