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There was a time when

that code was the

property of a recondite
inner circle. By now,
were interfacing with
huge chunks of core
Printed from chabad.org
By Tzvi Freeman
We need to learn from the hackers. Especially the criminal onesand plenty of the most nefarious,
criminal acts today are hacks.
We need to learn from everyone. Like the Mishnah says, Wanna know whos really wise? The guy who
can learn something from anybody!
The Baal Shem Tov took that all the way. He taught that the darkest corners of the human soul must be
mined for the sparks of the divine that are buried there. True to form, Zusia of Anipoli listed seven vital
lessons he learned from a thief.
So, it makes sense that I should want to learn from the hackers. Because I need to become one. We all
do. Because our destiny, and the destiny of all humanity, depends upon it.
What do we need to hack? We need to hack the cosmic code. Its held securely behind a firewall in a
multilayer encryption scheme that has defied the collaborative brainpower of all human beings that have
ever lived. But were going to crack it. Soon.
Look at the progress weve made. Not just scientific progressthanks to cosmic hackers such as
Newton, Maxwell, Einstein and others who exposed an underlying unity behind the cosmos. But even
more crucial, the code behind human consciousness and its interface with the unified consciousness
that drives the entire cosmos. We need a commented, open-source version of the code that gets that
consciousness continually re-emerging into existence, with an API to tap into it. We need it public.
There was a time when that code was the property of a recondite inner circle, who cloaked their wisdom
in riddles and layered metaphor. Look, they had a concern: They tuned into that stuff with the wisdom of
their hyper-receptive souls. But the guy off the street might believe he had grasped that which was not
yet within the grasp of the meat-based human psyche. Which happened sometimes, with disastrous
results. So it had to stay within an exclusive elite.
Yet, as the cosmos entered its sixth phase, the hacking
accelerated. By now, were interfacing with huge chunks of core
data. Knowledge that would blow the minds of the early
Kabbalists. Its in our hands.
Almost. Because it wont be truly in our hands until it is all
flattened out. And thats where todays hackers come in.
Ive got to explain what I just said. But to do that, I need to let you
in on the history of the cosmic hackers. At least the basics.
Hackers of the Cosmic Code
The people cannot deal
with the raw code,
lamented Shem. They
demand visible icons
and tangible widgets
with which they can
Cracking the Sumerian Code
Abraham was the first hacker. He saw through the cosmic faade, the consistent parameters, standard
features, ubiquity of pattern, and it hit him: Theres gotta be an algorithm beneath this, and behind the
algorithm theres gotta be a Programmer/Administrator who wrote that algorithm and stands behind it.
Abrahams first target was the ancient Sumerian priestly IT cult. Their elite set of abbreviations and
techno-lingo, impervious encryption schemes and multiple layers of user restrictions were a virtual
stranglehold on the flow of data. Abraham quickly exposed their shamonly to discover that the data
they held was itself corrupt. The truths they were hiding had been long forgotten even by those who
were hiding it. Abraham knew he had to find the original code and crack it.
Finally, he discovered the exiled high priest, Shem, the son of
Noah. Shem gave him a peek at some of that core code for
which he had been searching. I can imagine Abrahams reaction,
the reaction of a true hacker. You knew all this all along, he
exclaimed, all that I had to figure out on my ownand so much
more! And you held it for yourself!
The people cannot deal with the raw code, lamented Shem.
They are mesmerized by the program, incapable of seeing beyond the very surface of the graphic user
interface. They demand visible icons and tangible widgets with which they can interact. They seek to
reside within a world of consistent metaphor, and allow themselves to believe that the metaphor itself is
the base realityas though the multiple voices that respond to their requests are those of sentient
beings acting on their own volition, and messages actually make swish sounds because they are moving
so fast. We know more, we see the singularity that lies beneath it all, the program and the Programmer
within, and how the Programmer and His program are one. They feel they cannot handle this, and the
admins are fearful lest they tamper with the code, drain the resources of customer support, and bring
down the System.
But Abraham was neither convinced nor dissuaded. He persisted in smashing those icons, defying those
priests of esoteric information, and declaring to the world, There is a Programmer behind the System!
There is a oneness that unifies all this code, an exquisite elegance of purpose and meaning! The
Programmer is the Administrator! He is the User, He is the Code and He is the Author of the Codeand
He is accessible! The code is within our grasp! It belongs to each one of us. Come, let us hack
Deep Hacking
Abraham succeeded, for a time. But when his descendants went down to Egypt land, they were
swallowed into the most entrenched IT fortress on earth.
Moses greatest
achievement was the
biggest hack in history.
Egypt was all about power protocols. Pyramids. Centralized data. Hyper-encryption. Lockdown.
Pharaoh and his staff made the cult of Ur look like chocolate cake. He and his technobureaucrats held
the private key to the secret knowledge locked behind a sealed lead wall, encrypted and encoded in
glyphs that only the initiated could hope to decipher. Their subordinates knew only what they needed to
know. The masses at the base of the pyramid wallowed in illiterate ignorancejust as Pharaoh wanted
them to be. Because Pharaoh knew that knowledge is power. And the last thing he wanted was power to
the people.
Moses had an advantage: He had grown up in Pharaohs palace. Who knows, perhaps there he was
privy to keys to their secret knowledge. At the same time, from his father, Amram, he received the pure
knowledge of a single Programmer/Admin passed down from Abraham.
Then came the day that Moses received instructions from the Cosmic Programmer Himself. But Pharaoh
denied that the Programmer continued to act as Administrator and User. At times, He even claimed that
he had written the code himself, and so it was in his hands to manipulate as he pleased.
Thats why, in Egypt, it wasnt enough to announce there is a Programmer. Moses had to demonstrate
user events and system interrupts. Major, invasive events and interrupts that only a high-level
Administrator who had access to the core parameters of the System could perform. In other words,
events straight from the Programmer Himself. And sure enough, these events wreaked havoc
throughout the entire System, bringing it to the brink of total collapse.
But that was only an introduction. Moses greatest achievement was the biggest hack in history.
Distributed Processing
Moses had already pierced the heavenly firewall and glimpsed
into the cosmic microcode. But, for him, that didnt feel right. It
meant he had knowledge that others could not access. To
Moses, knowledge was freedom, and freedom was his lifes
mission. If people were to be free, knowledge had to be liberated.
Moses had the Cosmic Programmer on his side. At Sinai, the initial plan was that Gd would interface
with Moses, and the user-client base (a.k.a. the people) would audit the event. But these were the
children of Abraham and students of Moses. They demanded, We want to see our Programmer and
hear from Him directly!
That was just what Moses wanted to hear. Moses didnt want to be just another of those prophets who
peeks behind the firewall and then tells everyone else what he just saw. Everyone had to share his
experience. Everyone had to interface directly with the Programmer/Admin, as he had. Without that, he
had not achieved his goal.
Yes, knowledge is
power, and so the more
distributed the dataand
the data processingthe
more stable the power
The response from the Programmer Himself was immediate and positive. Until that point, the
Programmer had never directly entered into the System. Just to get a small parameter adjustment, the
sentient beings had to transcend their world. Now, that protocol was to be broken. Everything, the
entirety of the cosmic code, would be exposed to all the people, as the Programmer Himself entered
within the world that He sustained.
It was a mind-blowing achievement. And, for that very reason, of limited success. Moses had greatly
overestimated the capacity of the human psyche with which he was dealing. After two massive surges of
raw databeginning with the base code that set the parameters for all thingsthe peoples brains were
fried. Whether he liked it or not, Moses ended up as the middleman.
Nevertheless, he continued in what could only be called a reckless path of data for the people. It was
unprecedented. Nobody had imagined running a nation this way, and nobody would again for thousands
of years. In the Moses/Gd partnership view of things, everyone had to be literate. Everyone had to not
only access all available code, but teach it to others, as well.
Perhaps the most radical release of the Five Books of Moses series was the Book of Leviticusthe
ultimate in-your-face spurning of the priestly caste of Egypt. For the Children of Israel, things were going
to be way different. All the priestly rites, all their laws of ritual purity and impurity, the Temple offerings
everything was there in black and parchment for any five-year-old kid to see.
Moses didnt stop at distributing data alone. He personally sat
and taught the people to process that data, to extract knowledge
from the raw code and create new functions and applications
from them. Yes, knowledge is power, and so the more distributed
the dataand the data processingthe more stable the power
Yet, with all this, the pyramid protocol was not entirely flattened. The interface between the people and
the Programmer had failed multiple times. Which meant that the ultimate source had not yet been
tapped. Moses knew that. He knew that if, and only if, he could connect the people directly with the inner
mind of the Programmer, only then could he truly transform their world. He knew that the Programmer
had to be found within the minds and hearts of each of His creations. The interface was there, but it had
to become transparent.
What was missing from Moses great hack? Information. Data is not information. To make data into
information, you need a grasp of the function that data serves. Why werent the reasons for the Torah
revealed? ask the sages of the Talmud.
Why? Because thats something that cant be revealed top-
down. That can only be discovered by hacking from the bottom up. The people had to discover it for
Which is what the next 3300 years were all about.
. . . in essence, we are all
hackers, and in that
hacking lies our
fulfillment and our
Where We Are Now
As all cosmic hackers know, the System has six phases. Abraham appeared at the dawn of the third
phase, and Moses was active at its apex. We are currently in the last quarter of the sixth phase.
It was when this final phase began that the protocol began its flattening, moving towards what we could
call open-source. It was one-third of the way through the phase that the Holy Ari revealed the inner
secrets of the code. It was at the halfway point that the Baal Shem Tov began to distribute those inner
secrets to the masses. Within fifty years, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi had released a lucid interface
with the divine for the mainstream market. And at noon of the sixth phase, the distribution apparatus
became widely available for download, as the System was primed for its ultimate fulfillment.
The information is there. Whats left for us is to upgrade that
interface, to get it out there, and to convince the world that in
essence we are all hackers, and in that hacking lies our
fulfillment and our destiny.
Thats what I meant by flattened: When the everyday world of
every Joe, Jing, Akhbar and Mariyasha off the street becomes a
transparent interface with the Programmer/Administrator/User of the System, only then will we know that
weve got to the core of reality.
Time is running out. By the end of the sixth phase, the System is in for a total revamping. Before that
happens, we need to get the current System running the way it was meant to run. The liberation of all
humanity depends upon us.
So, weve all got to learn from the hackers. And here are seven things I learned:
1. The hacker does all he can to remain anonymous. Hes not after notoriety, hes after success.
2. The hacker gives it his all, without any expectation of compensation.
3. The hacker shares knowledge and collaborates with others, knowing that this way everyone gains.
4. The hacker sees vividly in the code all that can emerge from it.
5. Invertedly, the hacker sees deep beneath the artifacts that appear on the screen, into the raw
machine code from which they emerge.
6. The hacker works tirelessly, with little regard for his personal safety.
7. Tzvi Freeman is not as smart as Zusia of Anipoli. (He got seven; I got six.)
I want you to pay special attention to #4 and #5. Those are crucial. Before you go, lemme quickly
The hacker scrolls through a screen of 0s and 1s, but he doesnt see binary 0s and 1s. He sees the
instructions those binaries are feeding the CPU, and how those instructions build as functions,
commands, objectsa living program emerging out of nothingness.
So, too, the cosmic hacker. He studies the work of his teachers: brilliant, hypersubtle metaphor built
upon generations of accumulated knowledge. But he sees way past the metaphor, into the light it
contains, and how that light becomes the world in which he lives. And thats what he distributes.
If he doesnt find the relevance, and he distributes irrelevant data, hes not just a bad hacker; hes a
criminal. Thats what makes criminal hacking so nefariousthey are providing people with data that
doesnt belong in their lives. It belongs to someone else, in another place, at another time. But not here
now. And thats a criminal cosmic hacker, as well: someone who puts out data about angels and higher
worlds just because its cool stuff and he gets off on it.
There was a Jew who wrote to Rabbi Yosef Yitzchaak, the sixth rebbe of Chabad, and asked him to
explain something about certain angels mentioned in Kabbalah. The rabbi wrote back, saying that he
would not answer this question, because it has nothing to do with the job your particular soul was given
in this world.
But theres an awful lot thats very relevant to the job our souls are given in this world. Crucial data. And
that belongs rightfully to us. So we all need to be hackers to access that data, make it relevant, and
apply it.
Thats #4. In #5, the hacker sees the reversethe algorithm within the program. The cosmic hacker
does the same: He looks out there at the world in which he lives, and within which all those around him
live, and he doesnt see just rocks and trees and sky and concrete and steel and emotions and
personalities and stuff-that-just-happens. He sees code, deep code. Well-commented code, revealing
the structure and purpose of every function, command, behavior and object. He sees the Programmer
Himself within His program.
Why? Because it matters to him. Because, like Abraham, like Moses, this is his entire being. And when it
matters to you, you get it, all of it.
Thats how he hacks. Thats what he communicates to others. Look, if hes going to tell the public,
Theres a World of Emanation, a World of Creation . . . ten sefirot, five partzufim . . .he might as well
stay in his cave with Shem, son of Noah. Crack the code. Tell us what it means. Tell us what it means to
us, and why we should care. Make it real.
Thats a hacker. And some of the most heroic acts of history, the greatest acts of liberation, were hacks.
Inspired by a talk of the Rebbe on Shevat 10, 5743 (January 24, 1983).
1. See, for example, Exodus Rabbah 15:27.
2. See Rashi to Exodus 19:9.
3. Sanhedrin 21b.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi
team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular
updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription.
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