The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 

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Rav Kook

Rav Kook, chief rabbi of Palestine and of the gestating state of Israel, was avid for evolution, deeply engaged by the more-than-human world around him, completely fearless about embracing secular awareness of the holy that can be found in science. Such a contrast with much of Haredi Orthodoxy today. This was not 'Torah Umada'. This was 'Torah Hu Mada; Mada Hu Torah'. This page will highlight some quotes from Rav Kook's work about science, evolution, and exploration of the physical world, as I have time to include them. For starters here are two quotes included in the Paulist Press collection of Rav Kook's writings, translated by Ben Zion Bokser:

Evolution sheds light on all the ways of God. All existence evolves and ascends…Its ascent is general as it is in particulars. It ascends toward the height of the absolute good. Obviously the good and the comprehensive [whole] all go together. Existence is destined to reach a point when the whole will assimilate the good in all its constituted particulars…No particularity will remain outside, not a spark will be lost from the ensemble...The doctrine of evolution…has a greater affinity with the secret teachings of the Kabbalah than all other philosophies.
Orot Hakodesh 2, p.555
Contemplate the wonders of creation, the divine dimension of their being, not as a dim configuration that is presented to you from the distance but as the reality in which you live. Know yourself and your world.…[F]ind the source of your own life, and of the life beyond you, around you, the glorious splendor of the life in which you have your being. The love that is astir in you—raise it to its basic potency and its noblest beauty, extend it to all its dimensions, toward every manifestation of the soul that sustains the universe…
Orot Hakodesh 1, p.83

Torah Umada is the slogan of Yeshiva University and modern Orthodoxy: "Torah and Science". As often as not, it veers in the direction of "Torah or Science". Mada Hu Torah = "Science is Torah".



Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006