We spoke to Rabbi Yaakov Feitman about his new book, Blueprints. Here’s what he had to say about this unusual, groundbreaking book.
“A blueprint is used by an architect to design and plan a building project. Although, of course, Hashem did not need a blueprint, the Zohar teaches us that ‘Hashem looked into the Torah and created the world.’ This means that there is absolutely nothing in the world that is not explained by the Torah. I have always been fascinated by the myriad examples of this in our history and daily lives. If something is a part of our world, we can always find direction from the Torah for how to understand and even deal with it.
“The format, of pointing out a blueprint from the Torah and its application in real life, demonstrates how a Torah Jew can interface with the world around us. On the one hand, we need not accept secular interpretations about world events or scientific discoveries. We have a document — the Torah — that precedes them all. On the other hand, we need not ignore or escape from facts, figures, or occurrences. All we need to do is to look into our Torah. Of course, we cannot always do this for ourselves. Our gedolei Yisrael have always provided us with the applications of the Divine, from which we can derive the proper understanding of virtually anything that comes our way.
“Over the years, a process has emerged that entails identifying a ‘blueprint’ and discovering what we can learn from it on a practical level for our lives. I haven’t actually looked for these topics. They always find me. An article in a newspaper, the report of a scientific discovery, and many other human-interest events shout out to me, “This is a blueprint,” which turns into an article — and grew into a book.
“I must confess that each topic is as precious to me as a child, but if I had to choose, I love learning new things about the animal world and shining the brilliant light of the Torah upon each revelation. I hope that I have helped my readers to apply the Blueprint to the world and I would love to hear from them about their own applications.”