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Parsha Mitzvot: Tetzaveh: Magnetic Shift

Every 200,000 years were so, the Earth’s poles trade places. Typically it takes several thousand years. But when geologists Scott Bogue of Occidental College and Jonathan Glen of the US geological survey examined 15 million-year-old Nevada lava, they found evidence that the planet’s magnetic field shifted several top thousand times faster than normal at least once.

When lava cools, it locks away a record of the Earth’s magnetic field. Examining glob was that cold and two consecutive years, Bogue and Glen found the field swung 53° from East to North, about 1° a week. They thought they had erred, but more detailed tests confirm the pattern, which they announced in September 2010. The only other evidence for rapid field change comes from Oregon lava analyzed in 1985.

Bogue thinks the quick shift took place near the end of a millennia long polarity reversal, when a slow magnetic drift accelerated dramatically for reasons unexplained. “I suspect it’s a very herky-jerky unsteady process,” he says.

Further study could help geologists understand the turbulent motion of the Earth’s liquid core, which generates the magnetic field and may initiate its flips.

I suspect that the 12 stones on the breastplate of the Cohen Gadol, the high priest, represented 12 different magnetic points. They allow for constant movement of the magnetic shift. They allow each of the 12 tribes to be at the source, the Magnetic Point of the spiritual workings of the universe, at different times.

The two stones on the high priest shoulders, the “Avnei Shoham,” each with the names of six tribes engraved on them, allow a different sort of magnetic shift, that between one half of Israel and the other.

The Cohen Gadol, in order to properly represent all the people, had to experience each Tribe as the Magnetic Point of Israel. He could not be fixed in his perceptions, in a single unmoving place. His inner compass had to adjust to each Tribe as the focal point of the nation.

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