The Rambam concludes his Mishneh Torah with: “The occupation of the entire world [when the Messiah comes] will be solely to know G-d. Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their creator according to the full extent of human potential, as Isaiah 11:9 states: ‘The land will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.’”
This prophecy is coming to fruition before our eyes. Today, there are more full-time yeshiva students and kollel members than at any time in Jewish history! In the times of the Rishonim, yeshiva students numbered in the hundreds; in Europe before the war, they numbered in the thousands. But today, as Haaretz recently reported, there are over 100,000 full-time yeshiva students in Israel alone!
More sefarim are also being produced today than ever before. Just walk into any regular Torah library and you will find thousands of sefarim on any number of topics. Five hundred years ago, a well-stocked Torah library would have had a couple thousand sefarim – in total. Today, so many sefarim have been translated into various languages that a person doesn’t even need to know Hebrew to become a Torah scholar!
And then there is the accessibility of sefarim. Until the printing press was invented, every sefer had to be handwritten, so you can imagine how hard it was to come by a copy of any sefer. If there was one in your town, you were lucky.
Then came the printing press and sefarim could now be printed in abundance. Fast-forward to the computer age, and owning sefarim no longer was even necessary. First came digital Torah libraries and then websites where you can find thousands of hours of amazing classes, lectures, and articles.
Now let’s take our exploration of Yeshaya’s prophecy one step further. The navi prophesied that the land will be filled with knowledge of G-d. What’s the significance of the word “land”? Isn’t the point that people, not land, will be filled with divine knowledge?
We know that there are four levels of existence: domem, tzome’ach, chai, and medaber – inanimate objects, vegetation, animals, and human beings. At first, knowledge of Hashem – the Torah – was only stored in human brains. Then Hashem’s knowledge spread to the animal world as sefarim were written on parchment made from animal hides. Later yet, it spread to the world of vegetation as sefarim were printed in book form, consisting of paper, which comes from trees.
Now, finally, Torah has come to the world of inanimate objects – i.e., computers, which are made up of metal and plastic. And so the land – physical inanimate objects – is actually being filled with the knowledge of Hashem like the water covers the sea bed. Planet earth itself is becoming a massive library of divine knowledge!