September 22, 2009 3:37 pm at 3:37 pm #660422
“Smarter than the Rema, the Maharal, Aruch Hashulchan, Chasam Sofer, Rabbeinu Bachyai, the Alshich, the Radvaz, and the Chida combined?”
Probably smarter than none of them individually, certainly not smarter than all combined. But today we have access to information they did not have.
As an example, Rabbeinu Bachya in Chovot HaLevavot has a proof of the existence of God that involves severaly descriptions of the concept of infinity. Many centuries later, it was discovered that his description of the nature of infinity were not accurate. Today any good high school calculus student understands this material. Does that make thousands of high school calculus students smarter than Rabbeinu Bachya? Chas v’shalom! That proof is not necessary for the important spritual truths contained in that sefer.
The sceptics will use this to disparage everything from Rabbeinu Bachya and to disparage our sages in general. We must not allow this to go unanswered! But denying that our sages did not have access to all the modern information we have at our disposal today is not an valid argument.September 22, 2009 3:37 pm at 3:37 pm #660423
Smarter than any one of them.
It has nothing to do with being smart and everything to do with being around to see the evidence.
I see this from yeshiva people all the time – anytime you bring up the idea that X did not know Y, they take it to mean that you think that X is stupid (or less intelligent than modern people who do know Y). But that’s not the case — it’s simply that we, today, live in a society that has the infrastructure and knowledge base to know Y while X did not.
To give a simple example: Could Rashi have constructed an airplane? The answer, very simply, is no. And that’s not because Rashi was stupid — on the contrary, Rashi was extremely intelligent. But he lived in a society and a time where it would have been impossible for *anyone* to build an airplane. Rashi did not have access to the physics and engineering that we have today. If he lived today, could he have done so? Maybe — but we’ll never know for sure. But to say that he couldn’t do it is not to say that he was stupid or any less intelligent than today’s engineers.
Similarly, the chachamim that you mentioned, Joseph, did not have access to the scientific evidence that we have today regarding the age of the universe. That doesn’t make them “less intelligent” than Charlie – it just means that they went with whatever information and evidence that they had at the time – just as we do so with the evidence that we have today.
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #660424
Rashi, Devorim 17:11
Even if they tell you that right is left and that left is right (you should listen to the sages) certainly if they tell you right is right and left is left.September 22, 2009 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #660425
Shocked. Completely and utterly shocked.
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #660426
Joseph, I’m stunned.September 22, 2009 3:41 pm at 3:41 pm #660427
“Probably smarter than none of them individually”
Probably?!September 22, 2009 3:42 pm at 3:42 pm #660428
The “evidence” they had was the Torah.
Regarding charlie’s question about the pig, if after knowing all that the psak was its kosher, then kosher it is.
See the Rashi in Devorim 17:11 I quoted above.September 22, 2009 3:42 pm at 3:42 pm #660429
Is this going to turn into just another ugly fight?
Let’s try to stay on topic, or this thread will be closed.September 22, 2009 3:50 pm at 3:50 pm #660430
If someone tells me something is permissible and it isn’t, but I do it anyway, I’m over the aveirah, not the person who tells me it is permissible. *I* am responsible for my mitzvah observance. Other rishonim argued with Rashi on that comment, and I’ve seen Rabbi Hershel Schachter write that if was are certain that a rabbi is mistaken in his psak, we MUST not follow it. (Such situations would of course be very rare, and any rabbi would take very seriously any report of a frum Jew telling him that a kosher slaughterhouse was replacing cow with pig meat!)September 22, 2009 3:52 pm at 3:52 pm #660431
The “evidence” they had was the Torah.
Joseph, the Torah is NOT a science book. It’s a manual for how to live life.
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 3:54 pm at 3:54 pm #660432
cosmic background radiation, which proved beyond any doubt (1) the big bang, and (2) the ancient universe.
be careful what you swallow, even if its not from the carcass of a pig.
the meaning of the background radiation is well accepted today as indicating a big bang, as was newtons explanation of inertia and motion which anyone before einstein would have literally staked his life on, so rock solid absolute were the “proofs”.
and which has now been “proven” to be false. (it gives the illusion of being true in an approximate sense, within a range of parameters of time and space but everyone TODAY agrees it is in essence completely false)
they are having severe difficulties dealing with the heterogeneity of the cosmic background radiation, which is NOT as it should be according to the accepted theory, and are frequently trying out new twists on the theory to try to explain it, unsuccessfully so far.
a similar problem is the lack of homogeniousity of the cosmic matter (ie galaxies) which also does not fit with the big bang explanation. at one point “inflation” was invoked to explain away the problem, with no evidence whatsoever other than it allowed the theory to stand, or so they thought. then “double inflation” and eventually further “inflations” had to be invoked.
the old classic theory of spectrographic red shifting of stars of course proves beyond doubt that there was a big bang as the universe is clearly expanding. until it was discovered that the red shifts occur in a quantum manner not analog. they havent figured out what this means, but it is a big problem to say the least.
you also do not understand who the people are that Joseph mentioned. How could you?
can an ant understand why the secretary of state paid a visit to a particular foreign dignitary?
the Chovos Halavovos states that Gedolim like these see without eyes and hear without ears, and a large number of similar sayings throughout the Rishonim, Achronim, and Sefarim.
dont be fooled, Hashem’s World (Olam meaning HIDDEN, of course) has a complexity, hiddenness, secrets and illusions far beyond what our puny arrogant scientists can even begin to comprehend the existence of.
technology (the study of open, repeatable, measurable, reproducible events) is one thing. deep theory based on measurements with devices (the underlying rationale for is based on assumptions and suppositions) and the interpretation of is entirely based on other assumptions and suppositions is quite something else.September 22, 2009 3:55 pm at 3:55 pm #660433
Regarding the “evidence” for a young universe, that position is not specified directly from the Torah but from Seder Olam Rabbah; there are other sources from our mesorah that would permit an ancient universe. Rambam, Ramban, and especially Rabbi Avraham ben HaRambam all agree that there is no chiyuv to believe the literal truth of any particular midrash/aggadata. Rabbi Avraham’s position is very clear that on that is not the purpose of midrash/aggadata and this position is accepted as seen by the fact that his essay forms the preface to the Ein Yaakov.September 22, 2009 3:55 pm at 3:55 pm #660434
Whats the big deal? They’ll never anyways say a pig is kosher. Nothing here to get so excited about.September 22, 2009 4:01 pm at 4:01 pm #660435
Regarding answering scientists and those who have blind faith in them about the age of the world, first, just like the flaw in their “vestigial organ” logic, the entire concept of measuring the age of the world the way the scientsts do is based on the assuption that the world was not created by a Creator. But if you say that the world was created the way the Torah tells us it was, that is, a full-blown world, complete with starts visible in the sky, ful-grown trees and animals (and a human), a totally, fully developed and mature world, then their logic falls apart.
Because when the world was created, it already had an age. In other words, when Adam for instance was created, he was an adult, even though he was one day old; there were fully grown trees; the sun’s light already reached the earth; an entire world existed, full-blown and OLD. How old was the world at the moment it was created? I dont know — it doesnt say. But we do know that it didnt start from scratch. And so lets say a “scientist” would chop down a tree 1 week after it was created and find maybe 50 rings insude – would that prove that the tree was 50 years old? To the scientists it would, and the “tree ring” concept is used as one of their “proofs” that the world is over 6,000 years old. But the truth is it prove no such thing, becuase when the tree was created it was created as an adult, 50 year old tree.
So even if dating would be accurate, it still doesnt prove that the world was not created 6,000 years ago – because when it was created, it already could have been thousands or millions of quardrillions of years old.
That is the first thing to understand when dealing with the “true believers” of science. But even if they will come up with somethgin that cannot be explained by the above, there is a Torah principle that you must know that has been used long before any of today’s scientists orbttheir grandparents were born, that tells us that although the world was in fact created 6,000 years ago, we know that it possesses all and every characteristic of a world that is much, much older. The Torah actually expects scientific measurements of the age of the universe to return an age of much, much more than 6,000 years. And we have known this for centuries.
The Divrei Chaim does not tell us the location of the Yaaros Dvash. But the Divrei Yoel (Simchas Torah p.613) identifies it as being in 2 places: Vol. I, Drush 1 and Drush 15. There, it quotes a Medrash (Rabbah 10:4) that before the Sin of Adam the Mazalos operated much more rapidly. After the Sin, the Mazalos operated much slower and longer. With this Medrash, he explains the fact that we pasken that both the opinion that the world was created in Nisan, and the opinion that the world was created in Tishri, are true. Says the Yaaros Dvash: because the Mazalos operated much more rapidly before the Sin, between the time the Mazalos were created on the 4th day, and the time Adam was created, on the 6th day, the Mazalos had already run their course from Nisan to Tishri.
The mistake in their system is that they are not measuring the amount of time itself that occurred. They are identifying various events that already happened and are saying:
1) We measured the amount of time it would take this event to occur
2) And this event has already occurred
3) Therefore, the amount of time it would take to make it occur has already elapsed.
The flaw on that logic is that they only measured how much time it would take if those events would happen NOW, in the post-chet world. But since those events took place before the Chet, they took much less time, and so the occurrence of those events does not indicate the elapse of nearly as much time as the scientists think.
If they would find a way to measure time itself, meaning the amount of moments that transpired during the course of history, they would come up with 6,000 years.
Evolution, by definition, means “slow progress”, the opposite of revolution, which means sudden progress. When did this “evolution” supposedly occur?
Besides, there is no viable evidence for evolution. The evidence is evidence only assuming there is no Creator. All the similarities between us and monkeys are, to us, meaningless, because theres no reason to assume that one Creator did not create many of His creations with similar physicality. But if you assume there is no creator, then the quesiton arises: how do you explain the similarities between us and lower species? And besides — how in the world did such complex “animals” such as humans get here anyway? There are two options” fast or slow. Fast makes no sense if there is no creator. And the whole vestigial thing makes no sense also, as you noticed.
The Torah says the world was created in 6 days. And that Rashi says explicitly that when the Torah says Vayehi Erev Vayehi Voker Yom Echad it means 24 hours.
The 6 days of creation were in fact 24 hours. How could they not be? Aren’t days 24 hours now? So when did this change? Where does it indicate in the slightest that the first Sunday after creation (or the first Shabbos?) was suddenly shorter than previous days??
On the contrary – it’s clear that on the fourth day Hashem said the sun should shine during the time-period that was called “day” and the stars/darkness should rule during the time-period called “night”. Since then, that hasnt changed, and obvisouly, as we can see today, the sun and the stars have decided that the time period called day plus the time period called night, are 24 hours.
The Gemora says this expicitly. It describes 10 things that were created on the first day of creation, one of which is the “length of the day and night” – as it says, “vayehi erev vayehi voke yom echad”. So the time span of the day was created on the first day of creation. And, as Rashi states, it means “[the day and night together] – i.e. 24 hours between them”.
G-d does not leave “room for doubt” in the sense that there is something for an objective person to doubt, when it comes to the existence of a Creator. All it means is that we have Bechirah to deny or to dount even though our denial or doubt make no sense.
It’s a simple as a judge presiding over an open-and-shut case where the defendent is guilty. Open and shut, nothing to discuss. But the defendent is the judge’s own brother. The question is, will he say the truth or deny the truth – either to himself or to the public.
Same with our Emunah. The existnece hashem is na open-and-shut case. But all the Yezter Horahs in the world tell us to deny it, in order to throw off all our restrictions. The question is, will we fool ourselves.
The Ran says that the reason the aseres hadibros starts with Anochi Hashem, as opposed to “Thou shalt believe in me”, is because they certianly did believe before kabbalas hatorah, because anybody who is not an idiot (or willing to fool himself into being one) surely believes, since G-d’s existnce is so obvious. So it was meaningless for Hashem to tell them “thou shalt bleieve”. Instead, He introduced Himslef, as if to say “The G-d that you believe in — I am He!” Anochi hashem. And the Mitzvah of Emunah is therefore to believe not that G-d exists, since that’s simplicity – but to believe that the G-d that surely exists is the entity that took us our of Egypt and gave us the Torah — to bleieve that “I”. i.e. the One talking to us on Har Sinai, is in fact the G-d that we all know must exist.
And no, I dont believe that people would find plenty of “scientific proofs” that there is no Hashem. I say that because they havent done so before or after evolution, since the idea of Kadmus Haolam, which has been logically disproven long ago.
It’s simple math: the world is either accident or intelligence. If you want to be an atheist, your choice is accident.
If accident. it was either at once or in stages. But that such a highly developed world can accidently all come at once , like “boom!” theres people, males, females. food, water, air, sunlight etc” all suddenly and at the same time is currently inexplicable.
That leaves graduality, which means evolution.
The exact mechanism whereby the graduality supposedly took place – survival of the fittest, sudden mutation, etc – is where the theories come in. But if youre goign to be an atheist, youre goign to have to find some way to validate evolution, because until they find somethgin else, evolution is the only way to explain a G-dless world. Thats why its worth spending our time showing what nonsense evolution is, because today, thats all the atheists have to hang their hats on. Once thats not an option, there is nothing left for them.
And if they come up with some other silly idea, that too, will be worth spending our time to expose. But right now, this is all they have. And it is nothing.
(reposted from elsewhere)September 22, 2009 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm #660436
Rambam Hilchos Korbonos 13:13
??? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ?? ??????–??? ??? ??? ??????, ??? ?????? ??????. ????: ???? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ????, ???? ??? ?? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????, ????? ???? ??????, ???? ???? ?? ???? ????? ????? ???? ???, ?? ?? ?? ??? ?????–??? ?? ????? ???? ???? ????? ?? ??????, ????? ????? ?????? ??????? ?? ????.September 22, 2009 4:03 pm at 4:03 pm #660437
Rashi says explicitly each day of creation was 24 hours. See as well the Divrei Chaim (Chanuka p.45 col. 4) quoted above.
The Gemora says this expicitly. It describes 10 things that were created on the first day of creation, one of which is the “length of the day and night” – as it says, “vayehi erev vayehi voke yom echad”. So the time span of the day was created on the first day of creation. And, as Rashi states, it means “[the day and night together] – i.e. 24 hours between them”.September 22, 2009 4:04 pm at 4:04 pm #660438
Torah is to the natural world what a bluprint is to its edifice, or what DNA is to an organism. Histakel B’Oraysa Ubara Alma – Hashem looked inot the Torah, and created the world as a relfection of it. This happened because the very reason – the only reason – the world was created in the first place was as a tool to fulfill the Torah. How can you fulfill the Mitzvah of Pri Etz Hadar without an Esrog tree? How can you fulfill the MItzvah of Kibud Av Va’em if you dont have parents? How can you make Kiddush Friday night without such things as night, or wine, or words?
Those are easy examples. But Hashem does nothing without a reaosn, and creates nothing witout a reason. And if Hashem created it, it has one reaosn and one reaosn only: to facilitate the fulfillment of the Torah. Because without that reason, the world whad no reaosn to exist.
So everything in the world – every little detail, every little subatomic particle, every litttle spec of space dust – is here to somehow faciliatate the fulfillment of the Toah. Just as every part of a car is to faciliatate the comfortable and efficent transportation of humans from one place to another, so too every part of the world is to faciliatate the transportaiton of humans to Gan Eden by way of Kiyum HaTorah.
But a differnece between a car and the Torah is, whereas there may have been several possible version of how to make a car, and several possible alternatives to the actual car that was created that would have facilitated juts s well the goal of transporting people form on place to another- differnet typoes of cars, trucks, planes, bicycles, etc – there was only ONE possible way to facilitate the goal of getitng people into Gan Eden, and that was by creating this particular world. No other world, not even in te slightest detail, would have done the job.
Just as the Torah is infinitely precise in its details, so does the natural world reflect the infinite precision of the Torah. WHen Hashem created an Esrog, which shaken in the proper manner, would connect the shaker’s soul to Hashem Himself in the particular way that the speciifc Mitzvah of velkachtem lachem pri etz hadar does, He created the Esrog, the jointsand limbs of the person shaking it, the water and soil and sunlight and gasses that the Esrog consolidates, the mind and body of the perosn shaking the esrog, the circumstances surrounding the buying of the esrog – its value, its purchase price, the precise difficulty invovled in obtaining it, — every single factor that comprises the act of the mitzvah, its nisyonos, and its ramifications — were created with infinite precison, down to the sub atomic level in order to best produce the desired effect.
Because the world itself – the entire universe – is desgined to be the place where, when Moshiach comes, the spiritual energey that was emitted upon the performance of the Mitzvos, combined with Hashem’s revelaiton of His Oneness, matures into the spiritual environment Olam Habah, which is en enternal conneciton betwen the Mitzvah-doers and Hashem Himlsef, the entire world, every molecule and sub atomic element it consists of, every single segment of time and space itself, every sub-sub-sub atomic component of every single square micro-inch of the entire universe, was created in a way that it will fulfill its spiritual purpose – of untimately onnecting humans to Hashem through its being used bu humans to be turned into a connection between the human body-and-soul, and Hashem.
That was the only single solitary idea that Hashem had in mind when creaitng the world. That was the only single solitary reason the world was made. ANd just as Hashem is one, and the Torah is one, and could not e any other way, the world, in order to fulfill its purpose as becoming the connection to Hashem was created in the only way it could have been, using the Torah as its blurprint, as its DNA. ANd that mean not only the physical shell of the world, but every single nuance of every single sub-atomic detail of the wordl, was created using the Torah as its bluepirnt. The Torah and nothign else is what the world reflects, on aninfinitely sublime level.
This is why the Rambam states (Yesodei Hatorah 2:2) that the natural world contains “wisdom that has no measure and no end”. Because juts as the Torah has infinite wosdom, so does the world, which is a reflection of it.
The calculations and details that went into this world are bottomless. And its nature reflects the nature of the Torah itself; is details reflect the details of the Torah, in the same way that the details of the organizsm reflect the details of the DNA molecule.
So far we know that nature and Torah relate in that the Torah actually dictates what goes on in nature – histakel b’oraisa ubarah almah – just as the blueprint of a building decides how the building will be built, the Torah, in the same sense, decided how nature works. And just as the DNA controls the structure and makeup of the organizsm, so too it is the Torah the controls the structure and makeup of the world. There is not a single spec of the natural universe that is not ruled and determined by the Torah. As Rabbeinu Bachyai writes in the Introduction to Chumash, all wisdom and science in existence is contained in the Torah.
And the opposite is true as well – the Avos knew and fulfilled the entire Torah even though it had not yet been revealed by Hashem. Avorohom Avinu made and donned a pair of Tefillin. Now there are maybe 10 or so Halachos L’Moshe Misinai invovled in making a pair of tefillin. How did Avrohom Avinu know how to make a pair of Tefillin?
The answer is that Hashem looked inot the Torah and bsaed on it, decophered nature; Avrohom re-performed that process the other way: He looked inot the Tevah, the natural universe, and decphered the principles upon which it was based, the reasons wy it was created in precisely the way it was, and, with preision accuracy, the details of that Torah which is reflected in nature. He looked, for instance, at his own body, and he deciphered from his 248 limbs and his 365 sinews, the 248 Mitzvos aseh and the 365 mitzvos lo saaseh. He deciphered the Torah by studying its reflection – the universe – the same way a skilled architect can decipher the blueprint of a building by studying the building.
So he made a pair of Tefillin.
Nature is created by, from, and as a reflection of Torah. Nature follows Torah law, not vice-versa. And although nature, on the surface, follows surface-level physical laws, on a deeper level, on the deepest, deepest level of science, all of nature, all of the universe, follows a system of laws that are designed to facilitate the purpose of Creation, namely, its enetual maturation, nurtured by the study of Torah and performance of Mitzvos by the Jewish nation, into a spiritual entity known as Olam Habah.
In a nutshell, those Laws of Nature are simply a reflection of the Laws of the Torah itself. When the physical universe, which is a reflection of Torah, is nurtured by the Torah-acts of the Am Segulah, it becomes a vessel for the conneciton of the souls and bodies of the Am Segulah to the Creator of the Torah.
That is the cosmology of the world in a nutshell.
So the natural world and the Torah are inexorably connected. The Torah is the blueprint of the natural world, and the natural world is a reflection of the Torah. Avrohom, Avinu, or someone on his level, could look into nature and discover how to make a pair of Tefiillin; and Chazal were able to loo inot the Tora and discover thigns about nature. [Rabeinu bachya, Ramban].
But there is a reason that the natural world was tied to the deepest levels of the Torah. G-d could have made a world whose blueprint was physical laws or someother system of rules. Why did Hashem chose the Torah as the blueprint of creation?
And that is how Avrohom Avinu made a pair of Tefillin by looking into the natural world with the eyes and understanding of the Avos, and saw how the world needs Tefillin in order to fulfill its purpose, and how exactly those Tefillin need to be made. By seeing the sleeve, oyu can understand the shape pf the arm, and by seeing an arm you can understand the design of the sleeve.
That is the relationship between Torah and the natural world.
(reposted from elsewhere)September 22, 2009 4:07 pm at 4:07 pm #660439
The scientific knowledge of our sages.
Scientific facts in Chazal and rabbinic tradition can be divided into two categories:
(a) Scientific facts that are taken from the Torah itself, and
(b) Scientific facts that were known by Chazal based on their knowledge of science.
The most recent example of this is the Chazon Ish ZTL, who lived in our times, and had no secular education at all, yet showed much knowledge of math and astronomy, much of which can be seen in his teshuva on the international dateline.
(reposted from elsewhere)September 22, 2009 4:07 pm at 4:07 pm #660440
WHY G-D CREATED THE WORLD
Once upon a time, there was only G-d, The Perfect Being.
And G-d, being Good and Benevolent, wanted to bestow this feeling of perfect happiness on others. So He had a plan to create others that can enjoy this infinite, amazing G-d-Pleasure, just like He Himself does. But there was a problem.
The answer: Create beings that have the ability to connect to G-d in such a way that they can actually be part of G-d, but with their own individual identity. Since they are part of G-d, connected to His essence, they will be able to enjoy the G-d pleasure, but only to the extent that they are connected.
So this is what He did:
This blueprint is called the Torah.
The connection with Hashem is called Olam Habbah.
But there was more work to be done. In order to fulfill the Torah, man needed tools. There is a Mitzvah in the Torah of honoring parents. That means man will have to have parents. There is a Mitzvah to fast on Yom Kippur, so man will have to have a need for food. And the food itself would also have to be created.
In order for man to fulfill the Torah, an entire world will have to be created, and man will have to be given a physical body with which to do Mitzvos.
So Hashem created the whole, entire, physical Universe.
And so Hashem gave us the Torah.
(reposted from elsewhere)
Joseph, no more long postsSeptember 22, 2009 4:09 pm at 4:09 pm #660441
Ames!!! Look what you have started with this thread!September 22, 2009 4:11 pm at 4:11 pm #660442
scientists and those who have blind faith in them about the age of the world (emphasis mine)
There’s your first error.
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 4:14 pm at 4:14 pm #660443
WHY G-D CREATED THE WORLD
How is this relevant to the discussion? Science doesn’t concern itself with why God created the world.
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 4:17 pm at 4:17 pm #660445
Rashi, Devorim 17:11
Even if they tell you that right is left and that left is right (you should listen to the sages) certainly if they tell you right is right and left is left.
Charlie: “Other rishonim argued with Rashi on that comment”
Name me ONE Charlie, name me one please.
EDITEDSeptember 22, 2009 4:17 pm at 4:17 pm #660446
Also note the Rambam in Hilchos Shiggagos 13:13 (Machon Mamre), if someone is Over something they know is Assur because Beis Din says it is Muttar, then the person who did it is personally Chayiv a Chatas and can not be included in the Par H’elam Da’var
??? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ?? ??????–??? ??? ??? ??????, ??? ?????? ??????. ????: ???? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ????, ???? ??? ?? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????, ????? ???? ??????, ???? ???? ?? ???? ????? ????? ???? ???, ?? ?? ?? ??? ?????–??? ?? ????? ???? ???? ????? ?? ??????, ????? ????? ?????? ??????? ?? ????.September 22, 2009 4:19 pm at 4:19 pm #660447
Please don’t cut and paste long blocks of text from elsewhere. Please summarize and answer in your own words. I answer you with my own words — not with cut-and-paste pages from elsewhere… I respectfully ask for the same courtesy in return.
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 4:27 pm at 4:27 pm #660448
The Rambam that follows is even more pointed than the first: (Shiggagos 13:17)
???? ??? ??? ?????, ????? ???? ????, ????? ???? ???? ???, ??? ?? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????–??? ???? ?????? ?? ?????: ??? ??? ??????, ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ????; ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????, ???? ??? ??????–???? ???? ????, ????? ???? ?????.
If they (the people) knew Beis Din was wrong, then only the people are Chayiv (and are Mayzid!) as THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE FOLLOWED BEIS DIN!September 22, 2009 4:35 pm at 4:35 pm #660449
Seriously, folks. Either you accept reality or you don’t. The choice is quite simple. But in any event, do not pretend to clothe your emunah peshutah in the garb of false rationality.
I have no problem (theoretically, at least) with somebody saying, “I acknowledge the evidence, but I still believe to the contrary.” Just don’t claim that you can actually dispute the evidence on the merits.September 22, 2009 4:38 pm at 4:38 pm #660450
Seriously, folks. Either you accept reality or you don’t.
quiteSeptember 22, 2009 4:42 pm at 4:42 pm #660451
JD – you must have really excelled in argumentation. I can see the jury nodding as we speak.September 22, 2009 4:59 pm at 4:59 pm #660452
I’m fairly certain the Yerushalmi in Horiyos makes the exact opposite point that the Sifri makes (as brought down by Rashi). The Yerushalmi there states that you follow the chachamim *only* when they tell you that left is left and that right is right.
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 5:10 pm at 5:10 pm #660453
Squeak – no need for the sarcasm.
Also regarding “left is right and right is left” – you are aware that according to the vast majority of commentaries (the Chinuch notwithstanding), this only applies to the Beis Din Hagadol (Sanhedrin) concerning halachic matters.September 22, 2009 5:58 pm at 5:58 pm #660454
To Editor 26,
Yesterday I wrote that the world is billions of years old and you deleted it with the comment “Totally off topic”. I hope you realize that this was a mistake, as many posts have concentrated on this very point.
Legufo shel inyan, there is no question that the universe was created billions of years ago and that this is one of the fundamental tenets of astronomy; studying it without this assumption is foolish.
Again, those who feel this is kefirah, stay away from it; you are entitled to your opinion. But I am of the belief it is not kefirah, on the contrary, denying it is denying God’s universe itself.
Chazal knew what was known in their time , but not more. This should be obvious. Chazal and rabbanim only 200 years ago believed in the existence of mermaids. If one wants to believe in mermaids, it’s his prerogative. But then he should not expect to be taken seriously on any discussion concerning science.September 22, 2009 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #660455
onlyemes, yesterday you were off topic. Today you are not. That’s why your post went up.September 22, 2009 6:01 pm at 6:01 pm #660456
Did anyone else watch “Exodus from Egypt: The Hidden Agenda” by Rabbi Fohrman on Aish.com? He includes some fascinating info on the Big Bang from a Torah perspective.September 22, 2009 6:03 pm at 6:03 pm #660457
Didn’t mermaids play a part in ????? ??September 22, 2009 6:04 pm at 6:04 pm #660458
there is no question that the universe was created billions of years ago
there is no question to you
that this is one of the fundamental tenets of astronomy; studying it without this assumption is foolish.
yes i agree it is an assumption. and the whole rest of astronomy is based on this ASSUMPTION. there is also of course the second assumption: that there is not a creator.
Chazal knew what was known in their time , but not more. This should be obvious.
it is not at all obvious to me. im glad though that the minds, Nevius, and capabilities of Chazal are obvious to you.September 22, 2009 6:22 pm at 6:22 pm #660459
“Chazal knew what was known in their time , but not more.”
The Chasam Sofer (Beshalach) writes Chazal know science from the Torah.
The Aruch Hashulchan (EH 13) writes someone who disagrees with Chazal on scientific matters, testifies about himself that he does not believe in Torah she bal peh, even though he would be embarrassed to admit it outright.
There are many additional meforshim stating the same. But this is a good start.September 22, 2009 6:28 pm at 6:28 pm #660460
If your faith and yiddishkeit are strong, there is no danger in studying science and astronomy in particular. I’ve studied astronomy and it only increased my wonder and isnpiration at Hashem’s creations. Science and astronomy address the “how” of observable phenomena, they do not address the why? Science doesn’t purport to answer why the universe is here. As a Jew, I know the answer to that- because it is the will of Hashem. But science can answer questions about why certain things appear to humans to be a certain way.September 22, 2009 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #660461
The Aruch Hashulchan (EH 13) writes someone who disagrees with Chazal on scientific matters, testifies about himself that he does not believe in Torah she bal peh, even though he would be embarrassed to admit it outright.
Of course, that’s assuming that every word of “Torah SheB’Al Peh” that we have today came from Sinai and was transmitted down to the Chazal without error or deviation… but that’s another argument for another day. 🙂
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #660462
Can you explain the definition of empirical facts?
Were there ever empirical facts that were later disproven? Or is that a contradiction?
ThanksSeptember 22, 2009 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #660463
The Maharal writes (Chidushei Agados Menachos 64b) that all science is included in Torah.
That may or may not be true. But even if true, that doesn’t mean that Chazal knew every bit of it. IOW, I could have a document from the Creator that contains all the secrets of the universe — and I may even be very knowledgeable in that document. But that doesn’t mean that I know *everything* about it and can therefore build faster-than-light spaceships.
The Torah tells us that 130 + 800 = 930. But I can also make that statement based on observation. So, if I state that 130 + 800 = 930, why do you assume that I got it from the Torah? Perhaps I did the math myself?
Furthermore, if the science that Chazal said is wrong, shouldn’t it be obvious that it’s based on their own chachmos and not from a mesorah?
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 6:41 pm at 6:41 pm #660464
This will be the last long post approved in this thread…unless 26 approves it.
The following essay, part of Ohr Somayach’s forthcoming “Torah and Nature” series, deals with this issue:
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, strange artifacts began to be discovered. They were bones, bones of gigantic and monstrous creatures the like of which had never before been heard of. Sir Richard Owen, the renowned British paleontologist, coined the collective term Dinosauria, Greek for “terrible lizards.”
Even the plant-eating dinosaurs were awe-inspiring. Triceratops, larger than an elephant, had a fearsome array of horns on its armored skull. The large sauropods, Brachiosaurus and Ultrasaurus, weighed more than eighty tons and stood as tall as a five-story building. But the meat-eating dinosaurs were downright terrifying. And none more so than the greatest predator ever to walk the earth. Twenty feet tall and forty feet long, with a massive head boasting six-inch fangs, Tyrannosaurus Rex, the “king tyrant lizard,” was a fearsome beast indeed.
Dinosaurs are terrifying creatures. Fortunately, there aren’t too many of them around nowadays, so there is little to fear. But some Jews do still walk around in fear of dinosaurs. However, this has nothing to do with the dinosaurs’ extreme size or their tendency to crush or eat anything in their way. It has more to do with their very existence. Paleontologists assert that dinosaurs lived hundreds of millions of years ago, while the Jewish calendar sets the age of the universe at under 6000 years plus six creation days.
I remember a young student in yeshiva once drawing me aside in a conspiratorial manner.
“Do you believe in dinosaurs?” he asked me in a hushed tone.
“No,” I replied, surprised. “I believe in G-d.”
I wasn’t sure as to exactly which religion he belonged to (The New Age Temple of the Dinosaur Worshippers, perhaps?),but as far as I’m concerned, it’s only G-d, and religious affairs, that are matters of belief. (And even with those, we’re not talking about blind faith, but rather acknowledgment based on firm evidence and reasoning.)
Dinosaurs aren’t a matter of belief. The fossils really exist; I own one myself. How one interprets these fossils is a different matter.
It has been suggested that G-d placed fossils in the ground as a test of our faith. There are two main difficulties with this explanation.
The first objection is that it’s not a particularly good test. As we shall see, there is more than plenty of room for accepting the former existence of dinosaurs and the Divinity of Torah.
The second objection is that, without being overly presumptuous about G-d’s ways, everything that we know about Him tells us that He doesn’t act that way. G-d does not create evidence against His Torah and ask us to blind ourselves to it with a leap of faith. Rather, He presents us with evidence for His existence, and preserves free will by implanting within us a powerful ability to ignore that which is inconvenient.
This point is powerfully presented by Rav Elchanan Wasserman, zatzal. He raises the question of how a twelve year old girl or a thirteen year old boy can be commanded in the mitzvah of emunah, faith, which the brilliant Aristotle didn’t even manage. His answer is that emunah just requires one to draw the logical conclusions from the evidence that surrounds us; if great minds slip up, that is because of personal agendas.
Nature points towards G-d, not away from Him. We are told, “Lift your eyes upon high and perceive Who created these!” (Yeshayah 40:26); and that “The heavens speak of G-d’s glory, and the sky tells of His handiwork!” (Tehillim 19:2). Contemplating nature is not only a means to affirm G-d’s existence, but also, as Rambam explains, the fulfillment of another mitzvah:
This honored and awesome G-d – it is a mitzvah to love Him and to fear Him… And how does one come to love and fear Him? When man contemplates the great wonders of His deeds and creations, and he perceives from them His boundless and infinite wisdom, instantly he loves and praises and gives glory, and he has a great desire to know G-d… And when he contemplates these matters, he instantly recoils and is in awe, and he knows that he is a small, dismal, lowly creature, standing with a minuscule weakness of intellect before the Perfect Wisdom… (Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 2:1-2).
Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi, in his famous work the Kuzari (1:67), writes that “Heaven forbid that there should be anything in the Torah to contradict that which is manifest or proved.” Likewise, Heaven forbid that there should be anything manifest or proved which would contradict anything in the Torah. If one is convinced that G-d wrote the Torah and created the world, then one should fear no scientific discovery. Conversely, if one is afraid of what the scientists will discover, then one is clearly not fully aware that everything discoverable was created by G-d.
But doesn’t the apparent age of the dinosaurs contradict the Torah? Well, to claim so, one would have to claim to understand what the Torah actually means with its account of Creation. But this raises many matters of interpretation; for example, how do you measure a “day” when the sun is only created on the fourth one? How do you determine the flow of time when it varies depending on how near you are to objects of large gravitational mass? Since we have so little understanding of these matters, how can dinosaurs frighten us?
Far from being frightened by dinosaurs, Rabbi Yisrael Lifshitz, author of the Tiferet Yisrael commentary on the Mishna, received the news of fossil discoveries in the nineteenth century with delight. As he had undoubtedly expected, they confirmed everything that we knew all along. He writes:
[Editor’s note: Interestingly, many paleontologists also consider there to have been four eras: the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic.]
We are enabled to appreciate to the full the wonderful accuracy of our Holy Torah when we see that this secret doctrine, handed down by word of mouth for so long, and revealed to us by the Sages of the Kabbalah many centuries ago, has been borne out in the clearest possible way by the science of our generation.
The questing spirit of man, probing and delving into the recesses of the earth, in the Pyrenees, the Carpathians, the Rocky Mountains in America, and the Himalayas, has found them to be formed of mighty layers of rock lying upon one another in amazing and chaotic formations, explicable only in terms of revolutionary transformations of the earth’s surface.
Probing still further, deep below the earth’s surface, geologists have found four distinct layers of rock, and between the layers fossilized remains of creatures. Those in the lower layers are of monstrous size and structure, while those in the higher layers are progressively smaller in size but incomparably more refined in structure and form.
Similarly, fossilized remains of sea creatures have been found within the recesses of the highest mountains, and scientists have calculated that of every 78 species found in the earth, 48 are species that are no longer found in our present epoch.
We also know of the remains of an enormous creature found deep in the earth near Baltimore, seventeen feet long and eleven feet high. These have also been found in Europe, and have been given the name “mammoth.” Another gigantic creature whose fossilized remains have been found is that which is called “Iguanadon,” which stood fifteen feet high and measured ninety feet in length; from its internal structure, scientists have determined that it was herbivorous. Another creature is that which is called “Megalosaurus,” which was slightly smaller than the Iguanodon, but which was meat-eating.
From all this, we can see that all that the Kabbalists have told us for so many years about the repeated destruction and renewal of the earth has found clear confirmation in our time.
(Tiferet Yisrael, in Derush Ohr HaChayyim, found in Mishnayot Nezikin after Masechet Sanhedrin)
Huge and fearsome creatures that they were, dinosaurs can’t possibly be a threat to the religious Jew. As G-d’s creations, they are another example of His wondrous might. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
Thank you for citing the source. 26September 22, 2009 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #660465
As an aside, I always wondered the following about the following question that perhaps someone from the “Chazal knew all of science” chevra can answer?
Who dropped the ball on the cure for cancer?
If Chazal knew all of science, they must have also had a cure for cancer. They got it from Moshe, who passed it to Yehoshua, to the Nevi’im, etc., down to Chazal.
Now, perhaps it’s true that even if Chazal had the cure, they didn’t have the infrastructure to mass produce it. But they must have transmitted the cure down to the generations, as they did with the rest of the Torah.
That being the case, I’m fairly certain that today we have the infrastructure to mass produce and distribute medication. However, I don’t see any of today’s rabbanim coming forward with a cure to this terrible disease. I would presume, therefore (and please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) that today’s rabbanim don’t have this cure – i.e., it’s been lost.
That means that somewhere along the way, the transmission of this was broken. If so, who broke the chain? Who lost the cure for cancer?
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #660466
Wolf – the Sefer HaRefuos was hidden because it was misused.September 22, 2009 6:52 pm at 6:52 pm #660468
if you dont understand Chazal at least dont EDITED
they knew what they needed to know
they probably couldnt rebuild a carburetor eitherSeptember 22, 2009 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #660470
Wolf – the Sefer HaRefuos was hidden because it was misused.
That’s fine. Then substitute some other non-medical technology which would be highly beneficial to society.
The WolfSeptember 22, 2009 7:14 pm at 7:14 pm #660471
Of course, if one takes the Torah to be a blueprint for the world, one can say that all knowledge is included within. However, that knowledge cannot be easily accessed. To say that *all* scientific knowledge was known to the Gdolei Hador ascribes to them supernatural powers that border on avoda zarah, and to believe in Rabbinic infallibility in nonhalachic matters is, in my opinion, reminiscent of a tenet of a religion other than ours.
We certainly know Rabbinic sources that were geniuses, and remarkably well-learned. Some of them were remarkably well-learned even in the natural sciences. How much of that scientific knowledge was passed on to us? Do you really think that any of the Rishonim knew about the causes and cures of diseases? Many of these things we have learned through empirical–i.e. scientific study. Does anyone think that the Gdolim of times past had this information and would not use it to save their fellow Jews from the horrors of disease?
One can certainly take the approach of refusal to learn science out of fear that it would cause one to lose faith in Torah. In my opinion, this implies little faith in the Torah and one’s education.
However, to come up with statements that “there is no evidence for evolution” is nonsense. There are hundreds of scientific papers published on evolution every year. I would be willing to bet that the people who make statements about the lack of scientific evidence are not familiar with that scientific literature. In other words, they are arguing about a subject of which they are ignorant. The people who work on evolution are quite familiar with the rules of scientific evidence, thank you.
There are a good many shomer mitzvot scientists who have no problem whatsoever reconciling their faith and the scientific process. of course, we know that there are Rabbinic sources forbidding such knowledge, and insisting that the Rabbanim knew more in every sphere than anyone else. however, there are Rabbinic sources arguing against such theories as well, as was cited by Charlie earlier in this thread. It is clear that those of us who choose scientific study for our live (in addition to Torah)would not accept the former. One does not learn about immunology from the Gemara, nor does one learn about red shift. It might be possible to do so, but we have lost the knowledge of how to do it, if we ever had it.
If, on the other hand, you have a question about WHY the universe was created, there is no way to address this through scientific inquiry. The methodology involved (and the rules are very strict)simply cannot address this question, just as it cannot address the question of the existence of a Creator, or moral issues.September 22, 2009 7:21 pm at 7:21 pm #660472
The Rema in Toras HaOlah (1:2) states clearly that we assume rabbinic science to be infallible, and ancient rabbinic knowledge of astronomy complete.September 22, 2009 7:26 pm at 7:26 pm #660473
Actually, Chazal (being Rashbam & Tosfos) say that the diagonal of a rectangle 4×6 is either equal (Rashbam) or less (Tosfos) than the diagonal of a square 5×5. So I would have not liked to have learned Math from them.
(Bava Basra 102a)
(For those who don’t know, a 4×6 rectangle has a larger diagonal (4^2 + 6^2)^.5 = 52^.5 ~ 7.21 than a 5×5 square (5^2 x 2)^.5 = 50^.5 ~ 7.07.
(I don’t intend to be mean, but) I see no point in further discussion with someone who would be willing to eat Chazer because he doesn’t understand that the Chachomim are not Malachim and/or are not omniscient. I don’t see why you are bothering.September 22, 2009 7:36 pm at 7:36 pm #660474
The Rema in Toras HaOlah (1:2) states clearly that we assume rabbinic science to be infallible, and ancient rabbinic knowledge of astronomy complete.
Even when you have direct evidence to the contrary?
Chazal say that lice don’t come from eggs (and therefore we can kill them on Shabbos). However, we can observe that lice, in fact, do come from eggs laid by other lice.
If I were to show you a louse hatching from an egg, what would you tell me? That what I’m seeing is not, in fact, happening? That I’m witnessing an illusion? Or would you just close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears and go “la-la-la I see nothing!” at the top of your lungs?
What would you do when presented with direct evidence that Chazal were wrong on a point of science?
- The topic ‘Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous?’ is closed to new replies.