Science and Astronomy in the Torah

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    The Rema in Toras HaOlah (1:2) states clearly that we assume rabbinic science to be infallible, and ancient rabbinic knowledge of astronomy complete.

    Medrash Tehillim (19) quotes Shmuel as saying he is an expert in the streets of Nehardea as much as he is an expert in the ‘streets’ of the heavens. The Medrash asks how Shmuel knew all of that, and it answers he knew it all through the Torah. It then quotes a R’ Hoshea as saying there is “space” between the upper waters and the firmament, and the Medrash asks how R’ Hoshea could know this unless he traveled to space. It answers, he knew it from the Torah.

    The Gemora in Bechoros 8a derives from a posuk in Bereishis the fact that gestation period of a snake is longer than the rest of the animal kingdom. This is cited by the Ramban (Toras Hashem Temima p.159 in Chavel edition) as but one example of how Chazal knew facts of science from the pesukim in the Torah that describe Brias HaOlam. He cites more. He says “the sages of Yisroel have knowledge through these pesukim of all of creation.”

    Rabbeinu Bachyai writes in the Introduction to Chumash that all wisdom and science in existence is contained in Torah.

    The Chosid Yaavatz (Ohr Hachaim) says that Chazal knew science form a Mesroah that goes back all the way to the Neviim, who knew it from Hashem, without any effort at all.

    Particularly interesting is a statement on this topic in the Aruch Hashulchan (EH 13). Quote:

    “I will tell you a great principle: Chazal, besides their holiness and wisdom in the Torah, were also greater scholars in the natural sciences those savants (“mischakmim”) who would argue against their pure words. And someone who disagrees with them testifies about himself that he does not believe in Torah she bal peh, even though he would be embarrassed to admit it outright.”

    Chasam Sofer (Beshalach) writes that this is the meaning of the posuk “Ki hi chachmascha ubinascha l’einei ha’amim” – Chazal were great experts in the secular sciences and disciplines. In fact, you need to know much secular knowledge in many areas in order to properly understand the Torah – and he gives several simple examples. However, since we are supposed to be busy learning Torah – not secular science – all day and night, and Hashem has no “nachas ruach” from us learning secular studies at all, how would Chazal have known all the secular wisdom that they clearly knew, as we see they did from all of Shas?

    Answer: They know it from the Torah, since the entire body of secular wisdom is included in the Torah, for the Torah is the blueprint of the world. And so, when the Goyim see that we do not study the secular science books at all – and we even disagree with them! – yet we derive all the secular knowledge, in the most precisely accurate form – from only the Sefer Torah, they will exclaim, “Am chacham v’navon hagoy hagadol hazeh!” (A similar explanation is given by the Raavad-ibn Daud. He says that the posuk refers to the philosophical truths that it took the nations centuries to develop, we knew all the time via tradition from Har Sinai.)

    Not only do we see that Chazal learned their science from the Torah, but Rav Breil, the Rebbi of the Pachad Yiztchok teaches us that we do not even entertain the possibility of a scientific statement in Chazal not coming from the Torah .This we see from Rav Briel’s answer to the Pachad Yiztchok’s question regarding the killing of lice on Shabbos. The Gemora permits it, based on a scientific fact. The Pachad Yiztchok asked his Rebbi that due to the possibility that this scientific fact is incorrect, perhaps we should be machmir and not kill lice on Shabbos, just in case.

    Once we establish that the scientific knowledge that is incorporated into Torah Shebal Peh is derived form the Torah, it has the same status as all of Chazal’s interpretaitons of the Torah — they are binding:

    The Gemora in Sanhedrin (100a) tells that R. Yochanan derived from a posuk that when Moshiach comes, the gates of Jerusalem will be made of jewels 30 amos long and 30 amos high. Some student said that such big jewels do not exist – “we do not even find jewels as big as doves eggs,” he said. Then, one day the student saw angels (!) cutting such big stones, and he asked them what they are for. The angels answered: “They are for the gates of Jerusalem”. When next he saw R. Yochana, he praised his qualifications for expounding the Torah, based on his “scientific observation” that confirmed the Rebbi’s interpretation.

    R. Yochanan responded, “Bum! You only believe because of what you see? You dishonor the words of the sages!”, and the student died.

    The Ran (Drashos #13) points out that the statemnt of R. Yochana had no halachic relevance at all – it was merely an Agadic interpretation, and the disagreement was regarding a scientific fact, yet the student was punished for not believing in its truth. Therefore, he concludes:

    “Just as we are commanded to follow their opinions regarding laws of the Torah, so too are we commanded to follow all of what they say from tradition in Hashkafa (“Deos”), and medrash on Pesukim. And someone who veers from their words, even in something that has no relevance to any Mitzvah, is an Apikores and has no share in the next world.

    The Radvaz (4:232) writes that “Aggadah is part of the Torah shebal peh and is rooted in what Moshe received on Har Sinai directly from Hashem, just like the rest of Torah shebal peh”.

    Similarly from the Alshich: “Nobody has a right in our generation to disagree based on his own opinion, if he did not find such an opinion from his predecessors (Rebbeim). We are commanded “lo sosur”, which includes also Agadita.” (Shmuel II 21:1)

    The Sifri (48) explains the posuk in Devarim 11:22, “And you really follow all this Mitzvah”, that “this means to learn Midrash, Halachah, and Agada.”

    Rav Yiztchok Izak Chaver in Magen Vtzenah (p,49) – there are people who reject Chazal’s statements because the secular scientists disagree (he gives examples, such as the sun rising above the firmament at night etc), and they laugh saying that we know its not true. They are fools. The GRA, who even the scientists admit that he knew science much better than them, accepted all words of Chazal as fact, and that the philosophers and scientists (chachmei hatechunah) are all wrong, and he believed in the truth of the simple straightforward understanding of the words of Chazal. The GRA said that the scientists didnt come to the ankles of our sages in any secular discipline or science.

    Chida (Shem Hagedolim: “Seforim”:5:82) – There are a minority of Gedolim among us who disagree with Chazal because of their scientific knowledge, but they do not understand that Chazal had Eliyhau Hanavi informing them, and they had Ruach HaKodesh to inform them.

    Chasam Sofer — Please see the Chasam Sofer in Beshalach I quoted above. He says the same thing in Drashos Chasam Sofer Vol. 1 p.100b. Our prophets and sages know all the sciences much better than the scientists even though all they learn is Torah. This is because the One Who created nature informs our sages of the correct facts. This is what amazes the Nations, as it says, Am navon v’chacham hagoy hagodol hazeh!

    An identical interpretation to that of the Chasam Sofer’s explanation Am navon v’chacham (I quoted one earlier in the name of ibn Daud regarding philosophical knowledge) is found in the Ramak (Sefer HapPardes 13:6) regarding astronomy.

    From the Maharal (Ber Hagolah 6):

    The Maharal is explaining why Chazal sometimes seem to contradict what science says:

    [Chazal] [physical] descriptions, but rather the words of our sages refer to the essence, and have no relation to the outer, material matter.

    The majority of Achronim state that Chazal did not go by the scientific knowledge of their time.

    The earth revolving around the sun is only relative. Nobody has proven nor even claims that it is absolute. In other words, if the Earth is the center of the universe, and the entire universe revolves around the earth, it will appear form the vantage point of anyone located within the universe that the sun is revolving around the earth, when in reality it is the opposite.

    For example, lets say you throw a ball south at the speed of 60 MPH. To you and to those around you it would appear that the ball is moving and you are stationary.

    But then, if you and all of those observers were actually riding on a bus traveling north at 60 MPH, then from the perspective of someone outside of the bus that ball, after you threw it, was perfectly still. It was you and your environment that were moving.

    But then, what if the world was rotating at a speed of 60 MPH in the direction of south. Then, those observers outside of the bus would be the ones moving, the bus would be stationary, and the ball would indeed be traveling at 60 MPH.

    Movement relative to another object depends on your perspective. And in order to know, ultimately, whether the earth revolves around the sun, because the earth is moving, or the sun revolves around the earth because the universe is moving and earth is stationary, you would have to measure form a vantage point outside of the universe, and nobody has been able to do that yet. At least not scientists.

    So the idea that the earth revolves around the sun is like saying that the ball is moving inside the bus. Maybe. Or maybe everything is moving in your immediate area except the ball. You’d have to be outside the bus to know that.

    Same thing here. To know whether it is the earth or the sun that is moving, you would have to take into consideration the entire universe’s movement, which no scientists has been able to do.

    [hold] that we [abide]

    1) You cant teach someone that something against the Halachah is correct, even if you cant think of a better answer to his question;

    2) This is not only a spin on the Halachah, but an unnecessary one as well. There are many other answers available that are Halachicly correct. Instead of using bad but easy answers, work harder and learn the right ones.

    Second: It is not at all clear that this statement in the Maamar al Drashos Chazal, as printed in the Ain Yaakov, was ever written by Rabbeinu Avrohom to begin with.

    There is also a sefer Imrei Yosher on Midrash which quotes the ma’amar of R. Avraham, and does not contain the controversial section.

    The Arabic section found in the library of Westminster College in England also does not contain that section. (Regrettably, it is not a complete version, so it cannot offer conclusive proof.)

    It is possible that Eilenburg added these ideas on his own. It is possible that he found them elsewhere as a commentary to R. Avraham and therefore, in his edition, listed the ideas as being separate from R. Avraham’s own words. The other possibility is that he really was using R. Avraham’s words, but lied and pretended they were his own thoughts.

    Another interesting difference is that the printed editions have the signature of R. Avrohom at the end of the Maamar, which is clearly a forgery, for in all the kisvei yad of this, Rabbeinu Avraham’s signature does not appear at the end.

    So we know for a fact that they forged Rabeinu Avrohoms signature at the end of the Maamar. The manuscripts contradict this, and rightly so, because the Maamar Al Drashos Chazal is an excerpt from the Sefer HaMaspik L’Ovdei Hashem, written by Rabbeinu Avrohom ben HaRambam, so why would he sign his name in the middle of a sefer? The maskilim obviously had an agenda, and we know from Rav Tzaddok that they liked to tamper with Kisvei Yad in this way. There is no question at all that the Maskilm tampered with the Ksav Yad; the only question is how much. We see they definitely tampered with the end, they sure could have tampered with the beginning, maybe even with the ksav yad they found by Oppenheim.

    The first time ma’amar odos drashos chazal was ever printed, it was printed by the Maskilim, in their publication, Kerem Chemed, year 2, in 1836. Later, in 1859 it went to kovetz teshuvos Rambam. Ein Yaakov first printed it in 1877.

    Rav Tzaddok (Zichronos 51) writes that a well known tactic of maskilim was to print kisvei yad of rishonim to which they had exclusive access, adding comments to fit their agenda and claiming it was the view of this rishon. He says we should be very wary of new kisvei yad when published, checking for insertions to support the agenda of maskilim, unless you know the motzi la’or.

    The manuscript with the controversial segment was in a library in Germany and may have been altered before being sent to the printer and later being placed in Oxford.

    In Moreh Nevuchim (3:14) the Ranbam writes:

    “Do not ask me to reconcile everything that they (i.e. Chazal) mentioned regarding astronomy with what is reality, for the sciences in those days were lacking, and they did not speak about them through traditions from the prophets, but rather on their own independent knowledge or what was obtained from contemporary scientists.”

    The Rama in Toras HaOlah (1:2) quotes this Rambam and strongly disagrees, stating clearly that we assume rabbinic science to be infallible, and ancient rabbinic knowledge of astronomy complete. The Ramah has stated that we do not pasken like the Rambam here. As do the Maharal and the majority of our Torah authorities throughout the ages, as mentioned above.

    Finally, if we take this statement of the Rambam in the context of his own statements elsewhere, what he says in More Nevuchim may mean something entirely different:

    In summary:

    3) The Rambam only stated that Chazal relied on the science of their times regarding astronomy, about with the Rambam himself states that we had a tradition from the prophets but it went lost, and that is why we must rely on the science of the gentiles.

    The Galgalim have sources in Chazal as well, as Rav Chaim Kanievsky points out in Kiryas Melech (Yesodei Hatorah 3:1).

    Here’s how this works: The Rishonim will quote something from the Greek philosophers but which really comes from Kabbalah. They do this because when citing Kabalistic ideas, they often try to conceal them as much as possible. Therefore, if something is well known as a Greek philosophical concept, they will quote it as such even though its source is Judaism. Example: The Ramban’s hyly (hiuli?)at the beginning of Bereishis, which he notes and sources as Greek. Both the Satmar Rebbe (Divrei Yoel Bereishis p.61) and Rav Elya Lopian (quoted by Rav Scwardron) say the hyly is a Kabbalistic, spiritual idea, which the Greeks took from us. The Divrei Yoel explains that the Ramban quoted this in the name of the Greeks because it is the derech of the Ramban to camouphlage such sodos in physical terms – the same as Chazal often did. (see also Rama Toras HaOlah on Boruch Sheamar).

    Another one of these concepts is the 4 elements (fire, waster, air, and earth), which is quoted all over by the Greeks but comes from Kabbalah – they took it from us.

    The idea that the Greeks took their philosophical ideas from us is all over the Rishonim and Achronim, including the Ramban himself (Toras Hashem Temimah p.162). He says that they lifted their knowledge from the Jews, and eventually it got distorted by them. But the source is Judaism. The Kuzari says the same thing (2:66 – see also 2:19 and 1:62) as does the Shevili Emunah (nesiv 8) the Rama (he brings that Socrates got his wisdom from Asaf and Achitofel (Toras Haolah 1:12), and Chosid Yaavetz (Ohr Hachaim 6). The Chida (Midbar Kadmos – Sheva Chachmos) says this in the name of the Rambam (se also Moreh Nevuchim 1:71).

    Basically what happened was, people like Shlomo HaMelech and the Neviim had this chachma, the Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle learned from them, we went into Golus and a lot of it got lost, while among the Greeks it got grotesquely distorted. So you’ll find Torah and Kabbalistic concepts among the Goyim but kind of in a messed up way. Sometimes Rishonim such as the Ramban will identify some crumb of truth among them that comes from us and he will quote it from them if it is known as such.

    Regarding Ptolmey himself, the Abarbanel (Shmos 12) quotes Ptolmey as being so impressed with the Jews’ astronomical calculations, that he said it proves the Jews had prophecy. In the Sefer Eretz Zvi (by Rav Aryeh Zvi Fromer ZTL, Rosh Yeshiva in Chachmei Lublin), quotes more such sources about Ptolmey.

    Pashuteh Yid

    (Mods, just saw this new thread. Can disregard my previous attempt to post this in Big Event thread.)

    Joseph, your scholarship is staggering, and I don’t know where you got it all from. Yasher Koach. Nevertheless, I will bring you an irrefutable rayah (lfi aniyus daati)that Chazal did not know the science of today. This is not apikorsis, because it is not one of the ikrei emunah to believe that Chazal knew everything, only that their HALACHIC pronouncements are from the RBSH via Moshe Rabbeinu.

    We know that twice in our history the Beis Hamikdash was destoyed. We lost first to the Babylonians in the time of the Neviim, and to the Romans in the time of the Tannaim.

    Had Chazal known the science of today, why didn’t they build an atomic bomb and drop it on Rome. If that would have taken too long, then why not a couple of planes with a handful of bombs? I submit even a single modern tank with a few hundred rounds of tank shells could have taken out their entire army of horsemen. After a few explosions, whichever horses and riders were still alive would be fleeing in panic for their lives.

    The siege of Yerushalayim lasted a while. During this time, if they knew our modern sciences they would have been MECHUYAV to build modern weapons and defend Eretz Yisroel. I claim that lchol hadayos, even Neturei Karta would agree that back then even on Shabbos one was obligated to defend even a single far flung border town. Certainly to defend Yerushalayim, and even more so to protect the lives of the Yidden because of PIKUACH NEFESH MAMASH. There is no heter in the world for them not to have saved us from defeat. (Ein osin ir hanidachas basefer, we don’t make a border town an ir hanidachas even if they all worshipped Avodah Zara, since it will lead to infiltration.) Churban Beis Hamikdash was the quintessential milchemes mitzvah and they would have been mechuyav to save klal yisroel via their advanced weapons. If that is not a milchemes mitzvah, I don’t know what is. Even one cannon could probably have saved us.

    You may claim that we were punished because of varios aveiros so we were destined to lose. Nevertheless, if one sees a person whose life is in danger on Shabbos and tells him that he deserves to die, and we cannot save you because of Chilul Shabbos, the Rambam says that this person is an Apikorus. Lives take precedence over all else. Chazal would have used modern weapons then, if they knew how to build them. Instead of risking smuggling out Reb Yochanan ben Zakkai in an aron to try to beg the king to at least save Kerem Byavneh (he didn’t even bother asking for Yerushalayaim, as he knew he could only get a hatzalah purtah, small request), they should have smuggled in a smart bomb and remotely detonated it in the king’s face.

    We see clearly from here they had no modern technological knowledge, or they would have had absolutely no heter not to use it at that critical time. This is a rayah sh’ein alav tshuvah. In English, that means Checkmate. You may try some weak dochak answers, if any actually exist, but you would appear to have been refuted. The sources you quote did not live at a time when science had advanced so far. They did not have the benefit of the hindsight we have now.

    But one other source. I believe Reb Elya Lopian quotes a Zohar on Vayiftichu arubos hashamayim, that in the year 5500, new chochma will pour down into the world which was never previously known. This corresponds to the beginning of the Scientific Revolution.

    This is a very disconcerting topic to deal with, but let me conclude with one thing. We have a beautiful unbroken mesorah. Do you know what that mesorah is? It is the mesorah of Chesed that Avrohom started, and Yaakov and Moshe rescued the sheep, and it continues down to today unbroken with the work of Tomchei Shabbos. This is our mesorah which no other nation has come close to. We are the only nation that has an issur of loshon hara. Once we realize that the whole purpose of the Torah is to teach us menschlachkeit, not science, we see the incredible things our nation was zocheh to accomplish. We never perpetrated a holocaust on anybody else, and we are the biggest philanthropists and have an inate kindness which we inherited from our holy Avos, who had to fight off all kinds of barbaric behavior in their time, and helped civilize the entire ancient world our norms of behavior, which persist until today in what even the USA acknowledges as the Judeo-Christian foundations of our legal system and way of life.


    They did not know the science of today Hashem didn’t think the world was ready for it (although the dor haflaga had the sciene of today and the tower was a rocket ship)


    This is another one of those topics I want to say away from. However, P.Y. your comments disturb me tremendously.

    >>During this time, if they knew our modern sciences they would have been MECHUYAV to build modern weapons and defend Eretz Yisroel. I claim that lchol hadayos, even Neturei Karta would agree that back then even on Shabbos one was obligated to defend even a single far flung border town. Certainly to defend Yerushalayim, and even more so to protect the lives of the Yidden because of PIKUACH NEFESH MAMASH. There is no heter in the world for them not to have saved us from defeat. (Ein osin ir hanidachas basefer, we don’t make a border town an ir hanidachas even if they all worshipped Avodah Zara, since it will lead to infiltration.) Churban Beis Hamikdash was the quintessential milchemes mitzvah and they would have been mechuyav to save klal yisroel via their advanced weapons. If that is not a milchemes mitzvah, I don’t know what is. Even one cannon could probably have saved us.<<

    Do we not say in davening ?????? ??????? ???????? ??????????. ??????????? ??????? ?’ ??-??????? ?????????? Did the neviim (e.g. Yermiya) not preach teshuva? Do you not believe that the Beis HaMikdash fell because of divine decree? They had no interest in these weapons since they knew success (no matter what weapon you are holding) was SOLELY attributed to HaKadosh Baruch HU. On Chanukah our enemy had the stronger weapons, did that mean they were victorious?

    Sorry, this is not an irrefutable rayah. It only shows that you have an amazing imagination, zero belief that our actions have consequences and little belief that G-d does things for a reason.


    Pashuteh Yid,

    “Chazal did not know the science of today.”

    There is no reason to believe the “science of today” is entirely correct and will not be refuted by future scientists, just as past science has been refuted by current scientists.

    “Had Chazal known the science of today, why didn’t they build an atomic bomb and drop it on Rome.”

    If nothing else, because the RBS’O wanted the Beis Hamikdash to be destroyed.

    Regarding the new chochma in the world, mentioned in the Zohar, that is new to the Umos Hoalom, not to Chazal.

    BTW this isn’t my scholarship. I haven’t been to Oxford, nor even the JTS collection in NY! (Nor found all these mekoros.) I merely pieced together in a post what others have found.

    Yasher Koach for the last paragraph!


    There are plenty of scientific phenomenon which still baffle the “experts”. One example is the mummy. Another is the some stones of the beis hamikdas (some are heavier than cranes nowadays could carry, leaving us to wonder how they built it)

    Pashuteh Yid

    JayMatt: Building weapons doesn’t in any way indicate lack of bitachon in Hashem. The Mishna in Shabbos discusses many types of weapons. But they are all ancient types. If you are saying chazal approved the use of weapons, and that is not a contradiction to bitachon, then is using modern weapons a contradiction? We are only allowed to use lousy weapons? In truth, it is called histadlus, and just like going to work which Chazal did doesn’t contradict the pasuk of Poseach es yadecha umasbia lchol chai ratzon, manufaturing weapons doesn’t contradict the pasuk of Eleh barechev.

    Joseph, I fully agree the science of today will be replaced with the science of tomorrow, yet we are going upwards in sophistication. There is no evidence Chazal understood the science of today or could duplicate modern technology. Of course they were bright enough to do so, it just wasn’t revealed and developed back then. It took many contributions from many people pooling their knowledge. Newton invented calculus, another invented the microscope, another saw germs, another worked out magnetism, and another put some of the previously listed subjects together and invented MRI.

    As far as they didn’t drop an atomic bomb because the RBSH wanted the Beis Hamikdash destroyed, but why did they not perform their mandated chiyuv to be matzil nefashos? I addressed that in my first post. You can’t tell someone I will not save you because the RBSH wants you to pass away now. That is not our cheshbon, and anybody who does that is a shofech damim. Are you saying Chazal sat there without doing what they could? Do our Rabbonim today say people are out of work for a reason that was decreed upstairs so we will not do anything to help you, or do they organize all kinds of chesed projects to help the unemployed?

    Yes, the RBSH wanted the Bais Hamikdash destroyed, or else he would have given Chazal the knowledge of atomic theory or internal combustion engines and explosives, or some other means and they would have been saved. But to tell me that a modern technologically sophisticated army lost to some primitive horseback riders without putting up a fight is impossible to accept, and kneged halacha.


    This is a very difficult topic to make any headway in. We are so indoctrinated by the current scientific beliefs that it is nearly impossible to think against them. The concept of a geocentric universe is entirely impossible to understand in the universe we live in. What I mean is that given the way we perceive the world, i.e. the main foundation stones of science, we are logically driven to the conclusions and facts that science presents us with. And those conclusions are proven, given that the intial facts are correct.

    For example, Gravity is a pretty fundamental scientific concept that nearly everyone takes for granted as fact. If you believe that matter attracts matter with a force relative to its mass, and that the world is limited to three dimensions, and only a known number of forces play in nature, it is impossible to believe that the large Sun does not swing the small Earth about itself in an orbit.

    However, once you stop taking these things for granted the possibilities are only limited by the limitations of the next scientific “foundation stone”. For example, there are alternative theories to Gravity. All of them are laughed at by the scientific community of today. But how do we know that gravity exists and is what we think of it? These are difficult questions to even think about. It is hard to challenge the fundamentals, but they are based only on popular beliefs about un-provable realities. We know that we “stick” to the ground, but we only assume it is due to gravity. It has not been proven; it has only been deemed more likely than its competing theories.

    It is not necessary to actually challenge the “fact” of gravity – it would only frustrate you – but any intelligent person will be able to accept that it is only a theory and that it could theoretically be challenged. I am not aware of a Chazal that defines gravity as a real force in this world, either. If gravity is not real, it is possible that we live in a heliocentric universe. I am not saying that we are required to believe that gravity is or is not real – nor am I saying that we are required to believe in a geo/heliocentric universe – I am only saying that since it is NOT defined clearly (by Chazal) what our belief about this should be (nor are we taught any reason to think of this as an important question) we can believe what is popular today if we accept that it is not as solid a belief as scientists would have us think.

    Einstein’s theory of relativity cannot be proven. It too, is flawed in that its premise is based on these “foundation stones” of science. Remove the foundation and even the theories that are safely relagated to the top of the ivory towers will fall. We know nothing about our universe.

    In summary, our only certainties in this world are what we learn from Torah. But we do not have the abilities to glean all the answers we would like from the Torah. We can satisfy our curiosity with present day science as long as we understand its limitations (which are great). Simply put, do not accord science any more credence than it deserves.

    David S.

    Joseph, that was a GREAT post you made! YASHER KOACH!


    Joseph et al. Great thread.

    J – I really admire your bekios. And how you laid it forth.

    I w/ like to be bring up a gemoro ( is it shabbos?); Rebbi Hakadosh says Chachmei Yisrael say that the sun travels on top of some curtain at night all the way to the east and then starts again under the curtain so that we could see it. However chachmei umos haolom say that at night the sun goes back to the east by traveling under the ground. Then Rebbi adds that the umos haolom are right. For in the morning the waters are warm.

    This used to bother me when I was younger, for obvious reasons.

    When I got older I realized; If it didn’t bother Rebbi Hakodosh, if he didn’t loose emunah in the Chachmei Yisrael even though it might seem that when it came to science maybe the umos haolom knew it better, then how could I, Joe Shmoe, loose emunah in CHAZAL?

    Chazak, Ah Freilichen Purim, & remember, Yayin but not shnapps.


    I’m not saying they didn’t have weapons, nor that they should have used weapons. I’m just challenging your belief that we can be victorious even if G-d wants us to be harmed. I think it is absolutely apikorsos for a yid to think “If only we had better weapons the beis hamikdash would be standing today” The gemarros discuss why the beis hamikdash was destroyed, and the neviim at the time told us how to prevent its destruction, how THROUGH TESHUVA AND TORAH!!

    How come Paroh, Haman, the greeks etc. were able to inflict their wrath on Klal Yisroel? Because they were stronger? Because they had better weaponry? NO!! because Klal Yisroel did aveiros that led us to be punished by HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

    The fact that you believe these things were avoidable with better weaponry basically shows me that a discussion with you would be an exercise in futility.

    By the way, Shlomo HaMelech says something about your opinion: ??-????, ??? ?????, ??? ?????, ??? ?????; ???? ?? ???, ??? ????

    Pashuteh Yid

    JayMatt, I am not saying that the RBSH doesn’t control the world, chas vshalom. I am saying that according to Joseph, there was a major neis in the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, that a nuclear power was defeated by a band of horseback riders. Do we find this anywhere in the mekoros? Do we find anywhere that the yidden had the most powerful weapons and technology, but since their aveiros were so bad, that all the technology suddenly became disabled. I.e., their planes stopped functioning, their tanks wouldn’t start, the production line for new vehicles became stalled, the high-powered long-distance lasers that would have stopped the enemy all disappeared. The remote early warning systems that controlled the mines all became disabled and the enemy infiltrated. Why isn’t there a single medrash that tells us that Hashem’s wrath was so great that even though we were dealing with a primitive army against a superpower, the primitive army miracously overcame the high-tech army because of the aveiros of the yidden? Please understand, bderech hateva could horseback riders overthrow the entire USA? Where do we find that a miracle of such magnitude occurred by the churban?

    As you brought up about Chanukah we were victorious against a majority. But wait isn’t that a rayah for me? Don’t we say giborim byad chalashim? That the strong were delivered into the hands of the weak? But I thought we were the nuclear superpower, and they were the weak primitive horsemen. Of course we won, because we were the far stronger force. So what is the miracle there? Incidentally, Berel Wein describes how the Chanukah battle was fought with elephants, and I do not think he mentioned tanks.

    In addition, let’s leave the churban and look at other things. Chazal tell us about lamps in many places, but they are all oil lamps, not light bulbs which have different halachos (i.e., you can read on Shabbos with them). The first mention in the shailos and tshuvos of the new lighting technology was in the 1900’s, not in the mishna and gemara.

    The gemara tells us about bathrooms. They were simple outhouses with no water or sewers, etc. They used stones instead of tissue paper. The gemara tells us that going to the bathroom was such a difficult process, (required a long walk to the nearest location, and so on) that Rava always avoided it when he was giving shiur, and because he held it in, he severely damaged his body.

    Jay and Joseph, I understand my points about the ancient wars are silly. What I am trying to point out is that it is all an anachronism. This technology wasn’t around then. We find no remnants in archeology of electronic systems, yet we do find arrowheads. You are asking me to believe in something which goes so totally beyond the pale of rationality. As I said earlier, science is a team effort with each expert only mstering a small slice of his enormous field. And there are numerous fields. It is when we put the collective efforts together that we achieve the modern technological innovations of today. Simply put, if Chazal were experts in all areas of science, they would have no brain cells left to be experts in learning. It is simply not humanly possible. No scientist is an expert in all areas of science, not even in a single area.

    Again, if you believe that the gedolim have scientific expertise via ruach hakodesh, would you be willing to identify one such godol today willing to take and ace university level exams in all subjects without studying the textbooks?

    Ames, I agree with you that technology is not the ikar, and would not have stopped the RBSH from destroying the Beis Hamikdash for our aveiros. As I posted earlier, the ikar is menschlachkeit. That is our whole purpose in learning and doing mitzvos, not to become scientists. I don’t know where Reb Avigdor Miller got his sources, but I don’t know if I would trust him on scientific matters, either. (I am not a proponent of Global Warming).

    As far as a tzaddik saying something and making it true, miracles are always possible in any set of circumstances. But most of the time we don’t see things that go against the laws of nature. What we should keep in mind is that nature itself is the biggest miracle of all. The laws of science are miraculous in that they work so well and are understandable by our brains which the RBSH gave us in his infinite chesed. It is a chesed that we can see the experiments, that we can move our hands to do the experiments. That we can talk to another scientist (koach of speech) by vibrating the air from our mouths by moving our throats and tongue. That he can sense the vibrations in the air and get an interpretable message out of them (hearing and understanding). That he can add to it, and develop a device using the raw materials that Hashem provided. (Imagine if metal did not exist, and the periodic table was half empty.) These are all the biggest miracles of all. Yet we must realize that these all exist to do chesed.


    Them midrash mentions that klal yisroel planned to use kabbalah to save the beis hamikdash, but Hashem changed the names of all the malachim and it didn’t work. I’m sure technology would have had the same result.

    Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan says that the bayis rishon had chochmah. The bayis sheini had binah, as torah shebaal peh flourished more than the bayis rishon (the Jews didn’t accept torah shebaal peh willingly before Purim). The era of moshiach will have daas, as the gates of knowledge open up to prepare for the coming of Moshiach. It’s in the Aryeh Kaplan Reader (published by Artscroll). According to that, one need not assume that Chazal knew technology.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of knowledge was lost by both churbanos.

    Another angle to look at is, are we better off with today’s technology than our ancestors in Europe ( or elsewehere) 300 years ago? From a physical point of view, yes. But not from a spiritual point of view. Chizkiyahu hid the sefer of refuos because he felt it was taking away from everyone’s bitachon in Hashem. In today’s world, technology insulates us from the realities of this world, to the point that our kesher with Hashem is lost. The Kav Hayashar mentions that a good way to develop a kesher with Hashem is to look up at the stars. In today’s light-polluted world, can one do that? Plus, are we happier today than we were 300 years ago? Of course not, because our expectations are higher. 100 years ago, they thought technology would usher a new era of peace. All it did was create ways to kill each other and the world faster. We are working harder and longer than ever. In short, technology has been detrimental, not beneficial. I can see Chaza”l burying this knowledge for the benefit of Jews.


    Um your physics and astronomy is wrong on several points

    Movement relative to another object depends on your perspective. And in order to know, ultimately, whether the earth revolves around the sun, because the earth is moving, or the sun revolves around the earth because the universe is moving and earth is stationary, you would have to measure form a vantage point outside of the universe, and nobody has been able to do that yet. At least not scientists.

    There is no absolute frame of refrence for the universe. However we can compare motion against the background stars. If they Earth was stationary there would be a number of effects that would be very different…

    1) We can measure the earth’s relative motion against the background stars. If the earth was not moving we could see stellar parallax. While this effect is very small (about 200x smaller than one could see with the unaided eye in the closest stars) it was first measured about 1830 or so by Bessel for the star 61 Cygni.

    In addition classical Astronomy makes several very definitive statements about how the universe works that are all demonstrably wrong.

    • The moon is a perfect unmarked sphere, it is pockmarked with craters and mountains
    • The area past the Earth is perfect and unchanging, not even close to being true, there are stars that very over time AAVSO comets turn up at random times and so forth, we see supernova etc
    • Planets orbit the sun in perfect circles, this is not true, the actual orbits are ellipses, and follow Kepler’s laws

    I could go on but have limited time right now


    Another angle to look at is, are we better off with today's technology than our ancestors in Europe ( or elsewehere) 300 years ago?

    300 years ago it was common for a family to have 6-8 kids and expect only 1 to live past the age of 3. Now child mortality in the west is very rare. So yes in many ways we are better off then we were 300 years ago.

    Modern Medicine is a GOOD thing.


    I am not part of this discussion ;-), but I would like to comment on something Jothar said:

    >>But not from a spiritual point of view. Chizkiyahu hid the sefer of refuos because he felt it was taking away from everyone’s bitachon in Hashem<<

    The Rambam says that this pshat is a farce. He does not know why people would be withheld lifesaving techniques due to lack of prayer.

    The Rambam says that the “Sefer HaRefuos” was a book of witchcraft techniques used by idolaters to illicit cures. It was originally in the hands of Beis Din, so they could have reference as to whether or not an actually ma’aseh of Avoda Zarah was committed before punishing. This was hidden by Chizkiyahu due to the fact that sick people, in moments of desperation, began using it as a suggestive guide in order to get cured.

    The above quoted Rambam can be found in The Rambam’s Peirush HaMishnayos, Pesachim, Perek 4, Mishna 9 (Happy Hunting!)


    ZachKessin, agreed that modern medicine is a good thing. So is indoor plumbing. Let’s say you went back in time and met your ancestor from 300 years ago. You describe to him indoor plumbing, and the fact that you can turn on a water and get hot water or cold at the turn of a handle, and how body lice is a thing of the past, and how there is no need to wear furs indoors anymore in the winter. He would look at you and say, “Wow! You just described olam haba! You guys must be so happy!” What’s your response?

    Jaymatt, shkoyach for the mareh makom, although Rambam, Rav Hirsch, and other such rationalist approaches are verboten for this thread.


    This thread is really interesting. I won’t contribute too much because I am not as learned as many of you, but I do have a question.

    When I was in school, we learnt about the geocentric source, and my teacher explained it wasn’t necessarily literal, but more figuartive. Anyone know if this is a valid explanation? Also, where is it written? That is something I definitely would love to learn more in depth.

    As to Rav Miller – I think there is a big difference between saying that Chazal had perfect knowledge of science vs a Rabbi of our generation. There is no ruach hakodesh at this point and our rabbonim are much more fallible in the current generations. I am not saying that Rav Miller is wrong (or right – I don’t think anyone knows enough about global warming to really make a difinitive statement), just that the comparison is not quite on par.



    There is no question that the earth has gotten warmer over the past 125 years. That is as much an unquestionable fact as that fact that a pig is not a kosher animal. The scientific question is of what *caused* that warming, in particular, to what extent human activity was responsible for the warming.



    Just a hundred years ago, the average American born then could expect not to live to age 50. The average American born today can expect to live almost to age 80 — and the average Israeli even longer thanks in part to their superior universal health care. Most of us consider that to be a huge benefit.


    Notwithstanding the many opinions to the contrary, Rabbeinu Avraham’s essay now appears in the introduction to the standard edition of *Ein Yaakov*, showing that his opinion is actually the *normative* approach to Chazal’s aggadata! It is one of the many examples where a Daat Yachid has become the norm.


    charliehall, you are correct about what is the scientific question, but that’s not the REAL question. The real question is, Who cares?



    There is one other reason to care about respecting science: When belief about nature are driven by ideology or ignorance rather than facts, people can die. I’m not exaggerating here; people died after part of the South African government bought into the nonsense that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and Jewish children contracted measles when parents bought into the lie (possibly spread through out and out fraud) that vaccinations cause autism. The stakes on global warming are rather high: If global warming continues unabated, hundreds of millions of people could be made homeless by rising sea levels, but if we over-react, too-stringent regulation could result in serious economic hardship. We need the best science, untainted by ideology. The discussion here is not part of the solution.

    anon for this


    I think you last post was right on target. I wanted to add that given last month’s revelation that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patient data, I think it’s safe to call his research–which for years was considered the definitive proof of a link between the MMR and autism–an “out-and-out” fraud.


    Zach, the point about the revolution re the earth and sun was just a hypothesis to make a point. And it is as you admit, that there is no absolute frame of refrence for the universe. (And yes, modern medicine is good, but general technology has not improved the lot of mankind.)

    Charlie, Israel’s life expectancy is about the same as American Caucasians. If you want to see the mess caused by socialized health care, see Canada and its wait times for medical specialists (and how Canadians — as well as foreigners from around the world — run to the US for medical treatment.)

    Re Rabbeinu Avraham, there are serious questions regarding the authenticity of the controversial passage, as the OP noted.


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    ???? ??

    ???? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ???, ??? ????? ????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???????? ??????? ????? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?????, ?????? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?????.

    ???? ??

    ??? ??? ???? ????? ??? ????? ?? ?? ?? ????? ????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ???? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???? ????? ????? ?? ?? ????? ??? ?????.


    From the article “Scientific theory”:

    Description and prediction

    Echoing the philosopher Karl Popper, Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time states, “A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.” He goes on to state, “Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.” The “unprovable but falsifiable” nature of theories is a consequence of the necessity of using inductive logic.

    Assumptions to formulate a theory

    something accepted without proof, and it is incorrect to speak of an assumption as either true or false, since there is no way of proving it to be either (If there were, it would no longer be an assumption). It is better to consider assumptions as either useful or useless, depending on whether deductions made from them corresponded to reality. … On the other hand, it seems obvious that assumptions are the weak points in any argument, as they have to be accepted on faith in a philosophy of science that prides itself on its rationalism. Since we must start somewhere, we must have assumptions, but at least let us have as few assumptions as possible.

    Example: Special Theory of Relativity


    [laws of gravitation]

    1. The Sun rotates around the Earth.

    2. The Earth rotates around the Sun.

    This is derived on a non-inertial reference frame. From the perspective of an Earth-centered reference frame, the Sun does indeed orbit around the Earth. In General Relativity, all reference frames are equally valid.

    To put it more simply, all motion is relative. Relative to humanity, the Earth is not rotating. For most of history, the Sun was said to circle the Earth. Copernicus, changed sciences viewpoint, so that Earth rotated around the Sun. Newton changed it again, and said that Earth and Sun rotate about a common center of gravity. Einstein changed it again. He described General Relativity – in which all motion is relative. In General Relativity, you can use any frame of reference. Relative to humanity, the Sun revolves around the Earth.

    Yes, it is a bit harder to explain stellar parallax from the perspective of an Earth-fixed reference frame than from the perspective of a solar system barycentric reference frame.

    On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to explain a cyclone from the perspective of a solar system barycentric reference frame. No meteorologist would even think of using anything other than an Earth-fixed reference frame to model the weather.

    BTW, it’s not all that hard to explain stellar parallax from the perspective of an Earth-centered frame. The motion of the stars can be explained in terms of the “third body effect”. People who model the behavior of satellites in Earth orbit vastly prefer to use an “Earth-centered inertial” reference frame (a non-rotating reference frame with origin at the center of the Earth) than a barycentric frame. From the perspective of such a reference frame, the Sun and Moon (and the planets) make the satellite’s orbit not quite Keplerian. The perturbation is explained by a pseudo-force called the third body effect.


    In The Philosophy of Space and Time (1928) by Hans Reichenbach, a disciple of Einstein (at the University of Berlin, where Einstein first taught relativity), he demonstrates that all the following concepts are clearly shown possible from a scientific point of view:

    1. The earth stands still and the sun revolves around it,

    2. The sun stands still and the earth revolves around it,

    3. Both are revolving around a certain point.

    There is no way to prove which of the above is correct or preferable.

    In the second century BCE, Ptolemy perfected Aristotle’s construction of how the sun and the planets revolve around the Earth in circular orbits with additional rotation around certain points on these orbits. About 1600 years later, Nicholas Copernicus made a revolution in astronomy by describing the Earth as going around the sun. A little later, Johannes Kepler described the orbits as elliptical, and by a century after that, Isaac Newton had reinforced this picture with his law of gravitation. In the 20th Century, Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity eliminated the idea of absolute space and absolute movement.


    Joseph: wow buddy, some come back you got going on in this thread!!! welcome back!!! you were missed!!!

    proud tatty

    Joseph, you have some chutzpa. You shut down the thread for a week so that you can gather more ‘ammunition’ for your attack.



    proud, I didnt close anything.

    proud tatty

    I find it rather interesting that the thread is closed And opened just in time for you to put up your post!



    proud, he was out for a week. how do you know he didn’t do all his research and come back only to find the thread closed. so maybe he asked a moderator to open it so that all his hard work wouldn’t be for nothing.

    just an thought. i have no idea what happened.


    proud tatty, if Joseph really was a mod, why would he have posted your comments?


    Back to the topic (although I’ve long suspected that Joseph is a moderator). I fully accept as Joseph’s original post as true and accurate. I think it is little more than a thorough explication of “Hafoch bo v’ hafoch bo d’kulo bo.” But it ignores another truism in Jewish thought; yeridat hadorot. I have no doubt (Pashuteh Yid’s questions notwithstanding) that Chazal, or those who preceded them, had the ability to discern things about the world in the Torah we cannot. They had that ability either by virtue of added Divine presence in the world, superior intellect, or maybe even hermeneutics and drashot we no longer have. I’m not challenged by the notion that ultimately Chazal’s expressed view of the universe will be vindicated. But as time passed, we no longer have those abilities, and the challenges of corporeality are still manifest. We need to deal with our here and now and not Chazal’s metziut. The issue is not should Chazal have studied the sciences and humanities, but should we. One can legitimately answer “no” to the first query and “yes” to the second, simply as of necessity.





    Here is a collection of quotes by men who have understood the nature of motion.

    The cosmologies of Copernicus [Heliocentrism] & Ptolemy [Geocentrism] are kinematically equivalent; both of them are descriptions of the same facts, and Ptolemy’s epicycles of the planets are the kinematic equivalents of the circular orbits of Copernicus.

    Reichenbach, Hans- Philosophy of Space and Time- p210-211

    The commonly held view is that Copernicus’s heliocentric model vanquished the competition, especially the geocentric view of Ptolemy, because it yielded better predictions of the positions of the celestial bodies. In actual fact, the predictions of the Copernican model were a little worse than those obtained via the complicated series of epicycles… the real selling point of the Copernican model was that it was much simpler than the competition yet still gave a reasonably good account of the observational evidence.

    Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense.

    Fred Hoyle, Nicolaus Copernicus, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1973, p78

    The Copernican conception is indeed simpler, but this does not make it any “truer” since this simplicity is descriptive … One description may be simplest for some phenomena while a different description may be simplest for others; but no simplest description is distinguished from other descriptions with regard to truth. The concept of truth does not apply here, since we are dealing with definitions.

    Reichenbach, Hans- Philosophy of Space and Time- p219

    And hence this affirmation: “the earth turns round” has no meaning, since it cannot be verified by experiment; … such an experiment … cannot even be conceived of without contradiction …

    Henri Poincare- Science and Hypothesis- p117

    … it is meaningless to talk of absolute motion.

    Even the Copernican world-view appears to be shaken by this consideration. It makes no sense accordingly, to speak of a difference in truth between Copernicus and Ptolemy: both conceptions are equally permissible descriptions.

    What has been considered as the greatest discovery of [western] wisdom, as opposed to that of antiquity, is questioned as to its truth-value … the doctrine of relativity does not assert that Ptolemy’s view is correct, it rather contests the absolute meaning of either view.

    Reichenbach, Hans- From Copernicus to Einstein, p 75,82

    There is one more implication that modern science has perceived in the work of Copernicus. The same observational data that Ptolemy organized in his geocentric theory of deferent and epicycle can also be organized under the heliocentric theory of Copernicus. Despite the belief of the latter that the new theory was true, the modern view is that either theory will do and that there is no need to adopt the heliocentric hypothesis except to gain mathematical simplicity. Reality seems far less knowable than Copernicus believed, and today scientific theories are regarded as human inventions.

    Morris Kline- Mathematics and the Search for Knowledge, p85

    … the Ptolemaic theory of the solar system was abandoned in favor of the Copernican not because it failed to “agree” with all the facts, for it explained as much as the Copernican did, but because the latter, as Copernicus himself said, was “simpler,” more elegant mathematically, and a more harmonious addition to the body of science than the former.

    … there was no intellectual inconvenience at one time in regarding the earth as the fixed center of the universe, nor was there any particular reason, socially or otherwise, why it should not have been accepted, nor was it inconsistent with the existent body of knowledge.

    Randall, J. H.- Philosophy: An Introduction- p135, 139

    Two thousand years ago the earth turned; then it remained immobile until recently, when it has again begun to turn. [!!!]

    Nicholas Malebranche (1638-1715)- The Search After Truth- p371

    All the known celestial movements can be explained on a geocentric theory, if it is sufficiently complex.

    Lacey, A.R., Dictionary of Philosophy- p359

    … in fact simplicity of the mathematical theory was the only argument Copernicus & Kepler could advance in favor of their heliocentric theory as opposed to the older Ptolemaic theory.

    Is the path of the earth around the sun an ellipse? No. Only if the earth & sun are regarded as points and only if all other bodies in the universe are ignored. Do the four seasons on earth repeat themselves year after year? Hardly. Only in their grossest aspects, which are about all men can perceive anyway, do they repeat.

    Morris Kline- Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty- p 344, 350

    He [Copernicus] was able, in fact, to cite as a distinct advantage only the greater simplicity of his system. … Here lies one of the reasons which led scientists to accept the Copernican system, even though it must be conceded that, from the modern standpoint, practically identical results could be obtained by means of a somewhat revised Ptolemaic system.

    Hans Reichenbach- From Copernicus to Einstein- p18



    “the earth turns around” and “it’s more convenient to suppose the earth turns around” have the same meaning; there is nothing more in the one than in the other.

    Henri Poincare, Science & Hypothesis; p116-117.

    It may be convenient for certain purposes to regard the earth as the centre; but nothing can oblige us to do so. No part of the universe- Earth, Sun, or anything else- has any unique right to be called the ‘centre.’ Observed motions are all relative, and it is a matter of decision what point in the universe is to be selected as the central origin of reference.

    So the view that the earth is moving is just as admissible as the view that it is at rest.

    Toulmin, S. & Goodfield, J.-1961- The Fabric of the Heavens- p169

    From the point of view of modern science… there is no absolute frame of reference, only frames which are more or less convenient to use for the purpose at hand. A geocentric frame is useful for everyday activities … while a heliocentric frame is [useful] for solar-system mechanics …

    Wikipedia- Geocentric Model

    Motion is change in position; it is clear, however, that it cannot be observed unless it is a change in position relative to a certain body and not relative to an ideal space point. Is it meaningful, under these circumstances, to speak of absolute motion or of motion relative to space, if motion relative to other bodies only can be observed?

    According to this principle there exists only a motion of bodies relative to other bodies, and it is impossible to distinguish one of these bodies as being at rest, because rest means nothing but rest relative to another body, i.e.

    rest is itself a relative concept.

    Hans Reichenbach- Philosophy of Space and Time- p210


    How arrogant, and how ridiculous!

    The wisdom of Hashem Himself is manifest in the wonderful world we live in, and since His wisdom is infinite, the wisdom contained in the world is infinite.

    Now the question is: IF there is no creator, how did we get here? IF there is no Creator, then why do these organs seems so similar? The entire nonsense is only assumptions and wishful thinking, not logic or reason.

    Pashuteh Yid

    Joseph, time is short, but a few things.

    1) I started a thread about Scientific remazim which you might like.

    2) The business about the Heliocentric vs. the Geocentric theory cannot be defended by relativity. The reason is that the geocentric theory as put forth in the Rambam in beginning of Yad states that there are concentric hard spheres that turn and in which the heavenly bodies are embedded. Simply put, a set of concentric bowls will always have the smaller one in the middle and the bigger ones farther away. You can’t make an argument that the 3rd largest is the center and the others revolve around it. Try it, it won’t work.

    3) Why do you in general have such a problem with Chochma Bagoyim Taamin? That is all I and others are saying. Why must you believe that Chazal were superior in non-Torah matters? Rebbe Yehudah Hanasi did not have a problem. Why do you?

    David S.

    Joseph I know you won’t see this befpre shabbos, but really Yasher Koach for the scientific knowledge you shared. I might be able to learn some Halacha and such, but all of the Geocentric theories etc. I couldn’t do that without 3 or 4 months of learning Yasher Koach!

    Pashuteh Yid Yasher Koach for a convincing bunch of arguments that proved your point. You didn’t need to quote all the sources to prove your point, you used common sense as your point. Yasher Koach.

    For everyone; Why does everyone get the idea that our Chochomim are never wrong?! Only Hash-m Yisbarach is never wrong, but according to your arguments the Chochomim are an exception! The Chochomim were our exceptionally smart and learned leaders, but Moshe Rabbeinu, the greatest tzadik ever, was wrong in some of his decisions, but all the Chochomim surpass him in tzidkus and knowledge because they never erred! Come on let’s get a touch into reality.

    *For my last post please don’t call me an apikores, I fulfill the mitzvos and happen to disagree with you on a certain point, name-calling will not help me at all debate this out with you

    Gut Shabbos, David


    The fact that larger objects have a stronger gravatational pull then smaller ones has been proven by obeservation many times over and we can predict and have predicted how an object going by a larger body will travel based on this knowledge. It is the sun with its larger gravatational pull that makes the earth travel as it does so it therefore only makes sense to say that the earth goes around the sun and not the other way around.

    Also according to the Rambam (yisodei hatorah 3:4) the sun is located in the sphere between mercury and mars wich would mean that there should be no planets between mercury and mars except for the sun. We now know that this is simply not true (we live on a planet between mercury and mars and we arn’t on the sun!).

    We also find no mention of any planets other then those that were known at that time namley Mercury,Venus,Mars,Jupiter and Saturn we find no mention of either Uranus or Neptune (the reason why there are nine spheres mentioned by the rambam and others is because there was also beleived to be a sphere for the Moon, “Fixed stars” and “Prime mover” (5+3=9))


    Joseph, your knowledge of Torah may be quite good but your knowledge of astronomy and physics is to be blunt totally wrong.

    You can not accurately say that the Sun moves around the earth using Newtionain Physics or relativity. It just does not work that way, and all the hand waving won’t make it work. The Earth goes around the Sun. (Well technically they both go around the common center of mass, but the sun is about 1,000,000 times as massive as the Earth so thats a rather academic point).

    It may surprise you but in the 400 years since the telescope was first pointed at the night sky (and it is 400 years this year) our knowledge has expanded beyond what you probably imagine. If you really want to learn about it google “Richard Pogge Astronomy 161” and listen to his podcasts. (also 162)

    Eppuir Si Mouve (and yet still it moves)


    I meant 5+4=9 (cuz the earth is included as well)I hit the wrong key by mistake


    Zach, Your science is outdated and has long been replaced by Einstein. True, the theory of relativity is complicated, especially General Relativity (compared to Special Relativity), yet this is no reason for you to reject Einstein’s science due to your lack of understanding it. Einstein has supplanted pre-Newton science in various areas, as I have previously explained.

    I suggest you research Einstein’s “Principle of Equivalence”, which is essential to understanding General Relativity. Your last comment in the name of science, astrology, and physics is at odds with modern science. You are arguing with Einstein. I have quoted Hans Reichenbach, who Albert Einstein sat down with and taught Relativity to. Read my previous comments on this, but Reichenbach unequivocally writes in his book that saying the sun revolves around the earth is scientifically equivalent to stating the earth revolves around the sun. Again, I quote:

    “The cosmologies of Copernicus [Heliocentrism] & Ptolemy [Geocentrism] are kinematically equivalent; both of them are descriptions of the same facts, and Ptolemy’s epicycles of the planets are the kinematic equivalents of the circular orbits of Copernicus.”

    Hans Reichenbach, Philosophy of Space and Time, p. 210-211

    See additional elucidation and quotes in my previous comments.

    Pashuteh, I’ve clearly demonstrated from a purely modern scientific standpoint that stating the sun circles the earth is accepted as scientifically correct. I’ve also demonstrated that stating the sun circles the earth is accepted Torah. I honestly don’t know the Rambam you paraphrased offhand, I don’t know if it is a faithful translation, and if it is whether it is an accurate understanding of it. Nevertheless, if you look at this issue from a purely Torah standpoint or a purely scientific standpoint, this is its result.

    David, Please reread my opening post on this thread for the answer to your question. (Here are some of the relevant passages: Rema in Toras HaOlah 1:2, Ran Drashos #13, Maharal Ber Hagolah 6, etc.)

    You cannot reject Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and insist at using pre-Einstein Science to reject the Torah. I suggest a reading of Hans Reichenbach’s book “Philosophy of Space and Time.”


    I will not get into the specifics of how badly Joseph misunderstands modern science, but I am amused at how he quotes from many modern scientists to support his opinion that they themselves are absolutely wrong in every single thing they’ve ever said other than the quotes he pulls out of context.

    Carry on, though. I am enjoying this.


    It is amusing how those opposed to the Torah, and the science expressed in the Torah, will even reject modern science if it is found in accordance with the Torah!! In rejecting such science, they will not even attempt to refute it scientifically, but just attempt to use empty words like inaccurate, wrong, out of context, etc. without ever being able to specify what is correct!

    Chuck Schwab

    ulisis, Why r u afraid to “get into the specifics” of how this explanation of relativity is inapplicable here? I find it extremely convincing, and I have a strong background in advanced science and physics.

    If you disagree, refute it scientifically point-by-point (as hard as that will be). There are quite a few extremely strong and convincing points made by joseph on the preceding page.


    “Your science is outdated and has long been replaced by Einstein.”

    Actually, Zach knows what he is talking about. Einstein’s explanations are identical to those of Newton for the motion of the earth around the sun.

    And neither he nor I “reject the Torah”. Acceptance of modern science is completely compatible with Jewish belief.


    Scientists are involved in finding “scientific fact”, which is not the same as “truth”, or even plain “fact.” This is because scientists – not science – have agreed to restrict “scientific proof” to things that fulfill their own self-imposed criteria, which limits the type of truth they will find. Example: If an experiment cannot be reproduced in the laboratoy, it is not considered scientifically proven.

    Now while I understand the need for such restrictions in order to weed out charlatans, it also weeds out much truth. So that if you have a miraculous event, witnessed by millions of people, such as Kabbalas HaTorah, and documented meticulously, that is still not considered “proof” to the scientists.

    There are many methods of reaching truth that are not considered “scientific”. Philosophical, logical, and intuitive thinking is not “scientific proof”.

    Consider the following example of confusing “scientific proof” with “truth.”

    You have 100 impeccable witnesses stating that the defendant stabbed his victim to death, his fingerprints are on the knife, there are 100 contradictions in his own testimony, and he has been convicted in the past of committing the exact same type of murders, 30 times. None of that constitutes “scientific proof.” So “scientifically”, the defendant would be found “Not guilty”.

    Ironically, there is no scientific proof that the scientific method of proof is the most valid method of proof. Science finds truth to an extent. But only to an extent. The problem is, that often, philosophy, logic, and intuition also play a role in the quest for truth. And there, scientists are not trained, and worse, they are trained not to be interested.

    Science does not claim, really, to find “truth”. It is based on theory and falsification thereof. That is not enough for “truth.” The practice of science is the same as the practice of Law. You can have irrefutable evidence that the defendant committed the crime, but he will be found innocent because the evidence was obtained without a warrant. Here, too, there is a need for these self-imposed restrictions to maintain long term control over how law is practiced, but the practice of law does not always equal justice and the practice of science does not always equal truth.

    As long as they keep asking the question and using their self-imposed limitations of what they can accept as an answer, they are going to continue running around in circles, coming up with the wackiest things.

    And evolution should have long been considered “falsified” by now, since the world clearly had a Designer, and so there is no question left that the theory of evolution is needed to answer. The fact that evolution is still around, merely shows that science is an incomplete method of seeking truth.


    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.

    [this star]

    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.

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