April 2, 2014 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #612492
What is the Torah’s veiw on humans using their intelligence to control nature? I’m not talking about cross breeding and other ways of control that the Torah speaks explicitly against; rather controlling aspects of nature as a sort of “damage control”, like seeding clouds, changing the direction in which a body of water flows… Is this something we, as Jews, condone. Do we support the scientists’ dreams of a stable utopia where humans are in control of everything?April 2, 2014 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #1020341
Not sure where that J went in the thread title…could you add it in?April 2, 2014 7:23 pm at 7:23 pm #1020342
Humans naturally try to control nature.April 2, 2014 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #1020343benignumanParticipant
My understanding hashkafically is that the Torah is in favor of humans manipulating and improving nature for the betterment of humans. We are partners in creation.
There is a maaseh brought down in the Gemara where a Roman argued to Rabbi Akiva that bris milah was a perversion of the nature that Hashem created. Rabbi Akivah brought the Roman a cake and asked the Roman if he would rather eat a slice of cake or chew some wheat, raw eggs, raw sugar, drink some oil, etc. The Roman got the point.
I don’t think humanity will ever be fully in control of everything but it is certainly noble to try and harness nature for the betterment of as many people as possible.April 2, 2014 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm #1020344ChortkovParticipant
There is a similar maaseh brought down where somebody asked one of the tanoim about why it is correct to heal the sick – if G-d gave them an illness, apparently it is His will that they be sick. The Tanah answered with the same analogy, by giving him some wheat and telling him to eat it raw.
Apparently, regarding things that are in our capacity to control, HKB”H gave us the abilities to enable us to control.April 2, 2014 9:45 pm at 9:45 pm #1020345ED IT ORParticipant
Some people think its human nature to be controllingJune 17, 2014 9:50 pm at 9:50 pm #1020346
yekke2 – Apparently, regarding things that are in our capacity to control, HKB”H gave us the abilities to enable us to control.
But there are many things we can control, but are against the Torah.
benignuman – We are partners in creation.
Assuming this is correct (that we are actually partners in creation), where do we draw the line? If people can and do control everything, it will inevitably lead to feelings of “kochi v’otzem yadi”, and lack of awareness that there is a Greater Force running nature.June 17, 2014 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm #1020347
That is just silly, streekgeek. We are able to control nature to some extent because we are part of it. People will never be able to control everything, and we needn’t worry about that. We can control our attitudes, but we don’t have to limit our abilities.June 18, 2014 4:10 pm at 4:10 pm #1020348ChiYidMember
The question doesn’t really start. HKB”H created nature including effective influences on nature. For instance a chemical reaction when combining 2 or more substances changes it’s very nature but that ability was also create during maase braishis. So if we learned to control the weather, that would also have to have been part of the Master Plan. Now, what’s your question?June 18, 2014 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #1020349popa_bar_abbaParticipant
Let’s change the title to Perspective on Jews Controlling Nature. That should earn us a neonazi link.June 18, 2014 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #1020350HaLeiViParticipant
The Issur of Klayim is not because it is immoral. It is a Chok. We have no problem buying Klayim from a non-Jew in Chutz Laaretz. The only type of fooling around with the world that is Assur is Kishuf, since it is called Makchishim Pamalya Shel Maala — it is going against the system designed by Hashem. Doing things naturally is within the system.June 18, 2014 7:16 pm at 7:16 pm #1020351
So if we learned to control the weather, that would also have to have been part of the Master Plan. Now, what’s your question?
Why is that the Master Plan? Why would Hashem create a perfect world that is ultimately self sufficient in the humans’ eyes. Isn’t that defeating the whole purpose of the creation (which as I learnt is to see Yad Hashem in everything around us)? How can we be expected to see Hashem in nature if it is being controlled? Why is it okay in Judaism to control nature to such an extreme extent?June 18, 2014 8:42 pm at 8:42 pm #1020352
Because we’re not controlling nature, we’re working with it, following it’s laws, discovering more about it.June 19, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm #1020353benignumanParticipant
I don’t think people can and do control everything, or ever will. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t try and control nature for the benefit of mankind. Furthermore, this doesn’t mean that Hashem isn’t ultimately in control.
Dealing with kochem v’otzem yadi is a nisayon that we are meant to deal with. There is no gezeira that I am aware of to the effect that we should not harness nature for a good purpose becuase it might lead to kochem v’otzem yadi.June 19, 2014 2:06 pm at 2:06 pm #1020354Shopping613 🌠Participant
Everything is in control. Just not ours. 🙂
– My teacher
Everything is min hashomayim cept from yiras shomayim,June 19, 2014 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #1020355Sam2Participant
streekgeek: There is a Gemara that references that they changed the way a river flows. It has Halachic Nafka Minas, but nowhere did the Gemara seem to indicate (as I recall) that it was something that shouldn’t have been done.June 19, 2014 8:29 pm at 8:29 pm #1020356
Beavers do stuff like that all the time.
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