Just-a-guy

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  • in reply to: Is the FBI Anti-Semitic? #663375

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Joseph- when YWN posts photos of all the gatherings and ceremonies that the citizens of BP and Williamsburg, etc., have with the NYPD, FDNY, etc., and they show nice photos of Yidden shaking hands with Irish, Italian, Black and Hispanic police and such, should those people all believe that we really think that deep down you’re an anti-semite and this little ceremony where we give you a plaque is just a sham to get you to help us out, but we believe that deep down each one of you is our enemy, no matter how many good things you do to help us- is that what’s really going on?

    I don’t thinks so, but if that is the case, then I think you shouldn’t post things like what you wrote on the internet, lest they figure it out.

    Besides, doesn’t your hero Rush Limbaugh love the frum yidden? What about Giuliani?

    in reply to: Men Wearing Colored Shirts #669308

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Jewishandworking22, I don’t know that your tone is necessary, but I walk through the streets of manhattan and the corporate world everyday and I do dein to look at other individuals who hardly ever wear a plain black suit- no stripes, no pattern, no nothing, and a plain white shirt.

    Do goyim have white shirts and black or dark suits? Sure. Do they wear them in the same way as frum yidden? No. They accessorize, mix and match with colored shirts, ties, etc. There are hardly any goyim walking around in the yeshiva bochur uniform. Dark suits. Yes. White shirts, yes. An identifiable uniform- no.

    Would you walk through BP and tell me you get confused that you’re in midtown manhattan with everyone looking like wall street executives?

    in reply to: Men Wearing Colored Shirts #669306

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Cherrybim wrote: “Joseph – “The purpose of the white shirt, hat, jacket is “lo shinu es malbushayhen” – we want to dress differently than the seculars.”

    You mean the manufacturers only make white shirts, hats and jackets for frum Yidden? Of course not.”

    Yes, they’re manufactured for others, but Joseph is right. Its rare these days that you see a gentile wearing a plain black suit with a white shirt. Dark, sure, but plain black, with no stripes or pattern, with a plain white shirt usually indicates a frum yid.

    The kippah is usually a pretty good indicator too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    in reply to: Designer Labels #662866

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    The original post asked “should” not “can.” Of course you can. You can do a lot of things.

    in reply to: Designer Labels #662845

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Cantoresq- thanks. I’ve bought their shirts and ties, but never the suits. They do have good sales.

    in reply to: Designer Labels #662831

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Ames, disapproval of ostentatious displays of wealth is different than denigrating those who have more than them. Furthermore, there is a distinction between high quality, expensive, yet unassuming, non-attention drawing clothing, versus clothing where the central design feature is a label, on the outside, designed to draw attention to yourself and your apparent wealth. If a wealthy man wants to pay a tailor to make him some expensive custom made suits, with nothing to distinguish that they are expensive (other than the custom fit and quality fabric) that is fine. If someone says, let me buy a suit that will show my neighbors how much I can afford to spend on clothing, that is a different story altogether.

    in reply to: Designer Labels #662816

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Cantoresq- would you mind posting the name of this label?

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663655

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Harav HaGoan- I’m not asking you to change history. I am asking you to behave with common decency, kindness and respect towards someone who supports you even if they have shortcomings of their own. Why is that so difficult?

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663653

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Harav HaGoan wrote:

    “feif un and starwolf: those philanthropists whose aid Rav Aaron Kotler and other Roshei Yeshivos enlisted in starting their mosdos were hardly MO. (which arguably didn’t exist at the time) they were conservative, reform, traditional, or just plain frei. if you really want to align yourselves with them, go right ahead.”

    This strikes me as a very odd comment. Those philanthropiists were so frei that they thought aiding Rav Aaron Kotler was worthwhile.

    Do you think any of those frei philanthropists would be interested in supporting those mosdos if they knew this was how they’d be spoken of? It defies common decency.

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663584

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Joseph, this will be my last post on this thread, but myself and others have asked what was your purpose in making the OP. Others, but not you, have offered that this is a place to debate and that we should be able to debate issues. But now, it seems somewhat clear that your purpose was not to invite a debate, or even a discussion (a little strange for a chat room) but merely to present facts.

    You may be content to tell me I’m wrong, but the presentation of facts (not the facts themselves, but the manner in which they are presented) can be divisive.

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663580

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    “jag – aryeh’s opening and closing statements are entirely consistent with each other.”

    I guess if you say so, Joseph, you are correct about my subjective perception.

    Folks, this is what I’ve been saying about this is not a debate.

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663573

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    aryeh3- I know you mean well, but in my opinion, your opening, “f a Jew finds it to be so, the problem is with the Jew…” to be inconsisent with your closing- “as individual Jews, all should be embraced…” A Jew who drives to “temple” on Yom Kippur, however misguided he may be, is trying to maintain a connection to Judasim, and telling him that there is a problem with him, particularly if he won’t give up his classical music, college and love of astronomy, won’t make him want to learn more and change.

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663571

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    There are those who tend to see history as only going in one direction, but I have a theory. It is not going in one direction but rather constantly expanding and contracting. I’m not sure if that metaphor works, but allow me to explain-

    Let’s suppose that recently in history, but prior to the present, Jews developed a movement/stream/whatever you want to call it, known as Modern Orthodoxy, in response to what was seen as an unworkable, impractical, or suffocating version of Yiddishkeit that was too close to the sthetl, and not close enough to the modern world. After a time, that movement began to flourish and grow strong and new generations were born into that movement. Eventually, those subsequent generations, as some on this thread have commented, looked at Modern Orthodoxy, and found the spiritual fulfillment that it offered to be wanting, and so they turned rightward, restoring something that more closely resembled the brand of Yiddishkeit previously rejected by the generations before them. Some may celebrate this, and others may lament it, but either way, it has happened. But what then will happen to their children? Well, I predict that eventually, after generations of wealthy father-in laws have died out, and other cultural and demographic changes occur, the children of the newly Ultra-Orthodox who are the offspring of Modern Orthodox will look at their parents and say, why do I have to dress like this, why can’t I go to college, why must my life be confined to these few blocks in this particular community, etc. And the reaction will be that they create a new modern Orthodoxy. And there will be Rabbonim who will decry this, as harmful to the Jewish people, and others still who will celebrate this development as something that will strengthen the Klal, by allowing more of them to reamin in the fold and take on important roles in the world. And then eventually, just like before, the cycle will renew again.

    Now, you might ask, what is my point? I suppose its this- neither side has to get too happy, or too upset, at the demise of Modern vs. Ultra, or vice versa, as whoever is on top for the moment, will not last for long, unless of course, we figure out a way to live without these distinctions.

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663570

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    As always, PY is a voice of reason.

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663557

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Joseph- I don’t disagree. I ask again though, what is your purpose in brining them to everyone’s attention?

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663554

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    I still don’t understand what is being “debated” here.

    Is it whether Modern Orthodox exists?

    Whether it is a good idea, or a bad idea?

    Whether Joseph accurately quoted and transcribed what certain figures have said about Modern Orthodoxy?

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663550

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    “jag – So are you therefore suggesting (with your last comment) that one cannot quote a Gadol? That is how your comment clearly comes across, and it is incorrect.”

    You can quote a Gadol whenever you like, but if you are of the belief that the Gedolim are correct on certain (or all) matters, then I don’t see how you can say that you are initiating a debate (that’s not necessarily your word, but others here have asked what’s wrong with debate). In fact, if you believe that the Gedolim are correct on a certain issue, than you’d probably agree that its improper to invite debate on that particular point.

    So the question remains, what is it you are trying to accomplish by starting a thread with statements from the Gedolim on modern Orthodoxy? I don’t think its inviting debate- what is it? Some, might reasonably conclude that the purpose is to denigrate. Please note, I don’t think the words of the Gedolim are denigrating. Rather, the act of someone else saying here, look what the Gedolim say about certain people can be denigrating. I assume you have not malintentions, but it is unclear to me, and I think to others, what the purpose of your original post is.

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663545

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    OP: This is what [INSERT GADOL HERE] said about X.

    Debater: I disagree.

    OP: How can you disagree? You’re not disagreeing with me, you’re disagreeing with [PREVIOUSLY REFERENCED GADOL] and you couldn’t possibly disagree with him, could you?

    The above is not a debate.

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663542

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    NY Mom is correct. Without knowing anything else about Joseph’s point or purpose, the OP is divisive. That Joseph is merely quoting others who state true things doesn’t make it any less divisive. Would it be any less divisive if someone were to quote true news articles about improper activities that ultra-Orhtodox have been involved in, even if true, and even if just copies of things other people said?

    I am not a kiruv professional, but common sense tells me that “here’s what you could do to improve,” is a better approach than “what you are doing is wrong.”

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663526

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    “The Coffee Room is supposed to be a place for intellectual debate, not just a social gathering. What’s wrong with intellectual debate, as long as one realizes that nothing said here is sharir vekayam uuntil one speaks to a LOR?

    There are two problems with the “intellectual debate” posited here.

    1) It is not actually a debate, as both sides tend to wholly ignore the points made by the other.

    2) An essay on something like, the fundamental flaws in the contemporary Haredi lifestyle, would not be tolerated, which is another variation on point 1- that this is not a debate.

    in reply to: Modern Orthodox Judaism #663517

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Joseph- what is it that you hope to accomplish in starting this thread?

    in reply to: College, Secular Studies & Judaism #1169469

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    I think this just for parnosso vs. knowledge for its own sake distinction is a false one.

    In a learned profession, the best students (who end up with the best parnosso) are curious and passionate about the subject matter. They do not simply do only what they need to get by, and nothing more, as that doesn’t get you anywhere in a challenging professional program. Succesful students go the extra mile. Law students work on the law review and write articles. Medical students do research beyond that which is merely required to pass. People read articles that are of interest to them within their field and expand their knowledge and expertise. Now, you might say, people only do those things to enhance their ability to earn a good parnosso. That is not correct. There is a passion and an aptitude that allows one to succeed in graduate or professional studies, and that passion has to be nurtured.

    Moreover, I don’t think anyone here would want to be treated by a doctor, represented by a lawyer, etc., who throughout school, deliberately tried to make sure they learned no more than what was necessary, who never went that extra mile to develop greater expertise.

    Succesful professionals love their work, and that interest in their work is something they had to nurture, not suppress.

    I’ve had many jobs, some of which were mindless and boring and I did only to put food on the table. Now I am a professional, and the work is both more enjoyable, and more fulfilling than when I had unskilled jobs, but it is also more demanding, and I could not do it if I had no interest in it. Whether you call that for parnosso, or for its own sake, I don’t think there’s much of a difference.

    in reply to: College, Secular Studies & Judaism #1169450

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    I’ll preface this by saying that all of the above-named Rabbonim know better than I, but the question that all of this prompts is how can Yidden serve as a light unto nations if they do not have things like basic english studies?

    in reply to: Bochurim Hitching Rides on Avenue M #661556

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    “i didn’t say they don’t but the yidden definitely do much MUCH more chessed. And BTW, i NEVER saw a goy pick up a public school child from a bus stop to bring him to school.”

    I feel like this discussion has taken somewhat of a silly turn, but I understood the mitzvah of offering a yeshiva bochur a ride to Yeshiva to derive from the importance of what the bochur is going to be doing once he gets there, i.e., learning Torah. Why would a goyische driver need to offer a ride to a strange goyische kid so that he could go to school to learn about goyische music, that man comes from apes, and anti-semitic literature in public school?

    in reply to: Bochurim Hitching Rides on Avenue M #661545

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    “I meaned that you shouldn’t ask for rides, but if someone stops… “

    If someone stops, they are most likely trying to do a chesed. But there’s a small chance they are a bad guy. I wish that weren’t the case, but it is.

    in reply to: Yeshivah Boy in a Co-ed College #661692

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    To follow up on what oomis said, its not just about jobs and tasks, its about knowledge, the opposite of ignorance. There was a long discussion on another thread which I won’t rehash about the sources of knowledge and hot to attain knowledge.

    in reply to: Yeshivah Boy in a Co-ed College #661686

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    I tend to be pretty left wing as far as this crowd goes, and I’m all for yeshiva boys getting a good secular education, but even I recognize that a co-ed dorm situation (not a classroom situation) would be very, very problematic.

    in reply to: Yeshivah Boy in a Co-ed College #661662

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    “And some Torah Jews (men and women) may be interested in education for its own sake–whether in science, medicine, Yiddish culture, Tanach, English literature, law, etc.”

    That is completely the antithesis of Judaism.

    About half the discussions here get to this point eventually, right?

    in reply to: Bochurim Hitching Rides on Avenue M #661525

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    HIE- while your love of Klal Yisrael is admirable, please do not teach your children that it is ok to get in a car with strangers. Please!

    in reply to: Bochurim Hitching Rides on Avenue M #661487

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    I’d guess that the bochrim in Japan also thought they were just doing something nice for a frum person.

    How about that “frum” fellow in Lakewood a few years back? Would you get in a car with him?

    My only concern is safety. Don’t get in cars with strangers and don’t take strangers in your cars.

    in reply to: Music and “Spiritual Health” #661453

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Feivel- I’m still curious to know why you said you wouldn’t listen to Beethoven. Is it because you are too busy with family, profession, Torah study, you’ve lost interest? Forgive me if I’m being too personal.

    in reply to: Music and “Spiritual Health” #661450

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    While I’m generally not a fan of the cut and paste, sometimes its useful. From Rabbi Ullman @ Ohr Somayoch-

    From: Stephanie in RI

    Dear Rabbi,

    Dear Stephanie,

    Music is considered by Judaism to be one of the seven classical, pure wisdoms. Music is therefore viewed as being very uplifting, and conducive to such higher states as Divine inspiration and prophecy. For these reasons, music was an instrumental part of the service in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

    Of course, as with most things, music can be holy and pure, or it can be an expression of, and can engender, un-holiness and impurity. The music used by the Jewish prophets and mystics to attain inspiration, and the music played by the Levites in the Temple, was based on ancient, Divinely inspired nigunim (tunes). As a counterpoint, music has always accompanied the pursuit of idolatrous and immoral states of ecstasy as well. Even today, certain types of music specifically play on such base inclinations.

    Most classical music, while not as spiritual as the ancient Jewish melodies, is nevertheless refined and elevating. It is usually pleasant to listen to, and often intends to convey majestic, subliminal impressions and ideas. Accordingly, while it would be generally preferable to listen to refined, uplifting Jewish music, listening to most types of classical music is also okay.

    in reply to: Music and “Spiritual Health” #661448

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Feivel wrote: but that “to test Jews” is a cop out answer!?

    are you aware that it is an Ikar of Judaism that the entire purpose of EVERYTHING that is created is to test Jews so that they may exercise their Bechirah and earn Olam Ha Boh

    Feivel, I agree that you are correct that the entire purpose of everything is to test Jews so that they may exercise their Bechirah and earn Olam Ha Boh. That doesn’t mean however, that avoid it, its bad, is the correct answer to every part of the test.

    in reply to: Music and “Spiritual Health” #661447

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Feivel, another common and useful way to proceed in logical argumentation is when you say something like “i wouldn’t listen to Beethoven” you follow that up with a reason. You have not done so. I know that stalin, nuclear bombs, and las vegas are all to be avoided in one way or another. Beethoven is not so obvious to me, so I’m curious to know why you wouldn’t listen to Beethoven. You have yet to offer a reason.

    in reply to: Music and “Spiritual Health” #661444

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Feivel- it is an argument. To put Beethoven’s music, stalin, nuclear bombs and las vegas all in the same category is not an argument. It is rather silly.

    in reply to: Music and “Spiritual Health” #661441

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Yoyo wrote: “because he put his heart into the song!!! all of his goyish taavois and feelings are now placed into the beats so no matter if the song was goyish and ther’s now jewish lyrics, the song now is still consider bad!!!! you realize the negativity when you tap your feet or sway your body in a non yiddish way.”

    How do you tap your feet or sway your body in a non yiddish way? My LOR says listening to classical music is fine as long as it is not religious music.

    Didn’t Hashem create Beethoven and give him his abilities?

    in reply to: Bochurim Hitching Rides on Avenue M #661476

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    I think its very simple- don’t take rides from strangers, even friendly strangers who dress like you.

    in reply to: Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous? #660655

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    There is a story on the “front page” of yeshivaworld about a ruling of the Poskei Hador on Shabbos elevators. According to the story, elevator engineers and technicians were consulted. I think that is significant.

    in reply to: Music and “Spiritual Health” #661419

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    What music would be considered unkosher? Any music by a goy? Or just goyische religious music, or goyische-themed music? What about music by a Jew that doesn’t have any particular Jewish content? Just wondering.

    in reply to: Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous? #660617

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Feivel wrote: “A scientific theory….. is an explanation that accounts for the facts observed.

    you have to understand, however, that a basic principle of science is that: “just because: if a particular explanation were true, then that would explain the observed facts, does NOT make the theory true or even likely.”

    for example:

    my car didnt start today

    well if it were the case that an escaped monkey poured some sugar in my gastank that WOULD explain why my car didnt start. but it is not a proof of my monkey theory.”

    While I believe that this statement is technically correct, I think it gives only a partial picture of how science works. Once the monkey poured sugar in my gas tank theory is formulated, a scientist would set about to test it. And while tests will never be conclusive, the will make something more likely. If you formulate the theory that your engine is not starting because a monkey poured sugar in your gas tank, the next step to test this theory would be to leave your monkey, uncaged, with an open box of sugar in your garage for a certain amount of days, and also leave your car in the garage without the monkey and sugar for a certain number of days as a control. If everytime you left the monkey and sugar with the car, it failed to start, that would make it more likely, although not conclusive that the monkey theory is correct, particularly if on the days in the control group, the car started.

    You’re making it sound as if scientists just make up the most ridiculous thing they can find to explain an observable phenomenon, and that’s not the case. Before a theory is accepted as a good (but by nature, not definitive) theory, it is subject to rigorous testing.

    in reply to: Obamanomics #659977

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Lowering the demand for gasoline and arab oil is good for the economy and the country in every term. Your original post assumes a fixed oil price of 70$, which is an improper way of examining this question. Also, to totally examine the overall effect on the economy, you need to consider the resulting economic activity generated by the purchases from the dealers.

    in reply to: Obamanomics #659975

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    If the cars are more efficient, that will mean lower consumption of gasoline, which means lower demand for oil, which means lower oil prices and lower costs.

    in reply to: Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous? #660561

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    I’m not saying anyone should do either of these things, but just asking- isn’t wondering whether Chazal could have invented an airplane or performed open-heart surgery, or built a rocket ship different than wondering whether indeed the world is Hashem’s creation and the Torah his word?

    in reply to: Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous? #660539

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Poshite Yid 613- I think whether one finds science books and the “depressing theories and hypothesies” boring is just a matter of personal taste. Some people hear music and want to learn to play an instrument. Others are just content to listen to the music. No big deal.

    in reply to: Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous? #660530

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    “BS”D

    Again, Ames, what are you setting out to learn? The positions of the stars? Their brightness and even their composition? Or their supposed origins?

    Only the last can be spiritually damaging, and even that is not a given if all you want to find out is how we understand the way Hashem created them. The Torah is not meant to give us the technical details of creation, only to make it clear Who created the world and for what purpose. Parshas Bereishis is hard enough to listen to on Simchas Torah; would you like to hear a series of chemical reactions as well? (The only chemical reaction that matters on Simchas Torah is the reaction of ethanol with various human cell structures….)

    The problem is only found in cases of brainwashing by those who use their findings to deny Hashem and the authenticity of the Torah.”

    Well said.

    in reply to: Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous? #660475

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    Joseph- when you are sick do you go to a doctor or a Rabbi?

    in reply to: Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous? #660464

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    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. 26

    in reply to: Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous? #660460

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    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.

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