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3
votes
2answers
128 views

Shouldn't the flood have ended on the 18th of Cheshvan?

Inspired by this question: New date at sunset: question on Sifse Chachamim The Torah tells us that the Flood started the 17th of Cheshvan (Bereshit 7:11) and concluded the 27th of Cheshvan (Bereshit ...
5
votes
2answers
108 views

Why did Hashem create the world in such a way that a leap year is needed?

I understand why we have a leap year; to keep the sun and moon cycles in sync, so that Pessach is always in the spring. That's all technical, as a result of the moon orbiting too slowly - or the sun ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

Counting years according to the solar calendar

I once heard there is an opinion in Rishonim (maybe Gaonim?) that says we count ones years of life according to the solar calender. So for example a boy would become bar mitzvah when he would turn 13 ...
1
vote
3answers
116 views

What does “shachar” in “alos hashachar” mean?

We find a number of terms referring to when morning starts and then perhaps a similar term used to refer to the time of shachris. Alos HaShachar (עלות השחר) Ayeles HaShachar (אילת השחר) and Shacharis ...
8
votes
1answer
161 views

Is there an exhaustive list of astronomical/environmental events for which there are blessings?

Inspired by: What Bracha should you say on a Hurricane? What Blessing Does One Make on a Solar Eclipse? Bracha for the transit of Venus? What b'racha do you say on seeing the Aurora Borealis (if ...
5
votes
1answer
115 views

What b'racha do you say on seeing the Aurora Borealis (if any)?

If one is so lucky as to see the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) or its southern equivalent, does one say a b'racha? If so which one? I've heard that oseh ma'aseh v'reishit applies to comets and ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Plants before the Sun in the Order of Creation

Why does plant life precede the Sun in the order of creation given that plants need the Sun to do photosynthesis?
3
votes
1answer
78 views

Conservative Kiddush Levanah

The version of Kiddush Levanah printed in the Conservative movement's siddur omits the verse "כשם שאני רוקד כנגדך..." I've heard that this is because the Conservative movement believes that in an age ...
5
votes
3answers
257 views

How many stars did Rashi think there were?

According to the Chabad translation, Rashi on Deut. 1:10 implies that there are more than 600,000 stars: The Lord, your God, has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as the stars of the ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

Astrology in the Torah

The Torah seems to have many examples where astrology is deemed real. (such as the astrology predictions that Moshe would be struck by water which made Paraoh throw the jewish males in the nile river. ...
2
votes
2answers
101 views

Stars are living creatures?

the Rambam in yesodei torah says that stars are creatures with intellect. how do we reconcile this with modern science which says that they are merely inanimate balls of hydrogen and helium gas.
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Can one say the b'rocho of borai meorai hoeash on stars

On motsai shabbos we make havdala and also make a b'rosho borai morai hoeish on what is called today the havdala. If one does not have one and no means of making a 'light' can one make the b'rosho on ...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

Significance of number 613 regarding the mitzvot

According to the Talmud (Makos 23b) "Moshe received 613 Mitzvos. They are 365 Lavim (negative commandments), corresponding to the days of the (solar) year, and 248 Mitzvos Aseh (positive ...
5
votes
1answer
212 views

Is the midrash about the moon and sun being the same size intended literally?

The Rambam in his introduction to perek Chelek discusses midrashic literalist, and classifies different approaches of different groups to midrash. He writes: You should know that as to ...
6
votes
1answer
143 views

Aruch Hashulchan's moon-distance estimate

Aruch Hashulchan, Orach Chayim 397:1, says that a מיל is the same as a Russian верста (verst) or 500 сажен (sazhen), which comes to 1066.8 meters. In 426:2, he says the distance to the moon is about ...
5
votes
4answers
89 views

How to care about the molad

I have read the great answers to Purpose of announcing Molad and understood that the halakhic reason to know the molad is to know what the Sanhedrin would know when they declared a new month. But ...
1
vote
0answers
35 views

Why did God create outer space? [duplicate]

Everything God does has a reason. He created the world for us to serve him. How does most of outer space help us serve God. Or just plainly why was space created?
4
votes
0answers
48 views

Levana or Yareach?

In the entire Tanach the moon is generally called Yareach. There are 3 instances where it is called Levana. One is ישעיהו: כד. כג. וחפרה הלבנה ובושה החמה. Another one is ישעיהו: ל. כו. והיה אור הלבנה ...
6
votes
0answers
66 views

What defines “on this earth” from a halachic standpoint?

Rabbi Ben-Zion Firrer asked whether Torah Law must be observed in space, since Deuteronomy 12:1 says one should follow the Commandments "all of the days which you are alive on this earth." What ...
3
votes
0answers
81 views

On what basis do we understand references to Orion and the Pleiades in Iyov?

Iyov 38:31-32 reads: הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ מוֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ: . הֲתֹצִיא מַזָּרוֹת בְּעִתּוֹ וְעַיִשׁ עַל בָּנֶיהָ תַנְחֵם: Can you tie the chains of the Pleiades ...
8
votes
3answers
257 views

Permissibility of images of celestial bodies

There is precedent in halachah that one may not create images of celestial bodies such as the moon and stars; see here for background. This is derived in the Gemara from the pasuk "Do not make [images ...
0
votes
2answers
149 views

When did hashem stop the sun?

As in the time of milchemes Ay, Hashem stopped the sun for 36 hours . Where else in Tanach did it happen? I need more then one.
1
vote
1answer
106 views

What was the first Hebrew date of the first Molad?

If one were to represent the Molad Tohu as a date, comprised of a month, day, year, hours, minutes, seconds, and chalakim, what date would that be?
6
votes
1answer
141 views

What does Maimonides say about geocentrism?

I have read that Maimonides described the universe in a geocentric fashion, but I have not been able to find the specific passages to which they refer. What does Maimonides say about geocentrism?
4
votes
1answer
153 views

Why make a bracha on an earthquake but not on an eclipse?

According to this page, Chaza"l intentionally omitted solar and lunar eclipses from the list of natural phenomena upon which we make a bracha. The following explanation is given: "The Hebrew term ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

Why does it get darker in Israel quicker?

Why is it that it gets darker in Eretz Yisroel quicker than in the USA, making for a shorter Ben Hash'moshos?
9
votes
2answers
174 views

Bracha for the transit of Venus?

Venus is transiting today for the last time until 2117 (or 5878, if you prefer). Is there a specific bracha that should be made upon witnessing this spectacular event?
3
votes
1answer
119 views

Good and Bad Omen - on something that can be calculated in advance

Inspired by Why make a bracha on an earthquake but not on an eclipse? When something can be predicted in advance to an exact moment - for example an eclipse which Chazal say it is a bad Omen (Sukkah ...
6
votes
4answers
405 views

Eclipse of the moon, bad sign for the Jews

Tonight, December 20, 2010, there will be a full lunar eclipse visible from North America and many other areas. I recall there is a Gemara that says that a lunar eclipse is a bad omen for the Jews as ...
14
votes
7answers
441 views

How did the moon shrink?

The Bavli, Chulin 60:2, says (in my own loose translation): Rabbi Shim'on ben Pazi noted a contradiction: [B'reshis 1:16] says, "God made the two big luminaries" and "the big luminary… and ...
4
votes
6answers
763 views

What's with Kiddush Levana?

In general Kiddush Lavanah has always seemed to me to be akin to "Avodas Kochavim" - so does anyone know of a satisfying answer that works with Occam's razor? More specifically: We say Just as I can ...
4
votes
1answer
255 views

Jewish Sunrise and Sunset

How can one calculate Jewish sunrise and sunset? I'm not necessarily asking for a formula. Just wondering if there's a difference between Halachik rise/set and what the world considers [e.g. science] ...
11
votes
1answer
193 views

What Blessing Does One Make on a Solar Eclipse?

What Blessing Does One Make on a Solar Eclipse? I will be in Nevada next week and would like to make a blessing over the May 21 Solar Eclipse. Thanks!
8
votes
2answers
289 views

Minhag not to view moon through a window?

I have a vague memory of being told not to gaze at the moon through the glass of a window. I think it had something to do with kabbalah. I know it's permitted to say kiddush levanah by looking at the ...
7
votes
2answers
375 views

Magen Avraham - Practically no Plag HaMinḥah or just no Plag HaMinḥah in winter?

Calling all science and math-oriented Judaism.SE-ers! According to the website MyZmanim.com, today's Halachic times where I work are as follows (only a handful of times are shown because the question ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

New date at sunset: question on Sifse Chachamim

Avoda Zara 25 cites a difference of opinion as to how long the sun stood still for Y'hoshua: twelve hours, twenty-four, or thirty-six. According to those who say twelve or thirty-six, the sun finally ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

Why is my molad-time chart off by a day?

The HaMaor Mikraos Gedolos chumash has a chart of molad (forecasted first visibility of the new moon in Jerusalem, based on averages observable to the naked eye, assuming Jerusalem local time; am I ...
9
votes
2answers
289 views

Latest shabbat not longest day…?

I was under the impression that the longest day was June 22nd, and yet, year after year- the latest time for candle lighting takes place about a week and a half after that. Intuitively, the latest ...