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26

No. There is no problem with programming in Judaism. As far as mimicking G-d's creation, we do that all the time: all craftsmen create things. In fact, we are commanded to mimic G-d in certain ways: Leviticus 19:2 from Mechon Mamre. -קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ: כִּי קָדוֹשׁ, אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם. -Ye shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy. And ...


19

As an observant astrophysicist (pun intended; I'm actually a theorist), I get this question a lot. Personally, most answers I have heard seem rather contrived and do little justice to either the science or the Torah. The study of physics and the study of Torah are both wonderful pursuits of a "higher truth," but they consist of very different methods and ...


17

That is one reason, sure; in general, Hashem gave us rules of what to do and not to do, in order to refine us (Bereishis Rabbah 44:1). But aside from that, the various non-kosher animals have their roles to play in the ecosystem - as predators, scavengers, etc. Also, some of them are also useful to us in capacities other than food: consider horses, camels, ...


17

The Gemara (Chagigah 12a) records a debate about this. One opinion (R' Elazar and R' Yaakov) is that the light referred to here is an intense light with special powers; G-d afterwards concealed it, realizing that there would be unworthy people who wouldn't deserve to make use of such light, and set it aside as part of the future reward of the righteous. The ...


15

According to the Rambam in the Guide of the Perplexed "Whenever it is possible to interpret the words of an individual in such a manner that they confirm to a being whose existence has been demonstrated, this is the conduct that is more fitting and most suitable for an equitable man of exellent nature." Even though I'm certain this will be controversial, ...


12

First, it may not be valid to assume that creation was bound by the laws of science as we now understand them. Why should we assume that the very first plants grew by photosynthesis in the same way that plants do now? Or if we do, why not assume that the primordial light created on the first day was enough to produce this effect? But setting all that ...


11

Seder Olam Rabbah, by R. Yosei ben Chalafta (2nd century), gives a unified chronology from Creation until his own times (although the last part of it, covering the Second Temple era and its aftermath, is given pretty short shrift). The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 9b) quotes a baraisa (also from, at the latest, the 2nd or early 3rd century) that makes a prediction ...


10

The answer is, at the heart, there is broad consensus among the Rishonim that when necessary one may depart from the "literal" meaning (apparent intent, peshat) of the Torah text (though even then there are limits). We are left with a few things to work out: How do we define necessary? Does our difficulty rise to the level of "necessary"? Does departing ...


10

I think I remember learning in elementary school that the Moon and the Sun had, as they have now, the same angular diameter when viewed from the Earth, and they also had coronas of equal size, so their total sizes, including coronas, were equal. When the Moon complained about their equality, literally in terms of a "crown" (which a corona resembles and which ...


10

Rabbi Shnuer Zalman of Liadi has a lengthy discourse (Likutey Torah Parshas Re'eh 26c), where he discusses this question. He asks how this statement in the Talmud implying that the creation of man was a negative thing correlates with the explicit verse in Parshas Be'reshis that "Hashem saw all that he created, and it was very good." He sums it up the ...


9

In the Guide of the Perplexed, Chapter XIV, the Rambam comments on "behold the height of the stars, how high they are!" (Job xxii. 12) that is to say, learn from the height of the heavens how far we are from comprehending God, for there is an enormous distance between ourselves and these corporeal objects, and the latter are greatly distinguished ...


9

There are many explanations to the significance of creating Eve from Adam's rib. By the way, it's not a universal opinion that "tzela" should be translated as "rib" (Hazal have also transalted it as "side," which works with the midrash of them being originally joined together). Going with the "rib" translation, here are a few explanations. Bereshit Rabbah ...


8

The 'catch all' meaning of the word 'yom' is 'time period' The precise meaning of yom in tanach has 4 meanings depending on the context. Either Yom as in daylight (12 hours) Yom as a single day (24 hours) Yom as a year or two (As used in shmuel and Yehoshua) Yom can be an indefinite amount of time, such as the word 'b'yom meaning 'when, or the phrase ...


8

Among the classical Torah commentators, there are those that interpret that whole Garden of Eden story as being literal historical fact, while others interpret it allegorically. The main authority who treats it as allegory is Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim (Volume 2, Chapter 30), and according to his interpretation, the snake represents a person's "appetitive ...


8

The explanation referenced in my answer here (I'm still looking for the underlying source - it must be in some maamar or sicha) seems to indicate that the "diminishment" is closer to your second possibility - though focusing not so much on the moon's waxing and waning, but on the fact that it is not self-luminous but receives its light from the sun. (Is ...


8

Try this article at Chabad.org, which quotes (in translation) the classic sources on the subject. Briefly, it's the idea that Hashem first created the ten sefiros as the "world of Tohu," as independent entities, where each one is is exclusively "thus and no other way" - i.e., chesed ("kindness") is pure chesed, gevurah ("severity") is pure gevurah, etc.; ...


8

Pesachim 54A says the rainbow was created on the sixth day: Ten things were created on the eve of the Sabbath at twilight. These are they: the well, the manna, the rainbow, the writing and the writing instrument[s], the Tables, the sepulchre of Moses, the cave in which Moses and Elijah stood, the opening of the ass's mouth, and the opening of the earth's ...


8

A simple explanation is that the when G-d created the world 5772 years ago, He did not create it as a "brand-new" world, but rather created the world in a state as if it had been existing for many years previously. This is quite evident from the fact that the sin of the Tree of Knowledge occurred on the same day Adam was created. He was obviously "born" ...


7

The days of B'raishis are referred to commonly by Hazal as Sheishes Yimei B'raishis. However it does say "Vayichal Elokim BaYom HaShvi'i which means the Almighty finished on the 7th day. Rashi is bothered by the fact that the verse said right after Yom Hashishi that "The heavens and Earth and all their hosts were completed". Did Hashem finish on the 7th or ...


7

The Seder Olam Rabbah added up all of the generations in the Torah and those in the rest of Biblical history to determine how many years had passed since the Creation of Adam. By that reckoning, 5770 years have now elapsed since that Creation. Genesis 1 describes Six Days between the initial Creation of "the Heavens and the Earth" and the Creation of Adam. ...


7

Short answer: There are different opinions, each with their own proofs and backings. Long answer: Avi's answer explains the different meanings of "yom" quite well. It is my understanding that up until recently, most Rabbis agreed that in regard to creation, it meant a 24 hour period. Once scientists came up with theories about the age of the universe many ...


7

R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi (in Tanya, Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah ch. 4) explains that the name Elokim "shields" the name Havayah, and makes it possible for finite and (seemingly) independent creatures to exist in the first place. Thus, Elokim represents (and is the source of) the tzimtzum, the "contraction" of Divine energy that made "room" for the various ...


7

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman has an excellent article entitled "What is the Purpose of Existence?" He thoroughly examines the classical answers to the question of G-d's purpose in creating the world (to reveal His abilities, to be able to practice good etc), and explains the difficulties with them, and concludes with the explanation offered by the Chassidic masters: ...


6

Prof. Nathan Aviezer wrote a book "בראשית ברא" answering questions about the creation in torah view. There he claims the 6 days of creation to be 6 periods of time that didn't necessarily last 24 hours. Moreover - maybe it was one cycle of dark&light, but thing happened at a quicker pace. Take, for example, a person's growth. If you were to calculate ...


6

If we count from the mabul we get a different answer. According to this site, the mabul began in 1658, and it lasted a year, so it ended in 1659, 4114 years ago. 4114 is 17 times 242. Cicadas come from the ground when, after their rest period (which varies by species) the ground warms up. I would think that the mabul would have reset that clock and the ...


6

Kabbala (Jewish mysticism) talks about there being multiple worlds, but our laws of who-is-a-Jew basically pertain to the world that we know right now. Reincarnation is a concept stressed by kabbalists starting in the late 1500s, though some traditionalists challenged it. Today I'd say most rabbis have heard of the concept, but if someone doesn't believe in ...


5

See Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar for "Farther Use of the Construct State". It can be used in cases of apposition, where it does not mean X of Y, but rather X which is Y. Thus, I would assume that חַיַּת רְאֵמִים indeed means animals which ARE re'eimim. I don't know the specific motivations for this irregular (though acceptable grammar) -- whether it is meter or ...


5

There is evil in the world so that we can appreciate the good. There is death in the world so that we can appreciate life. There is an evil inclination inside of us so that the good we do means something. As the Talmud tells us: Resh Lakish said: "Satan, the Evil Inclination, and the Angel of Death are all one." (Baba Bathra 16a) See this article ...


5

Challenge edited by Cyril Domb and Aryeh Carmell has an extensive (and I think varied) set of articles and source texts on this subject. I'm reading it now, so I can't say more about the book yet, but it's worth a read.


5

When science says "the world is 13,000,000,000 years old", they are not saying "I was there. I have a video. I KNOW". They say "based on the evidence that I have, and based on the laws of nature that I observe, the world could have been created like this. Or maybe not. Maybe there are other scientific laws involved that we just don't know about. We don't ...



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