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18

I think it is fruitless to try to prove torah to non-believers, though people try (e.g. the "torah codes" folks looking for hidden messages in the text). Faith is not science. As for explaining our belief in the truth of torah, one can ask: Is there anything that Ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu cannot do? The torah describes miracles, which were either performed on ...


13

It's approximating π, as is clear from the g'mara (Eruvin 14:1). The problem is that that g'mara seems to be saying that it's a pretty precise approximation, and we know it's not. (Tosafos there raise this question and offer no answer.) But to answer your question, whether it's an approximation of π or a miracle, it's the former.


12

If I daven for parnassah, probably not. However, for someone righteous enough, maybe, but it can come with a catch. Ta'anis 25a relates this story אמרה ליה דביתהו עד אימת ניזיל ונצטער כולי האי אמר לה מאי נעביד בעי רחמי דניתבו לך מידי בעא רחמי יצתה כמין פיסת יד ויהבו ליה חד כרעא דפתורא דדהבא (חזאי) בחלמא עתידי צדיקי דאכלי אפתורא דדהבא דאית ליה תלת כרעי ...


11

The source of this ruling is the Rama to OC 187:4 (repeated again in 682:1). The Shaarei Teshuva on the spot (sk 3*) asks your question and gives two possible answers: The request is made in plural whereas the problem of praying for miracles is (apparently) only for personal ones. The request is for miracles which come about through the natural order of ...


10

There is a talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe o.b.m. (in Likkutei Sichos, vol. 25, pp. 235ff, and adapted into English here) about this. The gist of his answer is that there was a more "physical" miracle (the military victory) and a more "spiritual" one (the Menorah's lights burning for eight days), and the latter in a sense overshadows the former, since the war ...


10

Somewhat related to Shalom's answer, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l explains (Likkutei Sichos, vol. 25, pp. 235ff) that the miracle of the oil (a spiritual victory) overshadows the miracle of beating the Greek armies (a physical one) - because the latter was itself part of a larger spiritual war: they tried to make us "forget Your Torah and abandon the decrees ...


10

We find in Yonah's prayer inside the fish: וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל יוֹנָה אֶל יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו מִמְּעֵי הַדָּגָה. וַיֹּאמֶר קָרָאתִי מִצָּרָה לִי אֶל יְהוָה וַיַּעֲנֵנִי מִבֶּטֶן שְׁאוֹל שִׁוַּעְתִּי שָׁמַעְתָּ קוֹלִי And Jonah prayed to the Lord his God, from the belly of the fish. And he said: I called out from my distress to the Lord, and He answered me; ...


9

First of all, the whole point of the 'river turning to blood' was that it was supposed to be a miracle, an event showing that superiority of a force over the natural world (i.e. science). So, if anything, your example proves that the Jews DO believe in modern science, as they believe that there's no natural way to turn water into blood without divine ...


8

As I understand it, Maimonides in his Guide to the Perplexed mentioned that some Jewish philosophers had gone so far as to say the very existence of Biblical characters such as Abraham was allegorical -- that's going too far. Maimonides himself interprets certain episodes of angelic interaction in the Torah as dreams, allegories, or the like, which ...


8

Some of it may indeed be based on the attempt to claim that (G-d forbid) the Torah is not true at all. The early Bible critics did exactly that - nearly everything described in Tanach was dismissed as a fable. But then, when archeology began to turn up evidence that meshes with the Torah narratives, that approach became untenable. So the next logical thing ...


8

Without getting into a distinction between magic and miracles (because in the end both are supernatural) the halacha (Yoreh Deah 179) states that all forms of k'shuf are forbidden except those performed through Sefer Yetzeirah. The Beis Yosef and others explain that the general principle is that the Sefer Yetzeirah discusses the use of combinations of ...


8

Wikipedia has a set of answers in their article on Approximations of pi. That links to a terrific article on rabbinic approximations of π by Boaz Tsaban and David Garber. Tsaban and Garber summarize as follows (pp. 10-11): The rational-religious approach of Maimonides holds that, since we cannot know the exact values, the Bible tells us that we do ...


7

At least some people who "half-believe" the torah are in transition. Not everybody is a rock-solid believer from birth; for the rest of us, there will be some period during which you are trying to figure out what torah you accept from scientific validation ("yeah, it would be possible for the Sea of Reeds to do that"), what you accept because of publicity ...


7

This is a famous question asked by the Bait Yosef (OC 670), which has gained so much popularity since he's asked it, seemingly because of it's simplistic ingenuity, that it's attracted hundreds of answers from most everyone who has ever had anything to say about Chanuka. The Bait Yosef himself gives three possible answers: (quoted from here) Those ...


7

You question's a little unclear (to me) but if you're asking (as l ' suggests) I understood that interaction between God and man in the form of miracles done by the former ended along with the canon, yet we see such outside of the canon! then the answer is simple: Your premise is wrong. God has done many miracles since the times of Tanach. There are ...


7

The GR"A points out the following: The word circumference (kav) is spelled קוה but pronounced קו. The gematria of the former is 111 and the latter is 106. The ratio of 111 to 106, multiplied by the approximation of 3, gives you: (111 / 106) * 3 = 3.1415 Perhaps pi to five digits is a better approximation than 3?


7

The Ramban addresses this in his commentary to B'reishis 17:17. He explains that miracle of Yitzchok's birth was not the age of Avraham or Sarah (as Avraham later had children from Keturah (Hagar) when he was 140). At that time, as long as people remained fertile they could still conceive children past age hundred. Rather, the miracle was in the fact that ...


7

here is one from Megillah 7b (via dafyomi.co.il) (a) (Rava): A person is obligated to become drunk on Purim until he cannot distinguish 'cursed is Haman' from 'blessed is Mordechai.' (b) Rabah and R. Zeira ate their Purim Seudah together; Rabah got drunk and slaughtered R. Zeira. The next day he prayed, and restored him to life. 1. The next year, Rabah ...


7

Rabbi Chanina bar Chama brought back one of Antoninus' servants to life (Avodah Zara 10b): Rabbi Haninah bar Hama thereupon went out but found that the man had been slain. Thought he, “How shall I act now? Shall I call and say that the man is dead?—but one should not bring a sad report; shall I leave him and walk away?—that would be slighting the king.” ...


7

The Gemara you are looking for is in Bava Kamma 117:b. Rav Yochanon revived Rav Kahana after having caused his death and according to the second Pshat of Rashi, Rav Kahana told him he prefers to remain dead then to experience death again.


7

Technically, "modern science" incorporates quantum mechanics, which includes the ideas of particles "blipping" in and out of existence, as well as that of all that science predicts are probabilities not definitive absolutes. So modern science doesn't really contradict the miraculous (which are essentially then statistical anomalies). Furthermore, at a ...


6

Indeed, because of this Ibn Ezra (to Gen. 46:27) argues that Yocheved was not in fact born when they entered Egypt, but some time later, so that she bore Moshe at a normal age. However, Ramban (ibid. v. 15) sharply disagrees with him (he goes so far as to use the semi-derogatory expression יוצק זהב רותח בפי החכם הזה!), and points out that since (a) Yocheved ...


6

No, but if you work the minimum amount and devote yourself to the service of God more and more, then the amount of exertion that you will need to do will diminish down to zero. Chovos Halevavos Shaar Habitachon middle of chapter 3: If a man strengthens himself in the service of G-d, chooses to fear G-d, trusts in Him on matters of torah and matters of ...


6

When Yocheved gave birth at 130, it was an et ratzon (time of favor) for such childbearing from Hashem. Women around Yocheved were giving birth to children at a rate of 6 at a time (according to one midrash, 60 or more at a time according to others). And there's another midrash about how the women gave birth in the fields, and the children were swallowed up ...


6

First of all, it's not so simple to say that "tum'ah hutrah betzibbur." There is in fact a halachic argument (Pesachim 77a, et al) as to whether it's "hutrah" (completely permitted) or only "dechuyah" (overridden); according to the latter view, tahor oil should still be used if possible. This is in fact the halachah (Rambam, Beis Habechirah 7:23 and Temidin ...


6

There are three main differences between Magic and Miracles. A miracle is a request to Hashem that is then granted, but it may not always be granted. While Magic is an attempt to subvert the will of Hashem and presumably is reliable. The ability of magic is limited. It can not create new things, can not raise the dead, and if it passes over fresh water it ...


5

Let me float something out there. In some sense one who pursues an explanation for the events in the Torah through natural causes is not totally incorrect. The Torah does not preclude the events from being brought about through the laws of nature. The Torah is just asserting that Hashem initiated the phenomena. Hashem either initiated the event through ...


5

As to your question of explaining miracles: You don't. It is quite logical that if an omnipotent G-d wanted our people to know of His interaction with humanity, He would have to display this clearly at least once, subsequently being passed down to future generations. (Yonah was a private miracle, only publicized later. I don't know the purpose of the ...


5

Al HaNisim was designed to be placed in the blessing of "Modim", in which we give thanks for our lives which are in Your hands, for our souls which are under Your watch, for Your miracles each day to us, for Your wonders and kindness at each moment, night, morning, and afternoon ... The focus is on the "everyday" miracles that occur within the bounds ...


5

Aben Ezrah explains that she was burned by the sulfur-salt mixture that was raining down on the region. This left her as merely a pillar of salt. This clearly implies that the fact that she and the rest of Lot's family were not getting hit by this downpour was a miracle. By looking back at the suffering of S'dom she lost the the privilege of this miracle ...



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