Questions tagged [science]

questions about science in relation to Judaism

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106 views

Why is marble not considered a stone?

Hilchot Tumat Tzara'at 14:8: הַלְּבֵנִים וְהַשַּׁיִשׁ אֵינָן חֲשׁוּבִין כַּאֲבָנִים Bricks and Marble aren't considered stones. What is the reason for this decision?
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The Netziv on Evolution

The Wikipedia page titled Jewish views on evolution states the following about the Netziv. When scientists first developed the theory of evolution, this idea was seized upon by rabbis such as ...
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Reconciling the Rashbam's understanding for leaning left with the anatomy of the throat

The Gemara (Pesachim 108a) rules: פרקדן לא שמיה הסיבה הסיבת ימין לא שמה הסיבה ולא עוד אלא שמא יקדים קנה לוושט ויבא לידי סכנה Lying prone is not called leaning. Leaning right is not called ...
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What blessing would one have said on seeing Einstein for example?

The Oruch Hashulchan O Ch 224, 6 says הרואה חכם מחכמי ישראל שגדול בתורה מברך: "ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם שחלק מחכמתו ליריאיו, Someone who sees a Jewish Torah sage makes the blessing “ ...
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201 views

Has nature changed since Talmudic times

Looking at the Gemoro, people used to believe that babies born at 7 months were more likely to survive at 7 months than 8 months. A male is born face down whereas a female is born face up. Another ...
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What specifically was the ancient Jewish practice of rubbing an infant's throat?

The Jewish Encyclopedia article on "Consecration" says that the later "rubbing on" of oil aka "anointing" has roots in the practice of rubbing an infant's throat in preparation for receiving a mother'...
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Empirical evidence of Sages' intellectual superiority

Throughout ages, our Sages engaged in Halachic, scientific and philosophical arguments between themselves and with other nations' philosophers. We hold that the truthfulness of Talmudic discussions ...
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Sources that G-d miraculously and deceptively conceal His deeds

In the debate on veracity and historicity of the Biblical stories and claims many assert that after an event in discussion G-d miraculously wiped all evidence or replaced it to look natural. For ...
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How did Gdoley Israel react to the landing on the Moon?

IMHO, landing on the Moon did/could seriously undermine the bases of the Jewish religious view about the nature of the celestial bodies. How did Gdoley Israel react/deal with the landing on Moon (and ...
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1answer
114 views

How can constant creation of new stars explained theologically?

"... we get on average about one new star per year, and one star dying each year as a planetary nebula in the Milky Way.... therefore there are about 275 million [born] per day, in the whole ...
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What defines a human in Judaism?

As a follow up to "creation-of-super-humans", The Gene-modification technologies promise interesting developments in human evolution/changes, both physical and intellectual. On the physical side - ...
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How does creation of a new species of super humans align with Judaism?

One of the most promising scientific fields of the nearest future is bio-technologies especially genetic modifications, starting with gene-therapy, genetic enhancements, and, as the process is ...
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4answers
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Is there a concept of “peer review” in Rabbinical Judaism?

"Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competences as the producers of the work (peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a ...
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Would teleportation be allowed? [closed]

Suppose 'teleportation' like the transporter in star trek - where you are disassembled atom by atom, and reassembled in another location - becomes a reality. It will then likely become the most ...
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252 views

Websites or books about the Torah and history of the world

I am looking for recommendations of good websites and books that talk about various ways of understanding the 'conflicts' between the Torah and a modern understanding of the age of the universe, the ...
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Why the fact that the Earth is spherical is a deep secret according to Zohar?

Following "zohars-knowledge-about-earths-shape" and related to my other question "why-did-G-d-create-the-earth-spherical": Zohar (Vayikra 10a) states the following, seemingly pointing to the fact ...
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Arguments against evolution

In trying to find the best, most factually based argument against evolution, I found this which said that it just doesn't make sense because why would a creator take so long. Are there any other ...
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Why did G-d create everything important off-center?

I hope not to argue that the Heliocentric view is true as is our current understanding of [our position in] the Universe, the Earth is rotating around the Sun, that is rotating around the center of ...
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127 views

The science behind making liver kosher

It seems that salting and soaking liver is insufficient to release the blood sufficiently to make it kosher. It needs to be broiled (or is there some other method that also works?) What's the science ...
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Does Earth geography resemble anything metaphorical?

All I know about the traditional geographical metaphorism is that Jerusalem is the center of the world and the whole inhabitable space is divided between the 70 nations (besides the plain facts, like ...
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Why did G-d create the Earth spherical?

I hope nobody questions the fact of the spherical Earth. Just as spherical as all other celestial bodies. Many argued whether we knew this fact or not, but I don't recall that those who claim we ...
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Source that אמונת חכמים applies to the Sages' knowledge besides Halachah

Tons of Jewish responsa (incl. this site) is based on a common belief/premise that the Talmudic Sages knew what they say and that everything they said is true - אמונת חכמים (see this question on this ...
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243 views

What did G-d do before Creation?

Is it possible to know what G-d was doing before this creation? While, as Maimonides states, that we cannot know anything about G-d except for what G-d is not (G-d has no body and is one), ...
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Gender and “Seeding” - Just Torah-Derived or Common Belief?

Niddah 31a writes (Davidson Edition translation): אמר רבי יצחק אמר רבי אמי אשה מזרעת תחילה יולדת זכר איש מזריע תחילה יולדת נקבה שנאמר (ויקרא יב, ב) אשה כי תזריע וילדה זכר Rabbi Yitzḥak says that ...
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What observable phenomena show that we live in the pre-Messianic era?

There's no doubt that we live in a very special era of fast and huge technological, social, scientific, economic, psychological and other changes. The world is also getting closer to the 6000 year bar,...
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“As many as the stars in the sky”- literally or allegorically?

In Bereishis 15:5 HaShem promises Avraham that his descendants will be as many as the stars in the sky: וַיּוֹצֵ֨א אֹת֜וֹ הַח֗וּצָה וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הַבֶּט־נָ֣א הַשָּׁמַ֗יְמָה וּסְפֹר֙ הַכּ֣וֹכָבִ֔ים אִם־...
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Has there been any scientific study that agrees with Talmud Rosh Hashanna 20b's time difference?

I'm extracting from this M.Y. question: In Talmud Bavli Rosh Hashanna 20b, R' Zeira quotes R' Nachman as saying: כ"ד שעי מכסי סיהרא לדידן שית מעתיקא ותמני סרי מחדתא לדידהו שית מחדתא ותמני ...
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How G-d can be distinguished from AI? [closed]

One day, after the Moshiach comes, the Earth will be filled with "knowledge of G-d". On the other hand, technologically, one day the Earth will be filled with "knowledge of AI". I'm trying to prepare ...
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Where did Moses' applied scientific knowledge disappear?

I had a series of seemingly true statements that lead me to a contradiction I'm unable to solve: Moses knew all the Torah => Moses knew all the Halacha. Moses knew all the Halochos of Shabbos => when ...
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Relation between brain damage and the soul

Physical damage to the brain can lead to various psychological and cognitive phenomena, like drastic changes in character, selective memory loss (like forgetting faces but remembering names or vice ...
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49 views

How precise were the Temples' directions (East/North)

Calculating the true astronomical North/South is very simple - find the longest way and cast a shadow. Are there sources on how precise those directions in the Temples were? Are there special Jewish ...
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344 views

When is it a mitzvah to study science?

I remember hearing from Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi that HaShem created two Torahs, one the Oral and Written and the other the natural world. My question is, when is it a positive mitzvah to study science ...
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Biblical description of the firmament vs. round earth in the Zohar

Zohar Vaikra 10a [quotes the Book or Rabbi Hamnunab Sabah]: וּבְסִפְרָא דְּרַב הַמְנוּנָא סָבָא, פָּרִישׁ יַתִּיר, דְּהָא כָּל יִשׁוּבָא מִתְגַּלְגְּלָא בְּעִגוּלָא כַּכַּדּוּר, אִלֵּין לְתַתָּא, ...
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Is mustard harmful to bees or the honey making process?

The Mishna in Bava Basra (2:10) says: (all translations from Sefaria) מַרְחִיקִין אֶת הַמִּשְׁרָה מִן הַיָּרָק, וְאֶת הַכְּרֵשִׁין מִן הַבְּצָלִים, וְאֶת הַחַרְדָּל מִן הַדְּבוֹרִים. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי ...
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How do the outer planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto fit into Judaism?

It is not a secret that we discover new things in all fields of science, not mentioned in our sources all the time. We know that in Judaism the 7 planets represent/aligned with 7 spiritual forces and ...
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Does Judaism differentiate between a planet and a star?

On the 4th day, G-d created Sun, Moon and the stars. Besides the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were known since ancient times (not mentioning the existence of the real stars). ...
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Measuring the universe in G-d's cubits (Eruvin 21a)

In the following passage (Eruvin 21a in William Davidson edition) the sages try to determine the size of the Torah scroll that Zachariah saw in his prophecy: In order to determine the measure of ...
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Age of Universe [duplicate]

What is the most plausible way to reconcile the traditional dating of the universe (now 5779) with science's understanding that the universe is billions of years old?
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120 views

Building a Mikva Upstairs

Every Mikva I am personally familiar with is on the ground floor (first floor) or basement of its building. Let's say a congregation owns a one story building they use as their shul. They agree to ...
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Mathematical functions in Jewish Halacha [closed]

What mathematical operators, functions, and constants are mentioned in the Halachah besides addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division? For example: powers and square or other roots, Pi etc....
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Rabbinical sources that support the Flat Earth view

While many people are busy looking for the slightest hints of the vast scientific knowledge possessed by our Sages, I've bumped into Rasa"G's interpretation of Sefer Hayetzirah 4,2 (c.900) (is there ...
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Gr"A stating that Africa is [at] the South Pole

(Saw it today at the Kolel in Mikraot Gedolot, sorry can't find it online, please help). At the beginning of Divrei Hayamim, Pirush HaGr"a explains various nations coming out of Noah's sons and how ...
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Is the base for bloodletting in the Talmud purely “scientific” or traditional?

Bloodletting (הקזת דם) was a commonplace medical procedure in the Mishnaic times (see Shabbos 129). It is widely accepted that the ancient healers believed that: "... many diseases were caused by ...
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322 views

How is “magic” defined for the purposes of the prohibition against kishuf?

As Arthur C. Clarke famously said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." The idea here actually generalizes much further. Today's technology would have been ...
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Is there a scientific basis for the claim that the 3rd day from the circumcision is the most painful and dangerous? [duplicate]

Is there a scientific basis for the claim that the third day from the day of a circumcision is the most painful and dangerous? In Mishana (shabbath 19,3) מרחיצין את הקטן בין לפני המילה ובין לאחר ...
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Technological advances of Yehoshua's generation over the natives

My question is based on "were-rabbis-ahead-of-the-times". A claim is made that the Torah contains scientific knowledge known to Rabbis and unknown to Gentiles. Many try to bring examples from the ...
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92 views

Sources for scientific rationale for the 613 Mizvot?

Are there any published works on the scientific rationale for any of the 613 Mizvot? For example: Handwashing: It only took the medical community did not deem it medically relevant until 2 centuries ...
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150 views

Acquiring Torah without Subvocalization

The Mishnah in Avos (6.6) tells of difference ways to acquire Torah. Here is Rashi’s commentary on one of the items, translated by Sefaria.org. בַּעֲרִיכַת שְׂפָתַיִם. שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְגַמְגֵּם בְּדִבְרֵי ...
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2answers
245 views

Did God really backup the Sun dial for Hezekiah?

According to 2 Kings 20:9-11., Hezekiah while on his deathbed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah. The King was about to die so he asked for a sign as proof that G-d would grant him a longer life. ...
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186 views

What does the Torah think of Pangea?

What does Torah literature say about Pangaea? Is it considered be legitimate? Are there sources which lean either way?

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