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19 votes

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

Dr. Jeremy Brown, in a post on his Talmudology blog on science in the Daf Yomi, points out that Rava, quoted in Yevamot 97a, provides the first published claim that boys' puberty can be delayed by ...
  • 46.9k
15 votes
Accepted

Lubavitch and Geocentricism

See also this letter by the Lubavitcher Rebbe on this subject, in which he states: It is my firm belief that the sun revolves around the earth, as I have also declared publicly on various occasions ...
12 votes
Accepted

Why are Oats Chametz if oats cannot rise

There is no special Talmudic dispensation regarding oats. The Mishna lists a grain called שבולת שועל as able to become Chametz. Most Rishonim don't identify that grain with what we call oats. Some ...
  • 95.7k
12 votes
Accepted

The Netziv on Evolution

I believe it is referring to Ha'amek Davar to Bereishit 7:23, although note that he ultimately rejects this view and believes that the fossils are of antediluvian creatures belonging to our "world", ...
  • 38.6k
11 votes

Who is worthy of reciting the blessing "שנתן מחכמתו לבשר ודם" on?

R' Eliezer Melamed, in an essay about this blessing and a related one for Torah scholars on the Beit-El Yeshiva website, formulates the standard thus: חכם מחכמי אומות העולם שידוע כחכם וגאון באחד מן ...
  • 46.9k
11 votes

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

It seems that Rambam anticipated certain aspects of Einstien's General Relativity. The traditional view was that time is absolute and constant: "Absolute, true, and mathematical time, of itself, ...
11 votes

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

Apparently Rambam said: בבוקר אכול כמלך, בצהריים כבן מלך ובערב כאביון eat breakfast like a king, lunch like the son of a king and dinner like a pauper. among his other advice for health ...
10 votes
Accepted

Source for Seforno that the Earth was tilted at the time of the Flood

The Seforno (c.1500) writes this in is commentary to Genesis (8:22): עוד כל ימי הארץ זרע וקציר וקור וחום וקיץ וחורף ויום ולילה לא ישבותו. "לא ישבותו" מלהתמיד על אותו האופן בלתי טבעי שהגבלתי להם אחר ...
  • 34.9k
10 votes

Building a Mikva Upstairs

There is no Halachic issue SA YD 201.7 Rema הגה: מותר לעשותו על הגג ובלבד שלא יהיה תוך כלי או אבן אחת שחקקו ולבסוף קבעו אבל חבור אבנים הרבה לא מקרי כלי (תשובת הרשב"א סימן ת"ת):‏ Its allowed ...
  • 22.4k
9 votes

Is it heresy to read the Bible literally?

the quote about what Rav Saadia Gaon believed regarding literal vs. non-literal interpretation is correct but incomplete. After he writes "it is a well known fact that every statement found in the ...
9 votes

Searching for a story with the Rav's comment about the scientist

From here: I once heard a great story about Rav Solovetchick, from R’ Motty Berger of Aish. Isidor Rabi developed a theory in the 30’s that was a harbinger of the Big Bang theory. Arno Penzias ...
  • 48.2k
9 votes

Do the Torah codes offer scientific proof that the Torah is supernatural?

I think there’s a bigger problem with Torah Codes than the one Al Berko mentioned; namely, even if we were guaranteed accuracy in our Sifrei Torah, we would have this problem. That problem is that ...
  • 33.5k
8 votes

Vegan tekheileth

This requirement is stated in the Tosefta and Meseches Tzitzith Tosefta Menachoth 9:16 "תכלת אין כשרה אלא מן החלזון הביא שלא מן החלזון פסולה." Tekheleth is only valid from the חלזון ; if ...
  • 17.3k
8 votes

Did the Torah Sages discuss evolution

There's a story in the Talmud - Shabbat 31a - about a guy who tried (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) to win a bet by provoking Hillel to anger. He posed three questions about phenotypic variations ...
  • 46.9k
8 votes

How did they breathe during the plague of darkness?

I'll assume from your comments you will find the following a possible answer. Torah Temimah in chapter 10 #2 raises a few points. Chazzal said the darkness was as thick as a dinar. What can that ...
  • 32.4k
8 votes

Is there any evidence that Chazal knew what caused eclipses?

I found discussion of eclipses in the g'mara, but not of the science of them. On Sukkah 29a the g'mara first discusses eclipses as omens (all bad). It then turns to causes: The Sages taught that on ...
8 votes
Accepted

“As many as the stars in the sky”- literally or allegorically?

As I wrote in this answer: According to Ralbag (Commentary to Parshas Lech Lecha), the promise was not that Avraham's descendants would be as numerous as the stars. Rather the promise was that they ...
  • 48.2k
8 votes

How can constant creation of new stars explained theologically?

They are not created, they are formed by means of the natural laws from preexisting matter. This has nothing to do with yesh mai-ayin (creation from nothing) which occurred at the very beginning. ...
  • 42.1k
7 votes

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

Chazal knew that metal utensils can absorb the taste of food, despite being seemingly perfect. Modern engineers also discovered that micro-fissures are created in metal by expanding and contracting, ...
  • 22.8k
7 votes

Is it heresy to read the Bible literally?

I wrote to Rabbi Sacks and he said that he believes the story of Adam and Eve to be true, but that he did not have the time to explain it to Richard Dawkins in the debate. He, therefore, suggested ...
  • 1,140
7 votes

Scientific explanation for Sotah water

The most straightforward reading -- I'd say this is based on the Talmud -- is that it's miraculous. And only works if the husband has been behaving himself too, and if this is a rare and shocking ...
  • 127k
7 votes

Gr"A stating that Africa is [at] the South Pole

In my Mikraos Gedolos, I see the following quote (it's in his commentary to I:1:4): שם נטל חלק שליש במזרחי והוא אפריקי. וחם ויפת חלקו המערבי לשנים: חם נטל חלק הדרומי והוא אזיע, ויפת הצפוני והוא ...
  • 33.5k
7 votes

Websites or books about the Torah and history of the world

The Challenge of Creation by R. Natan Slifkin Torah, Chazal, and Science by R. Moshe Meiselman These two books contain very different approaches; in fact, the latter may be considered largely a ...
  • 48.2k
7 votes

Why did Rambam include scientific explanations in the first chapters of Mishne Torah?

The Rambam addresses the reason for the first 4 chapters at the end of chapter 4: וְעִנְיְנֵי אַרְבָּעָה פְּרָקִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁבְּחָמֵשׁ מִצְוֹת הָאֵלּוּ הֵם שֶׁחֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים קוֹרְאִין אוֹתוֹ ...
7 votes

Believing Universe to be older than 6k years K'firah (heresy)?

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael, wrote a series of letters to one of his students, Dr. Moshe Zeidel, regarding Torah and science. In letter 91 (numbering per ...
  • 21.3k
6 votes

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

The theory of the diurnal rotation of the Earth. According to this article in Isis, the journal of the History of Science Society, After the Twelfth Century, references to the theory [of the ...
  • 13.9k
6 votes

About what were rabbis ahead of the times?

Here's another "grain of salt" answer. If you accept the Vilna Gaon's drasha on Melachim Aleph 7:23, then Shlomo HaMelech knew pi to be 333/106=3.14151, a value not surpassed in accuracy by the ...
  • 8,688
6 votes

The Plague of Darkness

I have no backing for this novel idea, but here goes: Modern science of the past century has taught us that light consists of photons. These are packets of energy that act like particles in many ...
  • 307
6 votes

How do we reconcile the order of creating animals betweeen Genesis and science?

This question was the root of an argument between Dr. Gerald Schroeder and Rabbi Natan Slifkin. Dr. Schroeder insists (in his book Genesis and the Big Bang, and in many public lectures) that the order ...
6 votes

Is there any reason to deny aliens according to Judaism?

The Sefer Hikrim brings his rebbe which held that there are no aliens. However the Sefer Hikrim himself argues and holds that there are aliens. He brings a proof from the possuk in Shoftim which says "...
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