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13 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 ...
Double AA's user avatar
  • 99.5k
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", ...
Joel K's user avatar
  • 43.7k
10 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 ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.5k
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 ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
  • 35.7k
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 ...
kouty's user avatar
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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 ...
Rav Yaakov Beasley's user avatar
9 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 ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
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 ...
user6591's user avatar
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8 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 ...
DonielF's user avatar
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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 ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.5k
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. ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
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8 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 ...
Harel13's user avatar
  • 25.8k
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 ...
Turk Hill's user avatar
  • 1,374
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 ...
DonielF's user avatar
  • 34.3k
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 ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.5k
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 ...
chessprogrammer's user avatar
7 votes

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

Definitely not. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a single rishon who was a Young Earth Creationist. The Ramban says that Bereishis 1:1 describes creation yeish mei'ayin (ex nihilo; something ...
Micha Berger's user avatar
  • 9,668
7 votes
Accepted

Chazal contradicting science

This is a very broad and complex topic, with multiple opinions in every direction, and the practical halacha depends on the topic being studied. Entire books have been written on it, so it is not easy ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 52.7k
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 ...
Yaabim's user avatar
  • 351
6 votes

Is Science/Scientism a form of Idolatry?

Forgive me for a short preamble, but it is necessary to establish what scientists (i.e. practitioners of science) mean with ‘unscientific’ before exploring how it differs from what believers of ...
RonP's user avatar
  • 1,946
6 votes

"Sound can be heard better at night then by day"- Rashi

I can't say how much Rash"i might have been influenced by science in his statement. However, it is scientifally true that sound waves do travel further at night. Excerpt from here: Actually, sound ...
DanF's user avatar
  • 70.7k
6 votes

Becoming Chametz at 18 mins

The 18-minute rule is one of a few heuristics offered by the Talmud for determining whether a dough has become chametz. These are summarized by the Rambam in Hilchot Chametz Umatza 5:13: כל זמן שאדם ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.1k
6 votes

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

R. Menachem Meiri (Beis Habechirah Sanhedrin 67b) writes as follows: כל שהוא נעשה בפעולה טבעית אינו בכלל כשפים אפילו ידעו לברא בריות יפות שלא מזווג המין כמו שנודע בספרי הטבע שאין הדבר נמנע רשאים ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.5k
6 votes

What observable phenomena show that we live in the pre-Messianic era?

Sanhedrin 98a ואמר רבי אבא אין לך קץ מגולה מזה שנאמר (יחזקאל לו, ח) ואתם הרי ישראל ענפכם תתנו ופריכם תשאו לעמי ישראל וגו'‏ And Rabbi Abba says: You have no more explicit manifestation of ...
Joel K's user avatar
  • 43.7k
6 votes

Is there a concept of "peer review" in Rabbinical Judaism?

Some of the disagreements in earlier answers seem to stem from different understandings of peer review. From the definition stated in the question, it seems totally reasonable to think of ...
Menachem's user avatar
  • 171
6 votes

How did Gdoley Israel react to the landing on the Moon?

Rav Menachem Kasher wrote the first sections of his האדם על הירח in response to this event. Throughout the work he discusses the moon landing from hashkafic and halachic perspectives.
DonielF's user avatar
  • 34.3k
6 votes

How did Gdoley Israel react to the landing on the Moon?

Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky and the Moon landing אמת ליעקב פרשת בראשית ודברי רמב"ן אלה הם שעמדו לי בשעה שראינו איך שבני אדם יורדים מעל המטוס ע"י סולם על גלגל הלבנה, וחשבתי בלבי מה יענה כעת הרמב"ם ז"ל ...
IsraelReader's user avatar
  • 4,990
6 votes
Accepted

What tool did Raban Gamliel use to determine how close his ship was to the port?

So this is a really fascinating topic that has bamboozled many meforshim and thinkers over the years. The Talmudology website here helps to comprehensively break it down. He first notes Rashi who says:...
Dov's user avatar
  • 33.4k
6 votes

Why don't humans have the best version of organs?

Humans have the perfect version of organs and systems needed to complete their mission on earth. Each person and their mission. In the rare case where you need an improved version - you're a detective ...
Danny Schoemann's user avatar
5 votes

Rationalist Position on Bible Ancients' Long Lives

It is hard to get more "rationalist" than Ralbag, and he addresses this issue at length in his commentary at the end of Parshat Bereishit. He begins by stating that it is a falsehood to say that man ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.5k

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