web analytics
August 1, 2014 / 5 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Visiting IDF bases and receiving briefings from IDF officers. Ultimate Mission – November 2014

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Israel off the beaten track, feel the conflict first hand, understand the security issues and politic realities, and have an unforgettable trip!



Letters To The Editor


Letters-logo

Chabad’s Mission

I applaud you for carrying the picture of the children of the Chabad shluchim on your front page last week. It is a testament to the ongoing mission of Chabad-Lubavitch to bring Torah and Yiddishkeit to Jews spread across the globe. There is no equal in Judaism. It was particularly poignant as it roughly coincided with the yahrzeit of the Mumbai korbanos.

Yisroel Farkash
(Via E-Mail)

 

Mideast Chaos

As The Jewish Press reported on its front page last week, regional turmoil in the Middle East is causing Israel to reevaluate its security strategies that developed when Arab governments were headed by those who valued stability and friendship with the U.S.

What I cannot fathom is how the Obama administration seems to think that Israel should negotiate in the midst of this chaos, especially given the uncertainty as to which factions will end up in control in the various countries.

Miriam Silverman
New York, NY

 

Moved By Tribute

I was moved by Naomi Klass Mauer’s heartfelt tribute to her late husband, Dr. Ivan Mauer (“Everything I Dreamed of in a Husband,” op-ed, Dec.2). He seems to have been a wonderful human being and the kind of soulmate everyone seeks in life but doesn’t always find.

Etty Smadja
(Via E-Mail)

 

Israel And PA Funds

Re “Israel’s Economic Sanctions” (editorial, Dec. 2):

The Jewish Press got it exactly right last week. Israel’s withholding Palestinian funds in response to Palestinian policies is no different from the sanctions imposed on Iran over disagreements with its policies. Not only are there growing restrictions on Iran’s regular trading with other countries, but Iranian assets are being frozen in the U.S. and Europe.

Too bad Netanyahu gave in. Once again his word proved tougher than his actions.

Richard Glasser
Dayton, OH

 

Glossing Over The GOP Field?

As someone who takes the political process seriously, and who did not vote for Barack Obama last time, I found Rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s Dec. 2 front-page essay (“Presidential Racing Form”) quite disappointing.

The rabbi starts out by dismissing Obama supporters as “blacks, committed liberals, union members, and recipients of public handouts,” strongly implying that  anyone voting for Obama (who won 53 percent of the vote in 2008) must be someone who just isn’t thinking and simply has a vested interest.

Apparently, wealthy individuals and corporations who are paying much less in taxes than they should, and Christian evangelicals who don’t even agree to a legal abortion in the case of saving a woman’s life, are somehow voters who do think.

Worse, the rabbi glosses over the startling inadequacies of some of the Republican candidates.

We as Jews, especially observant Jews, should do better.

Yosef Tannenbaum
(Via E-Mail)

 

 

Torah And Science

Talmudic Sages Were Not Scientifically Infallible

Reader Dr. Yaakov Stern writes that one who believes the Talmud erred in scientific matters is a heretic (Letters, Dec. 2). Dr. Stern’s position flies in the face of the facts. The Sages were frequently wrong regarding science; moreover, these mistakes are reflected in halacha.

We need look no further than the small change made in our prayers starting Monday, December 5, when Jews outside of Israel began saying “v’sain tal u’matar” in Shemoneh Esrei. According to Jewish law, this change commences 60 days after tekufas Tishrei, the autumnal equinox. Simple math demonstrates that whereas the equinox occurred on September 23, we should have begun saying v’sain tal umatar 60 days later, approximately November 23. Yet we wait until the first week of December, because the calendar used to calculate the equinox, devised by the Talmudic sage Shmuel, errs in its calculation of the solar year.

Similarly, the time for recitation of the Blessing of the Sun (every 28 years), which is supposed to coincide with the moment the sun was first placed in position, is based on Shmuel’s calendar and hence cannot possibly be accurate.

Among other scientific miscues, the Sages of the Talmud held the world to be flat. (This is of course not stated in the Talmud, since the Sages never considered the possibility that the world is spherical.) The halachic consequences are significant; perhaps the most glaring issue is the location of the International Dateline. The Talmud nowhere discusses a dateline, despite the fact that its placement affects the day that Shabbos is kept around the world. In a flat world, time is the same everywhere, and there is no dateline.

The Talmudic Sages believed in spontaneous generation. This too has ramifications, most famously in the law that one may kill lice on Shabbos because lice generate spontaneously. Writing in the eighteenth century, Rav Yitzchak Lampronti, in his Pachad Yitzchak, declares that whereas scientists had determined conclusively that no life is spontaneously generated, one should not kill lice on Shabbos. Does Dr. Stern reckon the Pachad Yitzchak a heretic?

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan wrote that the universe may indeed be 16 billion years old, as postulated by scientists. Is Rabbi Kaplan a heretic?

Rav Avraham, the son of the Rambam, wrote that the Talmudic Sages were imperfect in science. The Rambam himself disagreed with certain scientific statements in the Talmud, including the cosmological view expressed therein. Dr. Stern, are the Rambam and his son heretics?

I don’t know why Dr. Stern feels he must uphold the inerrancy of the Talmud; we have no such dogma. Regardless of his motives, I suggest that Dr. Stern open his eyes to the truth: there are scientific errors in the Talmud, and many great rabbis have been unafraid to acknowledge this fact.

Avi Goldstein
Far Rockaway, NY

 

Truth Or Heresy?

In his letter to the editor, Dr. Stern reports being scandalized when he “recently heard someone proclaim that ‘scientific statements’ found in the Talmud are not to be accepted as truth because the rabbis of the Talmud were limited by the knowledge of the times in which they lived.”

I too have heard similar rumblings of heresy.  Just recently I saw the following remarks made by an alleged Jewish authority and author of several popular books. He wrote, “Do not ask of me to show that everything they [Chazal] have said concerning astronomical matters conforms to the way things really are. For at that time mathematics were imperfect. They did not speak about this as transmitters of dicta of the prophets, but rather because in those times they were men of knowledge in these fields or because they heard these dicta from the men of knowledge who lived in those times.”

The author, a certain Moses ben-Maimon (Guide, III:14, Pines translation), also known as the Rambam, clearly shows no shame in proposing that the scientific knowledge of Chazal was based on a mundane understanding of science in their own times.

Moreover, what he is suggesting – and it would be hard to read it any other way – is that if the Sages had lived in a later period they would have been informed and knowledgeable about current scientific endeavors, and their teachings would have reflected the most up-to-date knowledge in those fields. Have you ever heard a more disgraceful opinion?

David Fass
Teaneck, NJ

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Letters To The Editor”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A Palestinian showing the money he withdrew from an ATM in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
10:03am Cease Fire Broken, Collect Your Bets
Latest Indepth Stories
Hamas' leader Ismail Haniyeh and Erdogan. Haniyeh is the terrorist on the left.

Qatar’s wealth and Turkey’s size should not preclude us from telling it as it is: Qatar and Turkey are among the worst villains in the Gaza tragedy.

Parliament_House,New_Delhi

New Delhi would do well to remain aware of the predicament of Israel today.

120px-Hrw_logo

HRW “investigations” reflect anti-Israel bias, lack of research, and flat-out fabrications.

Borenstein-080114

his Tisha B’Av, and this Tu B’Av, remember: Hashem will protect us if we unite and rally around Him

Israel’s morality is underscored by its unprecedented restraint and care for loss of life.

The Gazan octopus arm is a test case, as the rest of the arms are closely watching it.

Obama has chosen shaky ally on the way out over strong ally solidly in the American orbit.

Where is the outrage against Hamas ..?

When will the world realize, by the grace of Gd, we are here to stay?

World War I had sown chaos throughout the centuries-old Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.

The IDF pounding continued and it again seemed only a matter of time before Hamas would be forced to accept the Egyptian proposal.

Nothing is ever so clear in the complex and often brutal calculus of urban warfare.

For breaking his oath of allegiance, Tzidkiyahu was forced to witness the death of his sons before he himself was blinded and exiled to Babylon.

ISIS poses a great threat to the entire civilized world in general and liberal democracies in particular.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?

    • Yes, it was a direct order from Obama and Kerry's to hurt Israel into submission. (46%, 962 Votes)

    • Yes, Obama and Kerry gave the FAA a "hint" to to hurt Israel into submission. (18%, 376 Votes)

    • Yes, it was simply understood from the administration's anti-Israel atmosphere. (9%, 199 Votes)

    • No, it was a professional decision for the safety of US citizens. (18%, 378 Votes)

    • No, it was simply an unprofessional decision by unthinking bureaucrats. (9%, 182 Votes)

    Total Voters: 2,097

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-11/2011/12/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: