Does the Sun Orbit Earth?
Re Rabbi Yitzchok Schochet’s comments last week on the sun orbiting Earth (“Is It Proper?” Feb. 12): Einstein’s theory of general relativity would seem to indicate that the sun, with most of the mass in the solar system, would not be able to orbit Earth, with its much smaller mass.
In addition, planetary retrograde motion and other observations over the last few hundred years prove (in some cases using special relativity) that our planet moves. The simplest explanation for the observable phenomena is the heliocentric model, which posits that we orbit the sun.
Incidentally, all the calculations we use to get spacecraft to their correct destinations are dependent on the heliocentric model as well.
Therefore, it would seem far more logical to posit that the Rambam was simply reflecting the science of his times rather than foreshadowing special relativity via ruach hakodesh when he wrote that the sun orbits Earth.
Kudos to Schumer?
Re “Kudos to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer” (editorial, February 12): How could you salute Chuck Schumer for agreeing to accommodate lawyer David Schoen’s request to suspend Trump’s trial on Shabbat when you and everyone else know that Schumer was responsible for this travesty of justice – the trial – to begin with?
Also, keep in mind that Schoen was ultimately able to arrange matters so that his team could cover for him on Shabbos. This outcome could have been predicted, which means that Schumer knew his response wouldn’t matter – just like his vote against the Iran deal in 2015.
But where was Chuck Schumer’s voice when “The Squad” made anti-Semitic statements and supported BDS? Where was his voice when our governor singled out the Jewish community during the peak of the Covid crisis and placed unconstitutional restrictions on synagogues?
Where is his voice now during the investigation of the nursing home scandal that caused so many elderly causalities? And where was he while the governor of New York and other Democratic leaders made decisions that cost lives, destroyed people’s livelihoods, and wrecked the economy?
According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol statistics released last week, 2,654 illegal aliens this year have already been convicted of such crimes as assault, battery, domestic violence, drunk driving, drug possession, trafficking, illegal weapons possession, and trafficking.
But, as per an executive order President Biden issued on January 20, deportations of illegal aliens have been halted almost completely, and these criminals are released back into society.
When – not if – these criminals commit a new offense, Biden should be named as an accessory to the crime by a legal representative of the affected families.
New York, NY
I Support a Climate Change
I am all in favor of a climate change that would see free-speech suppression emissions reduced to zero.
The obstacles to this climate change include hot air emanating from Big Tech, corporate CEOs, the media, and the Democrat Party – all of which are inextricably intertwined.
These emissions, which aim to abolish the free speech of all who disagree with the left, pose the greatest internal security threat to the U.S.
Dr. Robert Semel
Discipline Over Punishment
In his column last week, “Does Discipline = Punishment?,” John Rosemond cautions against confusing punishment for discipline. He correctly notes that discipline and punishment are not synonymous, and that discipline, by definition, involves instruction.
I disagree with Mr. Rosemond, however, on whether punishment is appropriate for children, especially as an initial course of action. Mr. Rosemond recommends punishment for such misconduct as “belligerent disrespect, blatant disobedience, lies that are harmful to someone else, theft, and unjustifiable aggression.”
I maintain that those misdeeds, like any other, require discipline by which we teach the child the proper way to behave.
The current thinking in pedagogy is that punishment is a form of retribution and, as such, children should never be punished. Even if one doesn’t embrace this sweeping position, it is hardly provocative to say that punishment should be a last resort, only used after all attempts at discipline have proven unsuccessful.
Mr. Rosemond also writes that “proper punishment makes an impression on a child, one that imparts a permanent memory” (emphasis added). This declaration could be construed in a variety of dangerous ways. I believe what Mr. Rosemond intended to convey is that the deterrent value of the punishment should be permanent.
Still, I would argue that when a child’s actions warrant censure, the best way to leave a positive long-term impact is by utilizing discipline, which helps the child understand why the action was wrong so that he internalizes the message and self-regulates his behavior in the future.
Professor of Jewish Education
Touro Graduate School
New Definition of Insanity?
Congress’s second impeachment of Trump gave new meaning to the word insanity. It used to mean doing the same thing and expecting different results. It now means doing the same thing and expecting the same results that accomplished nothing the first time around.
It’s also disgraceful that President Biden gave his approval for this meaningless charade as long as it occupied only half of Congress’s time. Ever hear a boss tell his employees that they can waste their time as long as they only do so for half the day?
But what can we expect from a president who isn’t doing his own job? We have yet to hear a plan from Biden as to how he intends to improve the economy. What we have seen is an executive order killing the Alaska pipeline project and limiting fracking and oil drilling, which has cost thousands of jobs and caused gas prices to rise.