Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Thinking the Torah Way

As you may have heard, a there is a report that a reputable group of physicists believe they have seen evidence that neutrinos in their experiment traveled faster than light.  If this turns out to be true, physics would need to be rewritten. It doesn't mean your car is going to work any differently, or baseballs will fly differently.  What is does mean, however, is that we may have to toss out the Big Bang theory, all age of the universe calculations, much (if not all) of particle physics.  Now you are really unimpressed, right?  So it means physicists will stop working on one set of esoteric nonsense and start working on a new set of esoteric nonsense.  Yes and no.

Th first gate of Chovos haLevavos demonstrates how the Torah view is not inconsistent with the Aristotelian view of the world.  Almost no one learns that gate any more, because the Aristotelian view has been long abandoned.  Galileo did some seminal experiments and Newton did a lot of the theoretical work to herald a new generation of physics.  A few hundred years after that, Michelson and Morley did some important experiments and Einstein did a lot of theoretical work to herald in the current era of physics (yes, I am glossing over a lot of detail).  In no instance have balls started bouncing differently nor wheels turned differently.  What did happen was that people started looking at he world differently.  It is not by accident that the Industrial Revolution came after Newton (and a lot of others) or that the Computer Age came after Einstein (and a lot of others).  The changes in physics trickled required a new world outlook, and that brought about big changes in our lives; not that the world changed, but our view of the world changed.

I think that should be our "take away".  The Torah gives us a view, if fact The True View, of reality.  Learning Torah, whether halacha, gemara, or mussar, imbues us with the Torah view.  Each step we take in deepening our understanding and appreciation of that view has the power to bring about a revolution in our internal selves that is no less powerful than the changes in our external environment that have been brought about by Newton and Einstein.  In two days we will hear the shofar and declare, "Today the World has been born."  That world is us.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…