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.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…