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Thought for the Day: The Torah is the Cure for Extremism -- The Only Cure

Let's start with something simple and non-controversial:  How many sexes does science say there are?  Whoops... I forgot; I am not writing this two years ago.  Even that science guy seems to be confused.  So few years ago there were two, now there is a spectrum.  Science can tell you the genotype, the phenotype, the percentage of different hormones produced, the percentage introduced, etc.  The number and how to count them is really a matter for the legislature, not science.

How many sexes does the Torah say there are?  Certainly two, but maybe three; though in practice it can go to five.  How so?  There is male and female.  Then there is a טומטום (pronounced: tuhm-tuhm).  A טומטום is either male or female, but there are no outward manifestations.  Then there is a אנדרוגינוס/hermaphrodite.  A אנדרוגינוס has manifestations of both sexes; it is a matter of discussion among the sages if that sex is both male and female or third sex all his/her/its own.  (Using "it" is not meant to be derogatorily, just noting there is no word in English for a third sex.)  Then there are those who never develop to sexual maturity: אילונית and the masculine counterpart.  That has always been the Torah answer; always will be.

That was fun; let's try another: How old is the universe according to science?  Well, 100 years ago, it was infinitely old.  Then Hubble and Einstein made it only a few billion years old, or a few thousand, depending on which particle you ride on when you make the measurement; it's relative.

How old does the Torah say the world is?  Currently it is about 5777 or so years; give or take a couple hundred because the Sages intentionally obfuscated the number to stop people from trying to calculate then end (that's a real killer for life insurance agents, of course).  Oh; and of course there's the first six days when the concept of time as we know it doesn't really have any meaning.  That's the Torah answer; always has been, always will be.  (Not the actual number, smart guy; you know what I mean.)

What about cruelty to animals?  The ASPCA would have you think it is a very modern and (finally!) civilized concept to prevent cruelty to animals.  Perhaps that is true of non-Torah societies.   Our Torah, however, has many verses that speak against such cruelty.  Normative Jewish law (halacha) forbids one to eat until he has fed his animals.

How about abortion?  Society a few years ago called it murder, not it calls it a choice.  Greek society considered leaving a weak infant out in the elements to die normal practice.  Now that is called child abuse.  How about euthanasia?  In the Netherlands it is legal.  In America, not so much; but perhaps hospice is moving in that direction?

We all learned about the mores and customs in societies throughout history moving from one extreme to another; sometimes over years, sometimes decades, sometimes centuries.  Torah Judaism always looks old-fashioned, because it doesn't change.  The world goes rushing passed us, first in this direction, then the other.  We stand firm only because we have an external and G-d Given standard of decency and even holiness.


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