Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Sunday,
May 29th
Home Columns View from Denver Non-reason in Judaism and physics

Non-reason in Judaism and physics

E-mail Print PDF

IT turns out that reason has less of a hold on religion and science that one might suppose; or, at least, on Judaism and physics.

In Jewish legal lingo, a “decree”  is a rule that runs against reason. The classic decree is that of the Red Cow. Its ashes, ritually prepared, contaminate its preparers; at the same time, these ashes purify the impure people on whom the ashes, mixed with spring water, are sprinkled.

Same object: ashes.

Two diametrically opposed results: impurity and purity.

That’s a “decree.”

The search for reason in the ritual of the Red Cow will likely take one as far as the search for reason in the reality of an electron in two different orbits simultaneously, or in the dual nature of light, now corpuscular, now wavular.

Same light.

Two diametrically opposed ways of characterizing it. Light is a particle. Light is a wave. On top of that, both characterizations are  necessary to explain light.

Go figure.

You can’t, by means of reason.

It has been remarked that attempts to draw analogies from quantum physics to any other aspect of reality is doomed to failure because nothing else behaves like subatomic realities. Even so, wherever they live, absolute paradoxes do govern part of reality.

The same goes for Judaism. Whenever they were in play, absolute paradoxes, or at least disjunctions unexplainable by reason, do govern parts of the Torah. One example is the “decree” of the Red Cow. Another example is in this week’s Torah portion.

The rest of this article is available in the March 28, 2014 IJN print and digital edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or subscribe to our new online e-Edition.

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 March 2014 06:03 )  

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Drake has a crush on Sarah Silverman

Gabe Friedman News flash: The most famous Jewish rapper on earth has a crush on one of the most famous Jewish comedians on earth. As explained on “Late Night with Seth Myers” Thursday night, Drake recently post... [Link]

Netanyahu’s government may be near collapse, report says

Julie Wiener (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government may be on the verge of collapse according to Israel’s Channel 10. In a report Friday night, the TV station quoted unnamed “party leaders... [Link]

Arab states have reportedly hand-picked Palestinian leader to succeed Abbas

Julie Wiener (JTA) — The United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan are reportedly planning to have former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan replace Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Citing unnamed senior ... [Link]

Captain America is a secret Nazi, and people are going crazy about it

Andrew Tobin The new Captain America comic book includes an epic reveal, and some people are not happy about it. When fans ran out to grab Marvel Comics’ “Captain America: Steve Rogers #1” on its relea... [Link]

US health firms, Haifa hospital team up to ‘incubate’ digital medicine start-ups

Andrew Silow-Carroll (JTA) — IBM Watson Health and Medtronics are teaming up with an Israeli hospital to create a high-tech “incubator” to encourage innovations in digital medicine. Rambam Health Care Campus in... [Link]

Steven Spielberg, in Harvard commencement speech, says anti-Semitism on the rise

Julie Wiener (JTA) — Speaking at Harvard University’s commencement, filmmaker Steven Spielberg said he was “wrong” as a kid to think anti-Semitism “was fading.” Spielberg, whose 99-year-old father Arno... [Link]

Transgender Israeli Arab wins historic Tel Aviv pageant

Julie Wiener (JTA) — A Christian Arab-Israeli ballet dancer won Israel’s first-ever transgender beauty pageant. Ta’alin Abu Hanna, 21, was named “Miss Trans Israel” in Tel Aviv Friday, the Jerusalem Post... [Link]

NY Times removes quotation marks from Israeli ‘occupation’

Gabe Friedman (JTA) — The New York Times removed quotation marks originally used around “occupation” in one of its news stories. The word appears in the phrase “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com