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Non-reason in Judaism and physics

Non-reason in Judaism and physics

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.”

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

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Conservative Lens

Noah: One of the most moral stories ever told

Next week, the film “Noah” opens. Having taught the Torah from the Hebrew for more than 40 years, I consider the biblical flood story one of the world’s most profound moral teachings. As I will show, it means that G-d cares about goodness more than anything else. Let me explain by answering the most frequent challenges to the story. Q: Why did G-d destroy the world?

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 March 2014 03:26 )

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View From Denver

Ten misconceptions about mikveh

Ten misconceptions about mikvehThe fundamental laws of mikveh derive from part of a single verse in this week’s Torah portion: “Only a wellspring and a pit, a gathering of water, will purify . . . ” (Lev. 11:36). There are ten misconceptions about a mikveh’s uses, users, makeup, costs and relation to cleanliness. Misconception 1: The mikveh cleanses a dirty person. It’s just the opposite. An immersion in a mikveh is invalid if even the tiniest piece of dirt adheres to the body. Nothing may intervene between the i...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 March 2014 03:26 )

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View from Central Park

Each generation has its story

What constitutes a generation? Robert Wohl probes this question in his book, The Generation of 1914. Through observing the mostly middle class of five European nations, the French, German, British, Spanish and Italian, Wohl raises awareness about the complexity and consciousness of what makes a generation. There is a famous debate between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Shimon ben Azzai. Which verse in the Torah is the guiding principle of Judaism? According to Rabbi Akiva it is the golden rule:” Love ...
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View From Denver

It’s all a matter of perspective

It’s all a matter of perspectiveThe story goes that in medieval Europe two people were laying bricks, and were asked, “what are you doing?” One said, “I’m laying bricks, can’t you see?” The other said, “I’m building a cathedral.” Back in the 1970s, at the beginning of feminism, a woman’s work in the home was demeaned and a woman’s career in the marketplace was esteemed. Leaving aside that things turned out to be rather more complicated, the work that a woman (or man) performs is appraised from the persp...
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