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Though meteorology has been around since the days of Aristotle (who coined the term), much of what we now know about weather systems has only been revealed with the advent of modern equipment such as radar and satellites. Yet we find many statements regarding weather predictions and conditions in words of Chazal written some 2,000 years ago — many of which can be understood only now, as meteorologists continue to uncover secrets of Creation.
The geocentric theory of the universe, which placed the earth at the center of the universe and all other bodies orbiting around it, was the basis of astronomical inquiry for 1,400 years. In the seventeenth century, a controversy erupted in the city of Prague regarding the revolutionary heliocentric theory — that the earth orbits the sun, rather than being the center of the universe. Is there a connection between the “new astronomy” and something mentioned the Torah? And can a Jew believe in heliocentrism?
When there was a Sanhedrin, months and years were calculated solely on the testimony of witnesses. How did we make the change to the fixed calendar, and how can we calculate our own calendar? Why does 5771 have 385 days, the most possible in any year? Answers to these questions, and some classified information, in this fascinating look at the Jewish calendar.
When tragedies happen, r”l, we are often reminded that “Venishmartem me’od lenafshoseichem” is a mitzvah to protect ourselves from danger. But in the Torah, this verse actually seems to be a commandment not to conceive of Hashem as a physical being. Is safety truly a Torah commandment?