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37. A Science Sidebar
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Incidental to talking about the celestial spheres [III, 14], the Rambam mentions some facts about astronomy as the Sages related them. For example, he mentions that the distance from Saturn to Earth is a journey of approximately 8,700 solar years. The Rambam suggests that a day’s travel is about 40 mil of 2,000 cubits each, […]
Antigonus and Hegel
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Avos 1, 3: Antigonus of Socho received the Torah from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: Be not like servants who minister unto their master for the sake of receiving a reward, but be like servants who serve their master not upon the condition of receiving a reward; and let the fear of Heaven […]
36. The Influence of the Celestial Spheres
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What about the influence that the celestial spheres are said to exert on the affairs of man? The Rambam addresses this issue with a metaphor. [III, 14] Let’s take the example of a craftsman who makes sewing needles for a living. He might construct a large machine for the job. If he were to build […]
Tzarich Iyun: Giraffe Meat
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Misconception:Although the giraffe is a kosher animal, it is not slaughtered because it is not known where on the neck to perform the shechitah (ritual slaughter). Fact: The makom shechitah (region of the neck in which ritual slaughter is valid) on a giraffe is precisely defined by halachah, just as it is for all animals, […]
35. What Is the Purpose of the Universe?
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Intelligent people drive themselves crazy trying to figure out the purpose of creation. The Rambam proceeds to demonstrate how absurd the question is according to the various points of view regarding the origin of the universe (refer back to section 10). [III, 13] First, a few ground rules must be established. It should go without […]
Acquiring Torah
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Torah is greater than the priesthood or sovereignty, for sovereignty is acquired with thirty virtues, the priesthood with twenty-four, and Torah is acquired with forty-eight qualities. These are: 1) study, 2) listening, 3) verbalizing, 4) comprehension of the heart, 5) awe, 6) fear, 7) humility, 8) joy, 9) purity, 10) attending to the sages, 11) […]