Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Irrelevance of Creation

Yesterday, as I walk into Shul, a crazy friend of mine comes over giggling. Upon my inquiry what the fuss is all about, he tells me that in the wee hours of the morning, he snuck into my house and tickled my nose. And? You didn’t even feel it! And? I tickled again! And? I just had to give up! And? The giggling was over.

Besides for giving me the creeps, I would have no clue how this matters for me. For all I can gather, there are no personal items missing from the china closet, nor does this jerk have the brains to take any, or to do any other harm. He’s a totally harmless creep.

The Creation Story

We all know the about the story of creation presented in the Bible. If you read the Bible carefully, you will conclude the age of the world to be approximately 5700 years, as it appears in the Jewish calendar. However, the scientific consensus regarding the age of the world is growing stronger every passing year. This consensus holds true between multiple and diverse disciplines such as cosmology, biology, and archaeology.

Yet, for many a biblical religion, this poses an existential dilemma. And it’s all about the timeline. If you must accept the literal bible as the absolute truth, then you cannot reconcile this with the scientific view of the age of the world. As a rational human being, you are forced to choose between one of the two.

So, along comes the creative solution, first pioneered by southern Baptists more than a century ago in defense of the Biblical narrative. If God Almighty has the limitless power to do anything, then he could have just so created all that we see today in the form of a 4.2 billion year old world, complete with all the processes a real 4.2 billion year old world would have had.

Sounds cool, doesn't it? Well, not exactly. Here is a challenge to this whimsical theory. If indeed it is the case that the world was created less than six thousand years ago, but in the form of a 4.2 billion year old world, what relevance does this creation have (other than explaining an irrelevant old text)? How does this creation matter in any shape or form? Or to sharpen the question, why would the creator petty around with this creation as if… and not do so in the first instance, i.e. creating the world 4.2 billion years ago for real.

Can we surmise that He wasn't around then? After all, it was before the big bang...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Shine Of the Shechina

מסכת שבת דף ל' ע"א
• “וילכו לאהליהם” שמצאו נשותיהן בטהרה
• "שמחים” שנהנו מזיו השכינה
• “וטובי לב” שנתעברו נשותיהן של כל אחד ואחד וילדה זכר

How exactly does "נהנו מזיו השכינה" fit into the sequence between "מצאו נשותיהן בטהרה" and "נתעברו נשותיהן"?

Well, how does this compare to: "וצדיקים יושבים ועטרותיהם בראשיהם ונהנים מזיו השכינה"...

Why were we so
naive to think this is some Islamic concept…

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Intimate Taboo

The mikveh was unexpectedly steamy, hot, and oh yes, bubbling full of hot air. The regular frummie gossipers were quivering in the rabbeinu tam’s gatches, unmistakably shaken. The most recent shocker: The Chassidic community has been collectively tortured and is under attack. One of our own, Rabbi Lebovits, was convicted this week on eight counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and then some.

There were the usual guys railing against lowly pedophiles and that they deserve more prison time than Al Capone. On the other hand there were the usual Mesira hacks screaming bloody traitor against anybody who has a hand in this whole stinky affair. Then there was Moshe. He was certain that the damage to the sexually abused child is definitely over-hyped by fantasizing and dramatizing Psychologists, who love to make a big to-do about every other nothing.

How can a bit of extra touching, especially to a child who has no clue of what’s happening to him, do any substantive damage to the child’s psyche? This has got to be a good excuse for every delinquent out there. How foolish of the so-called ‘child advocates’ to perpetuate this argument? And isn’t it really brilliant to shove this farce under the rug? And he has proof too. Only crazies stand up to claim abuse…

Moshe also noted that abused children deserve some blame too. For instance, Moshe's father, a prominent aged rabbi in our community, would never allow him to go to the mikveh until after his Bar Mitzva, and even then, only once a week. I subtly proposed to him that perhaps his father had some first-hand experience as a victim…

Moshe was offended. I pursued this further. “Let’s assume your father is a victim, does this somehow diminish his stature? We’ll agree that his abuser aint a saint, but what does this say about your father?” Ironically, he claimed that I should understand that it is offensive for anyone, especially someone in our sheltered community, to have his private intimate life discussed by others.

For some odd reason, the irony was lost on him…