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TORAH & SCIENCE-----"time" before the sun


I promised “bbrown” answers to his questions, but to prove a point I promised I’d do it with my hands tied behind my back, so to speak.

He claimed that “a yeshivishe guy in Lakewood or a chasidishe guy in Williamsburgh” won't find answers to these questions, and so we are forced to seek resolutions “on the other side”. The truth is, the Torah has all the answers, always did, and you don’t need to rely on kefirah, non-halahic opinions, or useless attempts at pilpul to deal with any of this.

Here are the questions:

(a) whether a posuk can be not k'pshuto, and when we say ain mikrah yotzeh midei peshuto

(b) what do we answer the scientists when they tell us the world is billions of years old,

(c) what time was like and what it means before the sun was created

(d) if everything needs a creator who created G-d

(e) whether we are allowed to believe "unconventional" opinions written by reliable people, since psak din only applies to halachos and not hashkafa issues.

We’ll start with question (c) and the “yeshivishe guy”. Is Reb Elchonon yeshivish enough for you? Open Kovetz Shiurim, Pesachim #2.

He questions whether the fact that we use stars and the sun as a benchmark for daybreak and nightfall means that the sun and stars are the cause of the change of days or perhaps it is the hours and seconds themselves that cause the change of days – 24 hours on the clock is a new day etc – and the sun and stars are merely giant clocks, as it were, but just as clocks do not cause the passing of days but merely measure them, so too with or without the sun and stars, days would pass.

This is an halachic issue he says, because what happens if 3 different pairs of witnesses come, each testifying that they saw one star - do we accept their aggregate testimony to establish nightfall?

If 3 stars are the cause of nightfall, then the observation of one star is inadmissable as testimony as per the rule of davar velo chatzi dvar – witnesses cannot establish half of a halachic status; but if the stars do not establish status at all but merely measure it, then their testimony would be valid in the aggregate since establishing part of a symptom merely part of a measurement, which is valid in Bais Din (as per Shita Mekubetzes in Bava Basra 56a).

He proves his case from the fact that the Torah says “and it was night and it was day” during the first three days , even though there were no stars. Thus, we see that the sun and stars are not needed to create days; they merely measure them. But even without a measuring stick, a 24 hour time period, with or without the sun and stars, equals one day.

Thus, 3 sets of winesses, each testifying to one star, would be accepted in Bais Din and their testimony would not be subject to the disqualification of chatzi davar.

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