Issue 9.2: Nature

Editor’s Thoughts: Nature and Its Discontents

  The word “nature” is rich with differing meanings. When a chemist describes something as “natural,” a purveyor of organic food products might disagree[i]. One person’s proclivity in any number of realms might be described as unnatural by those who do not share them, but is ... Read more →

The Natural and Spiritual Light: The Duality of Hanukkah

Idolatry, the single greatest temptation of the ancient Jew, holds the attention of the biblical narrative with a choking grip until the destruction of the first Temple. Rambam explains this obsession as a gradual evolution.[i] When man first bowed to the luminary bodies he did so as an ... Read more →

Bricks and Stones: On Man’s Subdual of Nature

Like so many of the stories that make up the first sections of Bereshit, the Torah’s account of the Babylonian bricklayers, builders of the “Tower of Babel,” is extraordinarily cryptic. Interpretations abound, and one would not be hard-pressed to find many varied explanations of this ... Read more →

For it is not in Heaven…or is it?: On the Halakhot and Hashkafot of Space Travel

On the twentieth of July 1969, after four days of travel, two men set foot on the moon for the first time in history. Hundreds of millions heard Commander Neil Armstrong’s famous words “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” as he traversed the final frontier.[i] The ... Read more →

The Jewish Response to the Theory of Evolution

The question of how to proceed when science and Torah seem to be in conflict is not new among rabbinic figures. Over the centuries, various strategies have been used to provide what is, in the views of each individual rabbinic authority, the proper approach when this occurs, whether it be ... Read more →