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Author:  Rabbi Barukh Hertz
E-mail:  not available
Date:  9/26/2003 3:38:00 PM
Subject:  Bugs
Message:  I saw your reply regarding bugs. While I respect this opinion, I think you were a little too harsh. There are some very respected poskim who state that Chazal were wrong about scientific matters, and these poskim discuss the halakhic implications of this. In the Moreh Nevukhim the Rambam says that the science of Chazal is not halakhah le-Moshe mi-Sinai.
Reply:  In the Gemara itself it brings an argument between the Jewish Sages and the non-Jewish ones, and it ends by saying that it seems to be that in this the non-Jewish sages were correct. It does not give each person the right or permission to question the words of our Rabbis. If the Ramba"m says something is incorrect on a specific issue, and the later Rabbanim accept this, then we can accept it too. If it's as clear as day that the world is round and say a Gemara says somewhere that it is flat, we can accept that this was incorrect or had a different meaning. Often our transalations are not accurate. But for each person to walk around and on a whim say, "Oh, this was a mistake, that was a mistake," this is certainly what Rabbi Yochanan was referring to. No, I was not too harsh. Maybe a bit too soft. How can anyone prove that there never was something?! What kind of stupidity is that?! These scientists are always proving that the previous scientific determinations were not correct, & suddenly all that scientific proof is out the window. You cannot tell me that a certain animal did not exist. You can say that a certain animal did exist, if you saw it. These scientific facts mentioned about bugs never growing within a fruit, or that there was never an animal with a tail that grew from the ground and remained attached, these facts are actually only "THEORIES." How can you negate what is written in the Gemara based on a theory? I would like to see your response to this.

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