The Lethal Jokester
Parshat Pekudei: Taking Inventory

Moshe Rabbenu and NASA

Secrets of the Universe

All over the world - in the USA, in the UK and Europe, and even here in Israel, certain political elements are trying to force the Torah-observant population to dilute the Torah education of the cheders and yeshivas with secular studies. What's more, with the "teshuva" movement of today, many people are worried that their sons prefer Torah study in Yeshiva to the pursuit of "Hellenistic" intellectual disciplines in university. Be proud and happy, dear parents, and please don't worry anymore. Although many people who were born into the Torah world succumb to outside propaganda and pressure, thinking that people in the universities know something that our sages of the Talmud didn't know, they'd be well-advised to take a closer look. Here's why:

Hashem taught Moshe Rabbenu on Mount Sinai the secrets of the universe, including astronomy and astrophysics. NASA is over 3,300 years behind Moshe Rabbenu; thanks to their advanced technological equipment, they're only beginning to learn what Moshe Rabbenu knew way back then. And, Moshe Rabbenu didn't have satellites, astrophotography or atomic clocks - he didn't need them.

Let's compare NASA's latest billion-dollar research on the lunar cycle to what our sages in Talmud have known for the past thousands of years:

The Talmud states that the lunar cycle spans ‘29.5 days and 793 fractions of an hour’. In Talmudic terms, the hour is divided into 1080 parts.

793/1080 = 0.734259 hours.

0.734259/24 = 0.03059 days.

29.5 days + 0.03059 days  =  29.53059 days for the moon to travel around Earth.

NASA Research concluded that the lunar cycle is 29.530588 days, two 1/1000ths of a second short of the Talmudic figure. More advanced research in Berlin came to a figure of 29.530589 days, only one thousandth of a second short of the Talmudic figure.

The Sinai tradition of the span of the lunar cycle is thus corroborated by figures reached via advanced satellites and atomic clocks.

Put down the astronomy book and start learning Tractate Rosh Hashana, the Rambam's laws of the new moon, and the Tiferet Yisroel's commentary on Mishnayot. If you're looking for a degree, go to university; if you're looking for wisdom, go to the Torah. 


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Leah Finkelstein

Yasher koach. I could not have said it any better.

A good rounded education includes the following subjects :

The Tanach; History; Geography; Science; English; The National Language (in Israel's case Hebrew); Sport; Art and Music. Other electives can be chosen. More Renaissance men and women are needed not less.

The word "educere" comes from the Latin, to bring forth from within. Some guidance is required but people learn best when their curiosity is sparked.

Elliot Brill

Thanks for that Rabbi Lazer. There are so many people walking about with college degrees doing mundane jobs or no jobs. People study all sorts of obscure & useless subjects at colleges, but Torah study is beneath them. For many parents sending their children to university is almost holy, Heaven help us.


Rav Arush stresses in Garden of Peace (which I urge all men to read, by the way!) that the ketubah says husbands are obligated to support their wives, so they need to get a job if they need income. It is hard to get a job without a degree, or some kind of professional training, so if people want to fulfill their ketubah isn't this what they should do? It can be combined with Torah study, such as at places like Touro and Yeshivah University. Anyway, Pirkei Avot 2:2 says that we must combine Torah study with work, and the Talmud rules that parents are obligated to teach their sons a trade. When a large proportion of Orthodox Jews do no work or only work under the table, this is a great chillul Hashem making the secular look down on them and Torah, Hashem forbid. Orthodox Jews should be in all professions (ideally part-time), even those requiring years of university study, because all these Jews will have the opportunity to fulfill many mitzvot through these jobs, and show the secular that one can contribute to the practical functioning of society and still spend much time in Torah study and prayer.


Right on lazer ! May the day be coming that caltech berlin university oxford stanford MIT and harvard are the students of those whove mastered the pardes of torah like the gra and baba sali !

Esther Rachel

How does this relate: each hour is associated with unique numerical
value increments of the 144 letter
pair vowel combinations of G_ds name.

I only can understand some of this but
is this also fractions or parts of an hour?

Barry Shapero

Thank you. this post and the last one are both a breath of fresh air (deep breath of TRUTH). There is so much nonsense and blindness around, it is refreshing to see these in print and up front. May the growing light of Chanuka finally reach the target and open everyone's eyes.
Chanuka Samauch
Barry (Thornhill Canada)

Kalman M.

"... If you're looking for a degree, go to university; if you're looking for wisdom, go to the Torah..."

The Midrash tells us that "חכמה בגוים - תאמן". Meaning that there is wisdom among the nations.

Plenty of people go to university to gain vital pragmatic knowledge in fields such as engineering, medicine and sciences. They're not there to simply gain "a degree". They're there to get vital knowledge, experience and wisdom -- that can't be found explicitly in the Torah .

BTW: The ancient Babylonians were also able to calculate the synodic month to the same precision.


A big Yasher Koach for an EXCELLENT post! There are still those, even within the religious world, who seem to find it hard to give Torah the proper respect and superiority that it deserves. They are G-D's words and nothing can beat that, for sure!!! EVERYTHING is found in it!

Moshe Meir

I do not agree that a college education is diametrically opposed to being a Torah-observant/believing Jew. I go to shul daily, study a daf Gemara every day, celebrate Shabbat and all the Holidays. At the same time, I am a computer engineer with a Masters' degree from a very reputable university. I have worked in this field for almost 32 years. My work has resulted in products that have benefited people greatly. My university education has allowed me to be a productive member of society, afford to send my children to private Jewish schools, and live a fulfilling Jewish life.

If you permit, here is a counter-argument to your "Moon distance" example: in Tanach, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is stated as 3 (a rounding down, which is OK for the purpose of describing the basin in the Beit HaMikdash). The Talmud goes as far as approximating a bit more with a fraction. However, the poskim point out that Pi is an irrational number and cannot be expressed as a ratio of two integers. Without the exact value of Pi, we would not have the vast majority of modern technology (including the computer I'm using to write this message), sophisticated medical intstruments, space travel (which has allowed for many scientific breakthroughs), etc, etc. This is just one tiny example.

I agree that some weak minds may be attracted to alien philosophies if exposed to them, but the vast majority of Jews are perfectly capable of being versed in both science and Torah. After all, Torah is the blueprint of creation. Science, to me, is meant to explain the Universe and to help us master it.

As things stand today, it is not possible to become a doctor, civil engineer, computer scientist, pharmacist, etc, in a yeshiva. Without the people who have studied these disciplines, we would still be living in the dark ages with horrible diseases killing large segments of the population, uneducated masses, and most of the wealth concetrated on very few people. I belive that secular education, properly harnessed, is not only good for humanity, it is also the way Hashem is helping us to approach the Messianic era in tandem with Torah study and observance of mitzvot.

Happy Adar Sheni!

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