Sunday, June 2, 2013

Providence and Lion Attacks

Although this website is called "Rationalist Judaism," I have never personally claimed to be a perfect rationalist; instead, I usually describe myself as "rationalistically inclined." There are certain issues with which I simply can't personally adhere to the rationalist approach. One of them is providence.

As I discussed in The Challenge Of Creation, from a rationalist standpoint, personal providence is to be downplayed. Pre-hassidic rabbinic authorities generally did not see everything as being bashert. And I'm also aware of how easy it is for the human mind to see pattern and significance in that which, statistically speaking, contains none.

But I can't help how I feel. Quite simply, I really strongly feel a tremendous amount of divine providence in my own life. I'm not just talking about all the various blessings that I enjoy as a result of how my life has turned out. I'm not even just talking about the way in which those who campaigned against me experienced their own downfall, which continually unfolds. I'm talking about the way in which, in the course of writing books for the public about Judaism and the natural sciences, obscure but incredibly useful pieces of information find their way to me - sometimes at extraordinarily fortuitous times.

Twelve years ago, I began writing The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom. At the moment, I am finishing the first volume, on chayos (wild animals). I left writing the chapter on lions until last, even though it appears first in the book, due to its difficulty. Over the last few months I have been completing this chapter, and on Friday I came to a particularly problematic section, regarding how lions hunt.

Zoologists have observed that while the lion’s method of obtaining prey takes many forms, the most common method involves co-operative hunting in which several lions will stalk their prey, fan out, and some will then rush the prey animal and chase it towards the others. Zoological studies also describe lionesses as doing most of the killing of prey, with males enjoying the results of the lionesses’ kills. George Schaller's seminal study of lion behavior, performed in the Serengeti, describes how out of a total of 1,210 lions observed stalking and chasing after their prey, only 3% were males.

Such co-operative stalking and chasing by lionesses is, however, never described in Scripture. Instead, all accounts of lion attacks – most of which are metaphorical, but which should still be using an image drawn from reality – are of solitary male lions that are lying in ambush:
He lies in wait secretly, like a lion in his den; he lies in wait to catch the poor; he catches the poor, when he draws him into his net. (Psalms 10:9)
He is like a lion that is greedy for its prey, and like a young lion lurking in secret places. (Psalms 17:12)
[God] is to me like a bear lying in ambush, and like a lion in secret places. (Lamentations 3:10)
Why does Scripture describe male lions hunting via ambush, if the zoological accounts of hunting involve lionesses hunting via stalking and chasing? This was the problem that I faced on Friday morning.

I stared at these verses on my computer screen, trying to figure out how I would address this topic in my encyclopedia. A burst of inspiration completely failed to enter my head. So I did what I usually do in such situations; I temporarily gave up, and switched windows on my computer in order to take a look at my feeds from various websites. And, lo and behold, there was a headline about a newly published report on lion behavior, which directly addressed this problem.

It turns out that the reason why zoological accounts of lions hunting involve lionesses stalking and chasing their prey is that the zoological studies were, until very recently, necessarily selective. Most studies of lions hunting have taken place in open savannah such as the Serengeti, where it is easy to observe such behavior. But the study that hit the news on Friday utilized GPS devices fitted to lions and laser-based terrain mapping technology. This revealed that while in the open savannah, the hunting is mostly done via lionesses stalking and chasing, in forested regions it is different: male lions hunt alone, via ambushing their prey. (It does not appear that they hunt on behalf of the females, but who knows, perhaps this will yet be demonstrated.)

The reason for this has to do with the physical differences between male and female lions. Males are much more powerfully built, with a heavy mane. This makes them well-suited for fighting other males for control of the pride, but it makes them slower and less agile than females, and the mane harms their ability to camouflage themselves in grass. Whereas lionesses can engage in group hunting involving stalking and speed, male lions must use a technique of ambushing. Such a technique is most effective in dense forest. This terrain is not very common in the African savannah, but there would have been much of it in Biblical Israel, which was much more densely forested than the Israel of today.
The lion has come up from his thicket... a lion from the forest shall slay them… (Jeremiah 4:7, 5:6)
The typical lion attack in Biblical Israel would have been an ambush from a solitary male lion in a thicket, not the stalking and chasing done by groups of lions in the Serengeti. Fabulous!

The timing of my seeing this news report was simply exquisite. That's why I can't be a full-blooded rationalist. Who knows, maybe I should try reciting Perek Shirah as a segulah to get funding for my museum!

55 comments:

  1. What about other things said by Chazal that GPS hasn't confirmed yet?

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  2. Ok, waiting for a Kollel Guys vs. Lions redux... (Kidding.)

    Even if male lions don't bring back their prey to the den, I would imagine that they drag it off to eat in isolation, so an observer might assume (giving a little "limud zechut" to the lion) that he's bringing it back to the den.

    In any case, "mazel tov" on the
    good timing! (The stars were surely with you ;-)

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  3. See now this is the kind of stuff you should be putting out. Positive, informative and a good mix of rationalism and personal feelings. Kol hakavod.

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  4. Rabbi Slifkin, do you think there may be a difference between hasgacha pratis and sachar veonesh?

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  5. I don't mean this in a bad way but i am just confused how you are so sure Providence is with you.
    Is there not a talmud dictum that God makes things good for the bad guys, and bad for the rightous?

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  6. Solitary lions tend towards ambush predation. Groups stalk and chase. Male lions typically spend a large portion of their lives alone or in a coalition with a brother; they'll do a lot more ambush hunting.

    Of course, even the group hunting involves elements of ambush. Prey is driven towards hidden lions who then taken it down as in this well-known video Battle at Kruger also known as "Sometimes it just doesn't pay to get out of bed in the morning".

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  7. I don't mean this in a bad way but i am just confused how you are so sure Providence is with you.
    Is there not a talmud dictum that God makes things good for the bad guys, and bad for the rightous?


    Rambam Guide Part 3 Chapter 24

    The doctrine of trials is open to great objections; it is in fact more exposed to objections than any other thing taught in Scripture. It is mentioned in Scripture six times, as I will show in this chapter. People have generally the notion that trials consist in afflictions and mishaps sent by God to man, not as punishments for past sins, but as giving opportunity for great reward. This principle is not mentioned in Scripture in plain language, and it is only in one of the six places referred to that the literal meaning conveys this notion. I will explain the meaning of that passage later on. The principle taught in Scripture is exactly the reverse; for it is said: “He is a God of faithfulness, and there is no iniquity in him” (Deut. xxxii. 4).

    The teaching of our Sages, although some of them approve this general belief [concerning trials], is on the whole against it. For they say, “There is no death without sin, and no affliction without transgression.” (See p. 285.) Every intelligent religious person should have this faith, and should not ascribe any wrong to God, who is far from it; he must not assume that a person is innocent and perfect and does not deserve what has befallen him. The trials mentioned in Scripture in the [six] passages, seem to have been tests and experiments by which God desired to learn the intensity of the faith and the devotion of a man or a nation. [If this were the case] it would be very difficult to comprehend the object of the trials, and yet the sacrifice of Isaac seems to be a case of this kind, as none witnessed it, but God and the two concerned [Abraham and Isaac]. Thus God says to Abraham, “For now I know that thou fearest God,” etc. (Gen. xxii. 12). In another passage it is said: “For the Lord your God proveth you to know whether ye love,” etc. (Deut. xiii. 4). Again, “And to prove thee to know what was in thine heart,” etc. (ibid. viii. 2). I will now remove all the difficulties...

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  8. Why is hashgacha pratis anti-rationalist? Even the rationalist schools of thought bsubscribe to some level of hashgacha pratis; it's just much more restricted that what the mystical approach says.

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  9. >At the moment, I am finishing the first volume...

    How many volumes is it expected to be?

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  10. Firstly, Yishar coach on your work, in general and in particular on this encyc'.
    A question for you: You seem to assume that the term "אריה" or "ארי" in tanach reffers to the animal we identify as אריה or lion today. However, to the best of my knowledge the animals we know as lions are not endemic to the lands which were known first hand to the Israelites of the bible. In other words, for the bible to reference lions would be meaningless to the audience. Is it not possible that when the tanach says "ארי" it means some other big cat endemic to the Lavant area? This wouldn't be unprecedented. It is fairly obvious to me that תנין does not mean crocodile or aligator, the animals this word signifies in modern Hebrew.

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  11. Lions lived in Israel until at least the 13th century.
    Crocodiles lived in Israel until the 19th century.

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  12. regarding seeing patterns where none exist I believe the term is apophenia

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  13. "Why does Scripture describe male lions hunting via ambush, if the zoological accounts of hunting involve lionesses hunting via stalking and chasing?"

    My first thought (though I'm not wedded to it) was simply: Lishna d'almah.

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  14. Many seeming Rationalist believed in personal providence of some sort.

    Radak, even while downplaying the idea in his commentary in several places, acknowledges this in other comments. Rambam also states some level of providence, at least to the extent that this world is also designed to reward the righteous, and the sole purpose of many events in life is to provide benefit for some righteous person or other in the future.

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  15. One can also distinguish between zoologists and regular people. The former are more likely to observe lionesses stalking and chasing on the savannah. The latter - especially in Biblical times - are more concerned about the possibility of chas v'shalom being ambushed by a lion in the forest.

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  16. nice hasgachah protis story,

    which is bigger yours or rav kanievsky's grasshopper

    http://parsha.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/implications-of-miracle-stories.html




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  17. Did the rationalist rishonim interpret such thing as birkat hamazon, the modim bracha of the amidah, and nishmat kol chai in some non-literal way that does not mean that Hashem does kindnesses to all of us on a regular basis (such as giving us food)? I doubt they would go that far. Even rationalists should agree that Hashem often does good things for each individual, because otherwise these prayers would be lies. That doesn't mean that everything is bashert -- just that a lot of things are arranged by G-d for a good reason. Even Rambam, in the Guide, approvingly cites the Talmudic passage about how even seemingly trivial things are sent by God. I think the example Rambam gives is being pricked by a thorn.

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  18. The question is, why the Hashem send you this particular bit of information at that time? Perhaps it was because, to the extent that modern sciences corroborates the views of the Torah and Chazal (as in this case), this will strengthen your and others' emunah in the divine origin of the written and oral Torah. Perhaps that is one of the underlying purposes (conscious or not) behind your encyclopedia?

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  19. Regarding rationality: In Parshas Shlach, which we read last week, perhaps the main lesson is not to be too much of a rationalist, after all, the opinion of the Meraglim, that the Jews could not defeat the powerful inhabitants of Canaan, was quite "rational." However Judaism demands that sometimes we must act irrationally, and not be bound by the constraints of rationality. Likewise it wasn't quite "rational" for Dovid to go out alone to face Golayith. There are many other examples with the same lesson.

    Regarding Hashgacha Protis and lions: We are now reading Parshas Korach. The Parsha has 95 Pesukim - and the "Siman" is "Daniel" (gematria 95). The most famous story about Daniel involves lions - how he was cast into the lions' den and wasn't harmed (another unexpected, non-rational outcome, although it may have a rational explanation). Thus it was clearly Hashgacha Protis that RNS posted his discovery about the behavior of lions at the beginning of this week. ;-)

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  20. Cute story, but really? You're immerssed in this subject, I imagine your feeds reflect your interests. This is a very long, ongoing process. Assuming God somehow was involved in your seeing this story, what would the mechanism be?

    As for what happened to your detractors. Nasty people turning out to be nastier than we thought. A true miracle! (not)

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  21. Moshe F. - about it being "irrational" for David to face down Goliath or for Bnei Yisrael not to heed the spies' warnings, you make a good point - and it shows we need to make a chiluk between two types of "irrational".

    One type of "irrational" relates to low probability. Just about all the great stories ever told have the protagonist facing improbable odds and emerging victorious. And even though we know it doesn't always work that way in real life, we love these stories because they foster courage, hope and idealism, and because well - they're exciting! That's the kind of "irrational" in the examples you brought.

    The other kind of "irrational" is something which in and of itself lacks coherence or reason. For instance, a statement that "my learning protects us from our enemies" (or that such-and-such happened as the result of divine providence or some other mysterious "force") is not irrational in the sense of "low probability" – it's irrational because the cause-and-effect assumptions underlying the statement lack any reasonable grounding either in our everyday experience or in our theoretical understanding of how the world works.

    The first kind of irrational is important for the human psyche, so long as we know when to act prudently and when to throw caution to the wind. The second, until proven otherwise, is simply a form of delusion, and while many people rely on irrational beliefs (and in that sense they might be considered "important"), in theory we can (and I would say "should") do without them.

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  22. as a follow-up to the Rav Kanievsky grasshopper story, there was a video in which he confirmed it happened. but if you listen to his 'confirmation', he says that the grasshopper was already a 'ben bayit' by him. meaning that it already frequented his home, not that he had to send his daughter looking through Bnei Brak, she miraculously could not find one, and one miraculously appeared in his home.

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  23. though according to this he was worried about the grasshopper wall, so perhaps my diyuk isn't correct.

    help, my laptop is suddenly swarming with grasshoppers!

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  24. I love this post. Rabbi Slifkin at his best defending the Torah.
    Let's have some more like this.

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  25. > Yishai said...
    > Perhaps it was because, to the extent that modern sciences corroborates the views of the Torah and Chazal (as in this case), this will strengthen your and others' emunah in the divine origin of the written and oral Torah.

    How does this reflect the divine origin of the Torah? If the Torah was written by people living in ancient Israel, we would expect them to accurately record how they observed lions hunt.

    Moshe F. said...
    > Likewise it wasn't quite "rational" for Dovid to go out alone to face Golayith.

    Sure it was. Golias was a heavy infantryman, weighed down by armor, who, if he was like other heavy infantry, would fight in formation from behind a shield wall. For David to tried to match swords with Golias would have been irrational, but he didn’t. David shot him, from well outside the arms-length range of Golias’s weapon. That David used a slingshot and not a rifle doesn’t make it any less one-sided.

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  26. 1. Be careful how you advertise the encyclopedia. Last week I picked up a book calling itself the Encyclopedia of Taryag Mitzvos. It is an obvious Artsroll knockoff, in style and presentation. It has about 30 pages of introductions and donors, and it has its own "Shottenstein" patron too, Mr. Ira Rennert. In the book and on the internet, the project promotes itself as a revolution, that there will be cards coming, that an international staff of 100 has already been assembled, that tens of thousands of students will use it in their curriiculum - -

    That was five years ago. Out of the 613, they are up to #38.

    2. If anything, shouldnt this expereince give you some pause over the limits of science? Here we have a case where the universal received wisdom was that the lionesess are the ones who do the hunting, and now suddenly fresh evidence says we've been wrong all along, and that that is only true in the savanah, but in the forests it would be the lion. ["male lion", in this context, is redundant.] What other doctrines of science will be next to fall?

    [PS, dont infer from here that I think chazal were right about everything. Addarabahh, we know they often were not. My point is that if some people are overy credulous of chazal, some, not saying you necessarily, are likewise overly receptive to current science.]

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  27. One thing one should learn from this that you do not mention is that we don't necessarily know everything even though we have studied nature so much in the last 150 years. Thus, when writing about behavior of animals, one should be keen to say things like "as far as we have observed" or "according to most recent observations" and not things like "we know that" etc.

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  28. "It does not appear that they hunt on behalf of the females, but who knows, perhaps this will yet be demonstrated."

    Your linked source (through "Kollel Guys vs. Lions") is Nachum 2:13 which MALBIM understands as a lion attacking his familly, not fending for them.

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  29. DF, June 4, 2013 at 5:33 PM:

    If anything, shouldnt this expereince give you some pause over the limits of science? Here we have a case where the universal received wisdom was that the lionesess are the ones who do the hunting, and now suddenly fresh evidence says we've been wrong all along, and that that is only true in the savanah, but in the forests it would be the lion. ["male lion", in this context, is redundant.] What other doctrines of science will be next to fall?

    What this experience should do, if anything, is to give you a greater understanding of what science is and what science is not, DF. It doesn't or shouldn't produce doctrines and unless someone can propose a better way on how to improve or replace it, it remains the best tool for studying and understanding natural and physical events. What you think is a failure, this ability to test any assumptions or hypothesis and to add to or correct information, is precisely what makes the scientific method so fabulously effective and highly credible.

    Think about it. If such assumptions were treated as doctrine, as you mistakenly believe, the original lion behaviour researchers -- probably genuine gedolim of the science world, with a string of letters after their names and who might even be venerable octogenarians too by now -- would be issuing official positions and banning any new or contrary information. Instead, all they can do, without looking like idiots or charlattans, is to either properly verify the new information and challenge it if deficient, or to accept it gracefully.

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  30. Tzaphnas PaneachJune 5, 2013 at 6:14 AM

    Reuven Meir - Of course, that should always be the way one talks in science, and in many other areas of wisdom as well.

    Since that is the case, saying "we know" is really synonymous with that.

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  31. Ashreichem Yisroel, when NS puts on stuff thats full of hatred to the charedim he gets on average 10 hits on the emess box.
    But when he writes about hashgacha pratis he gets 25 checks.
    Mi Ke'amcha yisrael!

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  32. Tell me, Moish, do you believe that criticism of charedim is always equal to hatred of charedim?

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  33. Temujin - you have a mistaken impression. I dont think of scientific hypothesi as doctrine or gospel. But many others do. Think of the global warming or evolution fanatics, who believe in those theories (or in their mind, aunassailable fact) with at least as much religious fervor and zeal as the most Charedi jews. And yet this bit with the lions is a good example, if the latest news is correct, of scientific error.

    Myself? I'm skeptical of everything pretty much to the same extent I believe in it.

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  34. Yeah, not to mention those spherical-earth fanatics.

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  35. I would think that hunting by male lions was never precluded - just not usually depicted. To my knowledge males are driven off the pride when they reach a certain age. The pride consists then of one male and a number of females. The exiled males may band together or go their separate ways. In any case, they need to eat, and hunting is their only option until they can displace a male lion from another pride. I don't believe that solitary females are commonly present among lions - although I did see an episode in the Natural Geographic channel where a lioness with cubs left the pride to protect her offspring when the pride male was deposed.

    R' Natan's post is reminiscent of my similar experience. I had become interested in the topic of techeilet as promoted by the Ptil Tekhelet group in Israel and had read the source materials provided. One source that I had not seen was Rav Herzog's thesis on the topic. While visiting family then living in Boca Raton, I found a translation of the thesis in my host's library. After reading it, I went for a walk on the beach where I encountered a washed up Portugese Man-of-War (a brilliant blue mollusc) and a group of murex snails anchored to a washed up twig. The snails were not the Trunculus species that produces the blue dye, but are distant 'cousins'. They displayed their feeding habit by extending their rasplike radulas in unison. That combination of a brilliant blue color in the mollusc and the appearance of the sea snails powerfully reinforced what I had been studying.

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  36. Predictions made under the assumption of a spherical earth and evolution have held up. Global warming, not so much.

    - Moishe Potemkin

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  37. Thank you for your response, DF. In my defense I will say that my impression can only be formed by what you write and by my own take on things. To wit, you said, Here we have a case where the universal received wisdom was that the lionesess are the ones who do the hunting... I take it you're saying that what was merely a limited field observation grew to hypothesis, flowered into a theory and transformed into a metaphysical, faith-based belief, a whopping "universal received wisdom." That's a hefty charge... for which there is not one iota of evidence. Instead, in this case we see a ready acceptance of a new observation, one which together with the previous one will, I'm guessing, generate new hypotheses about animal behaviour and environmental influences. I'm now actually curious about what it is in the differences between Savannah and forest environments to lead to such radically different hunting adaptations in such behaviourally "hard wired" specie as the great cats.  But I digress, this zoology stuff, to which I never really paid much attention before,  is starting to grow on me....

    Anyhow, with regards to your examples of alleged failures of science, I suggest that you incorrectly conflated a developed theory, that of evolution, one bursting with evidence from a multitude of independent sources and observable and testable data, with that which is the recent climate hypothesis promoted and funded from the top, from government and industry,  one that is poorly cobbled together by a hastily erected discipline, with faulty tools (including, funnily enough, computer models based on a flat earth and simplified static atmosphere simulacrums), supported by sloppy and dubious empirical data and plenty of documented chicanery. It is easy to confuse such apples and oranges if one thinks of science as Science, that is to say, as a belief system, a social and political establishment, a kind of a medieval Order. Yet, science is nothing of the sort; it's merely a successful research strategy, a developing cognitive and experimental methodology, one which, unfortunately, lends itself to be abuse when a crucial component, free inquiry, is suppressed or suspended. Eventually, though, errors committed by scientists-- errors like phrenology,  Lysenkoism, eugenics, racialism and the rapidly collapsing anthropogenic global warming claim you mentioned-- tend to be deconstructed by the scientific process of inquiry itself. It's really mostly a tool, this science thing,  one which can not only generate knowledge,  but one which has inbuilt self-correcting mechanisms for challenging nonsense. If we follow the attached operating instructions in small type, that is.....

    PS, if anyone has been put off by our good Rabbi's quip about the flat earth theory, solace can be found in emerging quantum theory quackeries much too easily found on YouTube, where our universe turns out to be a two dimensional, holographic pancake of sorts, made to look three dimensional by our faulty perception....our old lying eyes again.

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  38. Criticizing the haredi world does not equal hatred to judaism.
    However, just as you are against the kollel system as it goes against normative judaism practised throughout the centuries, similarly the charedim feel that rebuke to their community should be done in a way that was practised throught the centuries.
    And since Moses until 2008 when your blog came along rebuke was offered by great rabbis who knew when and how to give tochecha, not zoologists.
    By the way the proof is in the pudding; if your intent of rebuke is so sincere why is it that when the great rabbis rebuked their own community on the dangers of internet in citifield did you mock them?

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  39. Unfortunately, the great rabbis in the charedit world are not doing a very good job of pointing out what needs to be fixed in the charedi world. Often, they are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Need I remind you about Rav Chaim Kanievsky attesting that Elior Chen was innocent, on the grounds that he was a Torah scholar and other rabbis signed that he was innocent?

    (for the record, I never mocked the notion of warning about the dangers of the internet.)

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  40. errors like phrenology, Lysenkoism, eugenics, racialism and the rapidly collapsing anthropogenic global warming claim

    I'd just like to voice my protest. I'm sorry that so many good people are on record denying our climate crisis when the warning of science is emphatically clear.

    I doubt Rav Slifkin wants this to become a global warming thread, so I welcome anyone to share their misgivings about climate science with mail@websitesbyrafi.com.

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    1. I, for one, would be glad to pick up the gauntlet on this issue, Rafi, if or when R'Natan decides to have a discussion on it here. For now I'll just declare my own climate projection and say this "crisis" will serve as a text book warning to future historians about the catastrophic damage and costs of government orchestrated pseudoscience. I am amused, BTW, by the still-breathing claim on your link that what turns out to be 27 (sic.) cherry-picked self-declared faithful "climate scientists" represent the majority of the science community. Matches the reversing of graphs to hide that CO2 levels always rise after each period of warming, the number-crunching to "hide the decline," the temperature data adjustments, the hockey stick charts, the tree ring farce, the upside-down ice sample "error," the crony-review journal shenanigans, the failed projections.....but I ramble.

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  41. "Need I remind you about Rav Chaim Kanievsky attesting that Elior Chen was innocent."

    That's not accurate. He signed on was that there is an obligation to hire lawyers to prove his innocence. I think there's a big difference.

    Dear RNS, your scathing criticism of RCK, I think, went overboard. You criticize his relying on other Rabbi's signatures to sign on a document
    על כתב שרבותי חתומים גם אני חותם.

    Logically, if other signatures are indeed forged, then what is the loss in him signing - is his signature harder to fake?

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  42. No, he signed that he was innocent.

    The problem with signing just because others signed has nothing to do with forgeries. Can't you see what the problem is?

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  43. It's all about the failed projections. All of the other issues raised by Temujin probably explain why the projections fail, but the bottom line is that the hysterics (I mean folks like Al Gore, not Rafi, whom I imagine is acting in good faith) have made predictions that have not come true.

    -Moishe Potemkin

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  44. ghl500, no point in trying to defend Rabbi Kanievski. I have known NS long enough to know that you will never win.
    I therefore very rarely comment anymore as he will put an elephant in the eye of a needle to get himself out of a corner.
    Take his response to my original comment on rebuking the charedi community.
    His response was pure spin.

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  45. Here's something that's... remarkably for this commenter.. dead-on topic. A few posts back Rabbi Natan remarked on the alleged universality of the male as a breadwinner and then someone brought up lionesses. That appeared to sink that balloon until the recent observation of male lions as stalking hunters in forest environments came out. This also provided a comforting validation of concord between science and a literal scriptural interpretation. The anomaly of the hunting lionesses and their lazy-loaf male consorts essays forgotten.

    This is sheer unabashed speculation peppered with too many what-ifs, but could forests be the default and optimal environment for the lion? The savanna is a result of deleterious effects of (real) climate changes which degrade vegetation and forest covers. These are relatively drier periods, associated with cooling and lower atmospheric CO2 and water vapour contents. When coupled, in some more populated regions like the Fertile Crescent, with deforestation and pastoralism, large hunting critters, especially herd-threatening carnivores, get the raw end of the deal. This would make the lioness-hunter/lion-loafer arrangement a stress induced emergency adaptation which, with the accelerating losses of forests and the spread of savanna land, became a fixed behavioural feature. Inquiring, stuck in bed with the flu minds ponder upon such things.

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  46. "No, he signed that he was innocent"

    He hasn't see ynet.co.il/PicServer2/24012010/2461018/2-(2).jpg_wa.jpg

    It says מחוייבים אני להוכיח צדקתו
    i.e. to hire lawyers see context.

    "The problem with signing just because others signed has nothing to do with forgeries. Can't you see what the problem is?"

    In כללי הפסק a תלמיד ורבי many times is counted a single opinion, as the student may be repeating his teacher's ruling. RCK has written to many אין אחר פסק מו"ח כלום. His signature could have simply be an affirmation of this opinion.

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  47. Mr. Temujin, with due respect—

    NASA, NOAA, AMS, NRC, AGU, AAAS, ACS, APS, and multiple national science academies have endorsed the evidence of humanity's impact on climate.

    I'm also happy to discuss the evidence itself. Just one example: Earth's energy imbalance during the recent solar minimum was roughly 0.6 W/m², the equivalent of 16,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs going off every hour in our atmosphere and oceans.

    As for predictions – I sincerely wish that you were right, but I think we would be insane to bet the climate of our only planet against every major scientific organization in America.

    Again, my email, please don't be shy: mail@websitesbyrafi.com.

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  48. Talk about squeezing an elephant through the eye of a needle. Do you really think that the letter reads that way? Maybe you do, but nobody else does.

    In כללי הפסק a תלמיד ורבי many times is counted a single opinion, as the student may be repeating his teacher's ruling.

    So RCK shouldn't sign at all. Not sign and give the impression that he actually has a meaningful opinion on the case.

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  49. (My last comment was addressed to gh500, of course, not Rafi Miller.)

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  50. "Talk about squeezing an elephant through the eye of a needle. Do you really think that the letter reads that way? Maybe you do, but nobody else does"

    RNS please do not be dogmatic, nowhere in the letter does it state Chen's innocence. With regards to your argument from consensus, Ynet themselves wrote about the letter:
    שהמכתב נוסח בזהירות כך שהוא אינו קובע כי אליאור חן חף מפשע.

    "So RCK shouldn't sign at all. Not sign and give the impression that he actually has a meaningful opinion on the case"

    You are responding to half an argument ignoring my continuation - "RCK has written to many אין אחר פסק מו"ח כלום, his signature could've simply been an affirmation of this opinion."

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  51. Back on topic — I’ve also felt the hand of providence in the way you describe, especially while learning Daf Yomi. The most extraordinary example was when, by total coincidence, I happened to visit Zedekiah’s Cave on the same day out of 2711 that Daf Yomi mentions that cave. I also know a couple who learn Daf Yomi together, and they gave birth to their first child on one of the days that Daf Yomi discusses mitsvat peru u-rvu.

    You can probably explain this as a cognitive bias. But then, Who was it that created the phenomenon of cognitive bias? ;-)

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  52. Back on topic — I’ve also felt the hand of providence in the way you describe, especially while learning Daf Yomi. The most extraordinary example was when, by total coincidence, I happened to visit Zedekiah’s Cave on the same day out of 2711 that Daf Yomi mentions that cave. I also know a couple who learn Daf Yomi together, and they gave birth to their first child on one of the days that Daf Yomi discusses mitsvat peru u-rvu.

    I believe in taking positive inspiration from wherever you can find it, so it is with mixed feelings that I post this.

    But do they usually close down that cave when daf yomi reaches that daf? I'm sure that they don't shut down the maternity wards on any day where that mitzvah is discussed.

    I suppose that you can guess where I'm going with this :).

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  53. I recently discovered that there remains one small population of lions in Asia, in the Gir National Park and Sanctuary in Gujarat, India. The park is a mix of forest and grasslands. Have you investigated how the behavior of those Asiatic Lions might differ from that of African Lions?

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  54. I've read some material about them, but there was nothing relevant.

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