Torah and Science Class 6

Air has Weight

In this section we are going to take a look at some every day natural effects that would have been perceived differently between Torah students and Science during different centuries.

Up until the 17th century the common man was sure that Air was empty. He could not sense it. He could put his hand through it and did not feel any pressure as he moved the air out of the way. The Torah student would answer the question by quoting the verse from Job 28:25. Here it is:


לעשות לרוח משקל ומים תכן במדה


When He maketh a weight for the wind, and meteth out the waters by measure.

The Talmid Chacham would answer the above question by saying of course the air was not empty; the Torah tells us it has weight. Now the question that we need to turn to is why does the air have weight?

The answer to the purpose of air having weight comes from modern science that teaches that the change in weight of the air due to changes in the changes in temperature is what keeps the rain falling in a steady stream rather than all at once which would cause floods and damage.

Look at the English translation of the verse from Job. The latter half is metes out the water by measure. In essence the purpose of air having weight causes rain to fall properly so as not to create destruction in the world.

Why are we told this information? I suggest you contemplate the answer. Remember we are only going to be shown natural law if there is a reason that we need to know that law. Otherwise it will still exist but man does not need to learn it just for his curiosity.

What About Lightning Rods?

The secular world believes that Benjamin Franklin revealed electricity and more clearly lightning is made up of electricity through a kite flying experiment performed in the 1700's. The Torah through the writings of the Sages describe a specific authorization to put a metal rod in a barnyard of chickens to protect the birds from lightning. The reason given in the writings of the Sages for this authorization is that the metal rod protects the birds due to a reasonable natural explanation. At the same time this writing explains that one can not put a metal rod in the barnyard to assist in the more rapid growth of the birds since this has no natural explanation. This writing clearly indicates that the knowledge of lightning being electricity and a metal lightning rod would be beneficial was known at least 2500 years ago.

Plants Feelings Consciousness and Growth

For the last approximately 25 years there have been numerous experiments that are using sophisticated measuring devices to determine changes in plants when there are changes to the plants' environments. Some of these changes are taking a vegetable and boiling it. Another is having a man enter close to the plant thinking different thoughts or saying different words or sounds like music to the plants. While these changes take place the sophisticated equipment measures the changes in the plant.

Some of these experiments will be described here. In a room there is an unfortunate carrot strapped to the table of an unlicensed vivisector. Wires pass through two glass tubes full of a white substance; they are like two legs, whose feet are buried in the flesh of the carrot. When the vegetable is pinched with a pair of forceps, it winces. It is so strapped that its electric shudder of pain pulls the long arm of a very delicate lever which actuates a tiny mirror. This "mechanism" casts a beam of light on the frieze at the other end of the room, and thus enormously exaggerates the tremor of the carrot. A pinch near the right- hand tube sends the beam seven or eight feet to the right and a stab near the other wire sends is far to the left. Thus, can science reveal the feelings of even so solid a vegetable as the carrot?

In England the Botany Professional Organization called the Linnean Organization performed a series of experiments in which they could not believe what they saw - a special magnifying system showed a leaf of a babbate cringe in agony as it was being boiled to death. They saw a radish grow "exhausted" just like a muscle and then become "angry" as it if had a nervous system. They witnessed how a tremble passed through a vegetable at the moment of "death," in the same way that a dying creature shudders in the seconds before it meets its end.

The conclusion scientists have arrived at based on these and other experiments is that plants perceive just like animals and people although not as strongly. In order to perceive there must be consciousness. Since plants perceive pain and anticipation of death the question arises to they also enjoy love and affection?

Do Plants feel Love and Affection?

After extensive experimentation scientists have concluded that love and attention bestowed upon plants can cause them to grow. According to various studies, plants have an inexplicable ability -- more complex than human beings -- to sense what is happening around them and respond in a sophisticated manner.

What does the Torah say on this subject?

The Zohar says that a blade of grass does not grow without an Angel telling it to grow. While this clearly applies to the spiritual level, there is a sense in these words that the plants do respond to a positive loving essence.

In the Jerusalem Talmud there is a discussion of an agricultural technique called "havracha". Havracha entails bending and planting of a branch into the ground until it takes root. Once it takes root it is severed from the mother tree and allowed to grow on its own. In the discussion the Rabbi's call the original tree the "Old Lady" and the new tree a "child." The significant issue is how to tell that the branch has taken root.

The answer in the Jerusalem Talmud, If the leaves of the child point to itself than it is not yet taken root. When the leaves begin to point toward the "old lady" then it is time to sever the branch from the old lady since the child is now supporting itself. The Talmud goes further to explain that a person who lives off of his friend is too embarrassed to look him in the eye.

As part of the scientific effort to determine how plants respond to sound it was determined that when the proper music for a particular strain of plant is played to that plant while it is growing it improves its growth rate and yield from 25 to 60%. Science also concludes that when the music is not the proper music it impedes the growth rate and yield for that crop. Science also concludes that "we" do not yet know what is the correct music for each species of crop.

The Talmud weighs in on the subject by saying "Rabbi Yochanan said that while the voice is good for plants, it can actually damage wine, which improves far better when it sits in a quiet place".

Since 1996 science has concluded that plants can communicate with their own species as well as with other plant species. This communication is through chemicals being released as a response to the environment. An example of this is an experiment conducted in Japan on lima bean plants. When attached by spider mites. the plants developed 5 defensive responses including releasing a chemical that invited another insect that eats spider mites to come closer to the plant.

One of the Kabbalistic Sages Nachmanides wrote in the 1300's "King Solomon, of blessed memory - to whom God gave both wisdom and knowledge - knew everything in the Torah. In fact, his grasp of the Torah was so deep that he understood the secrets of all things, including the language of plants, the language of trees and roots, and all things both hidden and revealed. He discovered all of this through Torah study and its commentaries and teachings."

The Babylonian Talmud states that a leading Sage Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zachai knew every part of Torah and knew astronomy, numerical calculations, the language of the angels, the language of the spiritual world and the language of the trees....".

Indeed plants do have a language and can communicate - a fact revealed by God through this Torah millennia ago.

The Conception of Twins

Prior to the revealing of the microscope general society and science "knew" that conception of twins took place by one impregnation to one child. After the microscope was revealed it was determine that identical twins come from one impregnation and a splitting of the zygote (the fertilized egg). Fraternal twins were determined to come from multiple impregnations into multiple eggs. The question is did this new revelation from "science" truly demonstrate new knowledge?

The Babylonian Talmud brings an example of multiple impregnations when it describes a baby born three months after his brother. The father of these children had been on a long extended business trip and attested that he was only intimate before he left. He was suspecting his wife of adultery due to his belief that a baby only comes from one impregnation. Rabbi Abaye explained to him that the impregnation that occurred prior to his trip created two children. One of these children became full and complete at the end of 7 months and the other child became full and complete at the normal full term of 9 months.

There are other discussions in the Torah and its commentaries along these same lines. Ultimately it is telling us that what we need to know is always revealed to us in time. The issue of twins has legal impacts. That is why the Torah explains the way children are impregnated and how to divide estates among these children.

Spiritual Purity and Floods

There is another subject that is usually not discussed in public but relates to the idea of multiple impregnations. The Kabbalah has taught since the time of Jacob that a man is strongly recommended to not masturbate. This is prevalent in the story of the children of Yehuda and Tamar. It is also discussed in the Talmud when it relates that "any man who holds his member while urinating is considered as if he brought the flood since both actions are considered mass murder".

How can it be that masturbating is considered mass murder? It is only in modern times that the measure of sperm in an ejaculation was measured. There are approximately 120 million sperm in every centimeter of ejaculate. (Please notice the number 120 that relates to the Children of Israel.) Prior to this measurement it was thought that each ejaculation had 1 sperm which created potentially one child. Once this measurement was available we can see that each sperm is capable of bringing a child. Now we understand why the Torah equates masturbation to mass murder.

It is interesting to note that married men are allowed to hold their member during urination since the possibility of spilling seed from this stimulation is much less. In my opinion this difference between married men and single men actually relates to the sensitivity about cleaning up the toilet seat since holding the member does allow for a straighter elimination of urine into the toilet bowl. Mothers will teach their sons to clean the bowl. Wives would be creating potential lack of Shalom Bayit requesting their husband to clean after themselves. You all know about the conflict over closing the top to the bowl. By the way, women are correct. The bowl should be closed since "sin crouches at the door" - any opening. Remember our teaching about the Mezuzah.

It is also interesting to note that the Kabbalah teaches that a person committing the act of wasting seed causes all of his supernal beneficence that was destined for him to waste. This is suggested by the word Mazel when viewed as an Acronym for the Hebrew phrase Motzei Zera L'vatalah which translates as "spilling ones seed in vain."

Maimonides, a Jewish Sage, teaches Sperm is the power of the body and the Light of the eye. The more seed is lost the more life is lost. (Chanoch teaches that this applies to sperm being wasted and years of life being shortened). Old age comes quickly upon a person who spills seed... as well as much pain.

It is also interesting to note that in Chinese medicine, spilling seed leads to a variety of problems, including poor eyesight, dizziness, lower back pain, pain in the knees, and more. All of this is due to a lack of energy in the kidneys.

Family Purity

Before we discuss this subject we need to stress the reason for doing a Mitzvah never is for the physical health benefit. Many times the Mitzvah will have a physical health benefit yet that is not the reason for doing the Mitzvah.

A woman's monthly cycle has three stages. Stage 1 is the destruction of the outer wall of the uterus which is what causes the 4 to 5 days of bleeding. Stage 2 is the rebuilding of this outer wall which takes a full 7 days. Stage 3 is the ovulation process. A woman has natural protection from disease and infection except in the days of stage 2. This was discovered by modern science only recently. It was also discovered that the most opportune time for marital relations leading to impregnation is on the 8th day.

Torah Halacha follows these beneficial actions. 7 clean days following 4 to 5 days of bleeding. Followed by a Mikva - a ritual bath.

  • Here is a link to our class on the Mikvah.
  • During these 11 to 12 days the women is called Niddah and is not touchable by her husband. Kabbalah teaches that this is due to her being in a period of judgment representing by her bleeding. The 7 clean days after the bleeding stops is looking for the energy of a Shabbat in order to elevate back to an energy of Loving Kindness and marital intimacy. It is amazing what science has learned that catches up with the truth of the Torah.