by Larry Kaufman
The age-old quandary, which came first, the chicken or the egg, is perhaps both paralleled and answered by a primary principle of Torah study, there is no earlier or later in the Torah. The parallel issue is the concern about sequence; the answer to the question, though, is actually provided: we read of the creation of winged creatures on the fifth day with no coverage at all of the creation of eggs.
This comes to mind because I have recently learned about a new blog, www.judaismandscience.com, whose author, Beth Emet’s Roger Price, credits it to be an outgrowth of the mini-course he offered here at the synagogue on Friday mornings during the spring, but which almost certainly emanates from an earlier interest on Roger’s part in the general subject matter of the compatibility of religion and science.
As a “satisfied customer” who participated in Roger’s class, I went eagerly to the blog when I learned about it. What I found is not an expansion on the specific essays by scientists and religionists that we had talked about, but further forays into the broad issue -- exemplified in unpredictable insights whose connectedness is clear once Roger points it out, but which I would never have thought of on my own.
For example, how does Sportin’ Life’s aria, “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess connect to Judaism or to science? Figure out your own answer, and then read the mind-blowing blog post to see if you got the whole thing. (I sure didn’t.)
I personally have posted several articles both on the Reform Judaism blog (www.rj.org) and here at Torat Chayeinu that emerged from discussions in Beth Emet classrooms, Rabbi London’s Torah study class being a particular stimulus. Kol hakavod, kudos to Helene Rosenberg and the Adult Education committee for providing the Beth Emet community with these opportunities for intellectual and Judaic growth, and to Ellen Blum Barish and Susan Fisher as the spark plugs in providing us with this forum for continuing the discussion and expanding our horizons further.