The Challenge of Creation: Judaism's Encounter with Science, Cosmology, and Evolution

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9789652295941: The Challenge of Creation: Judaism's Encounter with Science, Cosmology, and Evolution

Every animal that has hooves that are fully split and brings up the cud, you shall eat. However, this you shall not eat... the camel, the hare, and the hyrax, for they bring up the cud, but they do not have split hooves; therefore they are unclean to you. (Deuteronomy 14:6-7) For more than a century, the Torah's list of animals with only one kosher sign has been a source of controversy. This obscure topic is used both by those striving to demonstrate the Torah s scientific wisdom and also by those seeking to challenge it. Do we know the correct identities of these animals? Do they indeed chew the cud and lack split hooves? Does the Torah claim them to be the only such animals? And are there any others? This groundbreaking work draws upon a wealth of Torah literature and the latest zoological research to present a detailed and comprehensive study of this difficult topic. In doing so, many aspects of the laws of kosher animals, birds and fish are thereby clarified, and several general principles for addressing conflicts between Torah and science are illustrated. Rambam wrote that difficult and deep passages of the Talmud cannot be addressed by enthusiasm alone. We do a great injustice to the Torah and the Sages by providing explanations that don t really hold water. Sensitive areas of the Torah must be approached with hard work, thorough research, rigorous analysis, and intellectual honesty. In this authoritative book, Rabbi Slifkin once again applies these qualities, and this is why it succeeds. - Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein Author, Maharal: Be er HaGolah

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About the Author:

Born in Manchester, England, Rabbi Natan Slifkin studied there at Yeshivas Shaarei Torah. He then moved to Israel, where he spent many years in study, at Yeshivas Midrash Shmuel and the Mir Yeshivah. He then taught Talmud and Jewish philosophy at Ohr Somayach Institutions, where he received ordination, and now teaches an extensive Zoo Torah course at Yeshivat Lev HaTorah and Midreshet Moriah Seminary for Women. Rabbi Slifkin has written extensively for the Daf Yomi Advancement Forum and many newspapers, websites and journals. He has been invited as guest lecturer to Bar Ilan University and to numerous synagogues worldwide. Several years ago, Rabbi Slifkin began teaching about the relationship between Judaism and the animal kingdom at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. He then developed the Zoo Torah program, which he has since successfully operated in New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore, St. Louis, Atlanta, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Diego. This program has led Rabbi Slifkin to be featured in television and radio shows as well as in countless newspapers and journals. Rabbi Slifkin has a lifelong fascination with wildlife and has kept a wide variety of exotic pets, including iguanas and tarantulas! His studies of wildlife have led him hiking extensively in Israel, scuba diving to coral reefs in Eilat, on safari in Kenya, whale-watching in California, and behind the scenes at numerous zoological facilities worldwide.

Review:

This work demonstrates that grappling with issues such as evolution, the age of the universe, the literalism of our sacred texts, miracles, divine providence, and the scientific worldview in general can result in a new appreciation of the breadth and depth of our Torah... Seekers, whether new to the Jewish observance or born into the Orthodox fold, will find in this work a model of honest confrontation with serious challenges. ''The Challenge of Creation'' spells out these challenges articulately, analyzes them keenly, and refers to impeccable and authoritative traditional sources to address them... Rabbi Slifkin is to be commended for his contribution to our abiding faith as well as for his courageous intellectual honesty.' --Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President Emeritus, The Orthodox Union Rabbi Slifkin shows us that modern science is in the end a wonderful hymn to what God has wrought, and its appreciation enriches our lives and makes possible an even greater respect for, and love of, the Author of all things. --Professor Michael Ruse, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Author of ''The Darwinian Revolution'' and ''Darwin and Design''

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