Nira’s rant on the flood, now also in English!
Enjoy and share with others!
I found the agony of solitude described in the book "Robinson Crusoe" where the tale is told of a man who survived a shipwreck by landing upon a small, desolate island without another soul. It described his great difficulties until he was able to find something to eat and drink, and to shelter himself with the skins of animals. After dwelling for a long time on this island, he began to forget how to speak and almost lost his mind. The writer portrayed with vivid colors the man's longing for another person to speak with.Because a godol will, of course, never read any chol books!
I ran into a nice article this week on The Skeptical Review Online, just in time for parshas Noach, called The Numbers of the Book, by Fred Titanich (now how ironic is that name?!).
He introduces his article as follows:
Every now and then, I run into someone who believes that every word in the Bible is true. If the Bible says that men lived for 900 years and that 5 linear miles of water fell on the earth, then it must have happened. There is really no way to prove that these events did not happen, since by definition, a "miracle" is something extraordinary.
However, sometimes the Bible writers slipped up. When they told a story, nothing but superlatives would do. More than anything else, the numbers that are tossed around in the bible show this to be true. Apparently, mathematics was not their strong point, because on numerous occasions, the Bible writers made statements that simply could not have happened. The following are some of the Bible’s numerical claims that are physically impossible.
He goes on to speak about Solomon’s offerings, the Temple’s gold and silver, the quail (‘slav’), the size of the city of Nineveh and the wall of the city of Aphek. Read more here.
His conclusion fits well to this week’s parshah as well:
So when the Bible says that Methuselah lived to be 969 years old, can we really take it at face value? In fact, if it can be conclusively proven that the Bible is filled with exaggerations, we have to wonder what else it lied about.
PS Subsequently, I found an article called Those Amazing Biblical Numbers, on the same website. Read it.
Update: Nira sent me the following required watching in preparation for your Shnayim Mikra ve’Echad Targum for the week: