Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rape - like force feeding honey on Yom Kippur

Abarbanel (Bereishis 33:18-35): The Torah says, “Dina, the daughter of Leah who was born to Yaakov” – went out. It doesn’t tell this to criticize her that she went out – contrary to what Rashi claims. That is because Leah was well known for her modesty and it because of this modesty that Yaakov did not recognize her when he first had sexual relations with her (Bereishis 29:23:25). And this that Leah went to Yaakov and told him that he would be spending the night with her (Bereishis 30:16) – means only that she went to the door of her house and she said it purely for the sake of Heaven [and not because of lust]. In fact this verse comes to praise Dina and it was saying this to declare that she typically didn’t go out of the house since she was the daughter of Leah and she had been taught to stay in the house. In contrast Rachel was a shepherdess while Leah typically did not leave the house. This attribute of remaining in the house also came to her from her father who was known as one “who dwelled in the tents.” So if her father was modest then surely this would be true of the daughter. All this teaches that she did not go out of the house for bad intentions – G‑d forbid! – but merely “to see the daughters of the land.” The Torah doesn’t say it was to see the men of the city or even the children of the city – but the daughters of the city. In other words she wanted to see the girls of the city and their clothes and jewelry. This was because there was no other girl besides her in the family. So she wanted to learn from the local girls as is the manner of young unmarried women. This resolves the fourth question we raised. Furthermore there is no doubt that Dina did not go out alone but was accompanied by a man or woman - even though this is not mentioned in the Torah’s account – since it is self-evident. (This is similar to the Torah’s description of Moshe going to meet his father-in-law where it is known from other sources (Mechilta Shemos 18) that he didn’t go alone.). However it just says, “That Shechem the son of Chamor the ruler of this land saw her.” This verse is to be understood to mean that since he was the son of the ruler he took Dina by force and was not concerned with the one who accompanied her and he wasn’t afraid of Yaakov and his sons. The Torah simple states, “Shechem took Dina and lay with her and tormented her.” [...] Perhaps the reason the Torah says that he “tormented her” is because sexual intercourse is inherently pleasurable even if it starts out as rape it will nevertheless typically result in physical pleasure. For example it is mentioned in the gemora that a woman came to Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi and told him that she had been raped. Since he held that a woman who is raped must resist from beginning to end – he asked her whether she had experienced any physical pleasure during the rape. Because in his view if there was any moment that she didn’t resist then she would be prohibited to her husband. She replied by asking him whether a person fasting on Yom Kippur who has honey forced into his mouth -  would he find the experience pleasurable even though it was done against his will? This is proof that a natural physical pleasure is not eliminated even if it is brought about by force. Thus this verse is alluding to the praise of Dina. Because she was so upset by the rape that she experienced no physical pleasure at all. All of this teaches us that Dina was absolutely free of all sin. Because if she had experienced pleasure there is no question that her brothers would have killed her when they massacred the community of Shechem and they would have viewed it as a case of an adulterous couple. However it was clear to them that it was absolutely a case of rape – from beginning to end -  and thus they did nothing to Dinah.

[The recent critical edition of the Abarbanel notes there is apparently no known source that Dina was engaged or married- in addition the Abarbanel's claim that she might have been killed if she had been forced to have pleasure is a view clearly against the halacha]
There seems to be a major dispute in the commentaries as to the degree of Dinah's complicity as well as whether she rejected Shechem totally - as the Abarbanel states - or wanted him as the Torah Temima notes.
תורה תמימה (בראשית לד:ב הערה ג): פירש"י שלא בא אליה בעונתה בשעה שנתאוית לו או שבא עליה שלא כדרכה, עכ"ל, ומה שלא פרשו חז"ל בפשיטות ויענה שאנסה שלא לרצונה, שעל זה יונח לשון ענוי כמו תחת אשר ענה את אשת רעהו (פ' תצא), י"ל ע"פ המבואר במ"ר בפרשה כאן בפסוק ויקחו את דינה ויצאו (פ' כ"ו) גוררין בה ויוצאין, והיינו שלא יצאה ברצון מבית שכם, א"כ מבואר שלא נאנסה על כרחה:

Bereishis Rabba(80:11):[[ 11. AND TOOK DINAH OUT OF SHECHEM'S HOUSE, AND WENT FORTH. R. Judah said: They dragged her out and departed.6 R. Hunia observed: When a woman is intimate with an uncircumcised person, she finds it hard to tear herself away. R. Huna [also] said7: She pleaded, ’And I, whither shall I carry my shame?’  (II Sam. XIII, 13), until Simeon swore that he would marry her. Hence it is written, And the sons of Simeon... and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman  (Gen. XLVI, 10): (this means, the son of Dinah who was intimate with a Canaanite).l R. Judah said: It means that she acted in the manner of the Canaanites.2 R. Nehemiah said: It means that she was intimate with a Hivite [Shechem] who is included in the Canaanites. The Rabbis said: [She was so called because] Simeon took and buried her in the land of Canaan


36 comments :

  1. those texts really do have a strange view on rapes - do they ask the same questions regarding male-on-male rape? If the male raped had any pleasure, he would be liable to death penalty as well as the raper?

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    1. The Abarbanel did not cite the full text of the gemora where in fact the woman's claim was accepted and that is the halacha. Haven't seen any place where the issues is raised concerning a male being raped - but it would seem that the halacha would be the same.

      Bamidbar Rabbah (9:10): She was not seized – it such a case she is forbidden. But if she was seized she is permitted. There is another case of being seized in which she would be forbidden. What is that? It would be a case where she had sexual relations willingly and yet ended up being forced. Therre is also the case in which she is not seized and yet she is permitted. What is that? It is when the being of sexual relations is done through force but the end is with her consent. There was such a case in which a woman came to Rabbi and said to him that she was raped. He said to her, “But wasn’t the experience pleasant for you?” She replied, “If a person stuck his fingers in honey and then put his fingers in your mouth on Yom Kippur – wouldn’t it be bad for you but in the end it would be sweet?” He accepted her argument.

      Yerushalmi (Sotah 4:5): “She was not seized” – that means that if she were seized she would be permitted. There is another case of seizure in which she would be prohibited. What is that? It is when she had prohibited sexual relations willing at first but then she is forced. Then there is a case in which she is not seized but none the less she is permitted. What is that? It is when she has sexual relations initially by force but in the end willingly. Such a case was the woman that went to R’ Yochanon. She told him that she had been raped. He said to her, “Wasn’t it pleasant at the end?” She said to him, “If a person sticks his fingers into honey and then stick them in his mouth on Yom Kippur – isn’t unpleasant initially but in the end isn’t it pleasant?” He accepted her argument and permitted her to her husband.


      Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 24:19): A women who commited adultery accidentally or was forced – she is permitted to her husband. This is learned from Bamidar (5:13): “She was not seized” – meaning that if she was seized against her will she would be permitted to her husband. This is true whether she was raped by a non Jew or a Jew. Furthermore all that the beginning of sexual intercourse is done under compulsion – even though the end of intercourse is willing and even if she says to leave her rapist alone and that even if he hadn’t raped her she would hire him to have sexual relations – she is permitted to her husband. That is because her uncontrollable lust was aroused from the beginning of the rape.

      Meiri (Kesubos 51b): We explained that a Jewish wife who was raped is still permitted to her husband. Not only that but this is true not only when she was raped she cried out from beginning to end but also when she was raped but at the end she did it willingly. Even if she went so far as to say “leave him to me” because she was even willing to pay him to have intercourse – she would be permitted to her husband. The reason for all these is because the initial stage was the result of rape and this aroused her lust. This aroused lust does not lose the status of rape and it is simple in her nature to be attracted to him. In the Yerushalmi Talmud it describes an incident in which a woman came before Rebbe. She said to him, “Rebbe I have been raped – what is my status with my husband.” He replied to her, “My daughter, perhaps it was that initially it was rape but then at the end you were willing?” She said to him, “If you dipped your fingers into honey and them stuck them in your mouth on Yom Kippur – isn’t it starting with compulsion and the end is willingly?” He said to her, “My daughter, you are blessed to G d”. And he permitted her to her husband.

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  2. This is really nonsense from Abarbanel. He should be ashamed of himself.

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    1. Sorry - don't understand your point. The Abarbanel is relying on statements made by Chazal. You should be a more respectful in making pronouncements

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    2. Daas Torah: Why do you bother even responding to these apikorsim?

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    3. Eddie is not an apikorus and clearly is interested in understanding. i was objecting to the way he expressed his question - not the fact that he found the Abarbanel difficult.

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    4. Let me try to spell it out more carefully.

      It is possible there will be certain physiological responses if a woman is sexually assaulted. perhaps this could also happen to a man, considering the proximity of the prostate gland to the anus.

      Thus, if this biological response occurs, it is not the fault of the woman, and does not mean that women want to , enjoy, or consent to being raped, even bedieved.

      Actually, Abarbanel's argument goes contrary to the Gemara (and Halacha), since a woman is NOT considered culpable if there is a physiological reaction, whereas he suggests she would have been culpable, and killed by Levi + Shimon.

      In any case he is also in error, in that there was no adultery, since Dina was not married.

      A slightly different situation in the sources i have seen, at the end of Nefesh Hachaim, R Chaim discusses certain teshuvos of the Gra. One is concerning unintentional emission of seed by men, when going to the toilet (recall, location of prostate gland, thus pressure can lead to emission). As far as I recall, the Gra does nto consider this to be sinful. Although not an exact parallel, it is another example of a biological response, which is unintentional.
      The problem with the Abarbanel is that it makes rape a fair game. Many rapists actualyl have the mentality that this is what the woman wants anyway, perhaps Abe would agree?




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    5. I agree that you have some very good questions. In particular the assertion that she would have been killed if she felt pleasure when this is clearly against the halacha and in particular the gemora where Rebbe or Rav Yochnon change their understanding. Also as you note she was not married. At present I don't have answers - though I will try and find some.

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    6. I suppose Abarbanel was influenced by surrounding muslim culture and was as easy as them in justifying "honor crimes".

      again, this is a text that should be not left uncommented. It is important to state in the post that the kind of honor killing Abarbanel proposes against Dina in case she felt pleasure is against halacha and that also the question whether a woman felt pleasure during a rape (which is quite obnoxious) is not relevant for halacha.

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    7. Note the Bereishis Rabbah and Torah Temima that I just added which indicate views that Dinah did not want to leave Shechem. The Abarbanel apparently is reacting against those views. He also is against those views which claim that Dinah's behavior contributed to the rape such as Rashi and various medrashim.

      I agree that his view is against the halacha and I just added a disclaimer to the post as you suggested.

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  3. Eddie's response indicates a very poor understanding of the basics of Gedolei Yisroel and he obviously has no concept at all what a Rishon is and therefore does not understand what Torah is.

    He needs to get grounded in the basics of the nature of our great sages.

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  4. "Because she was so upset by the rape that she experienced no physical pleasure at all. All of this teaches us that Dina was absolutely free of all sin. Because if she had experienced pleasure there is no question that her brothers would have killed her when they massacred the community of Shechem and they would have viewed it as a case of an adulterous couple."

    I don't understand the above section of the Abarbanel.

    1. He seems to view it as obvious that the brothers would have killed Dinah if she had experienced any pleasure at all from the rape. In fact, he brings that fact that they didn't kill her as a proof that she experienced no pleasure. I don't find this point obvious at all (in fact, it seems rather demented). What am I missing here?

    2. Abarbanel (and the Gemara and other Rishonim) seems to hold that it's normal that a woman comes to enjoy the rape once the intercourse commenced. However, this goes against just about all reports of rape I have read where the woman finds the whole experience traumatic and painful from beginning to end. OTOH, perhaps they are discussing it a boundary case? That is, even in the rare and unusual case where a woman ended up enjoying the rape subsequent to the initial forcing, the woman is still permitted to her husband.

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  5. "Eddie's response indicates a very poor understanding of the basics of Gedolei Yisroel and he obviously has no concept at all what a Rishon is and therefore does not understand what Torah is."

    So Zoorba is suggesting that we must first be initiated in how great the rishonim were, in order to understand the Torah? Where exactly did he get this article of faith from? And who decides which rishonim were the infallible ones? Ultimately, it is who YOU choose as a Rav, and that is your own choice. And who said the rishonim were infallible? they certainly didnt think so.

    It is interesting that people with Emunah in Gedolim, have no ability to actually discuss a case on its merits. In any case Abarbanel was a great figure, but certainly not as great as Ibn Ezra, Rashi, or Rambam.

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    1. Eddie but in fact one does need to understand the greatness and superiority of Rishonim - not necessarily infalliblity - in order to understand Torah. Discussing the views of Rishonim is not the same as deciding whether you like the views l'havdil of Obama or Romney. BTW would you similarly dismiss the views Rashi or Rambam?

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    2. Shabbos 112b:

      “Im Rishonim b’nei malachim anu b’nei anashim. V’im rishonim b’nei anashim – anu k’chamorim”

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    3. Rav Chaim Voloshner (Ruach Chaim 1:4): … It is prohibited for a student to accept the words of his teacher if he has questions about them. Furthermore sometimes the truth is with the student and not the teacher.” Avos (1:4) says, One should sit in the dust at the feet of one’s teachers and drink with unquenchable thirst what they say. “The word for sitting - avek - can also mean struggle or warfare. That is because this is an obligatory struggle. The holy rabbis who have composed the books we study have in fact given us permission to struggle and to fight over their words and to answer the difficulties they raise. Therefore, we have the right to question what they say and not to blindly accept their words - but one must love the truth…. Since ascertaining the truth is the prime concern - we must be very careful not to be conceited and egotistical in the discussions and to imagine that we are as great as the teacher or author with whom we are disagreeing. We should be aware in our hearts that we might simply be misunderstanding their words. Therefore we must always be very humble. We must have the attitude, ‘I am not worthy to argue but this is Torah and I must know the correct answer’. Furthermore, the Mishna states that the struggle is conditional on being ‘in the dust at their feet’ which means we must be humble and submissive and figuratively sit on the ground before them in these discussions.

      Seridei Aish (1:113): I frequently comment on the apparent contradiction found in Avos (6:5) concerning those factors involved in acquiring Torah i.e. analysis of the students and faith in our Sages. Furthermore, what does faith in our Sages have to do with acquiring Torah? However, the explanation is that if one doesn’t believe in the truth of the words of the sages then one readily dismisses them for the slightest reason. With an attitude of condescension, one proclaims that they didn’t know what they were talking about. Consequently, one makes no effort to investigate and try to validate what they said. However, in the end we find that in fact we are the ones who have erred. … Therefore it is characteristic of the truly wise to presume that the sages have not erred, G d forbid! In fact we, with our limited perspective and limited understanding, have erred. On the other hand to blindly believe and not struggle to comprehend with our intellect the apparent difficulties, saying simply that they knew and we need merely to mindlessly rely on them, that is also not correct. We need to wrestle mightily with the apparent contradictions and doubts as if they are people like us. With this approach, we will come to a much profounder and sharper comprehension. Thus, we see that both factors - emunas chachomim (faith in our sages) and pilpul (intellectual evaluation) - work together to the purpose of the acquisition of Torah.

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    4. Michtav M'Eliyahu (4:269): Why was Miriam punished with leprosy - indicating the sin of lashon harah - when all she did was inquire about her brother’s conduct? G d Himself answered this question by stating (Bamidbar 12:8): Why weren’t you afraid to speak against My servant Moshe? It is permitted to question the teacher’s conduct if he knows in his heart that his teacher is right and he only wants a clarification. In other words, he wants to understand but is not challenging or criticizing his teacher. In such circumstances, it is not only permitted but is required as we see in Berachos (62a). However when the student’s attitude is, “I also know what to do and to judge the validity of my teacher and I am convinced he is wrong” - then there is problem with his faith in scholars and such a challenge is a manifestation of lashon harah…. An example of an appropriate question is when Rabbi Akiva Eiger, one of the greatest scholars in the last several hundred years, raised a difficult question about the words of Tosfos. He concluded his words by stating:” I have not merited to understand the holy words of Tosfos.” [G d forbid to think he was just being polite. In fact, he, despite all his greatness, understood that Tosfos was superior and he was nothing in relation to them. A great person is upset that he doesn’t understand while a little person in his arrogance readily accuses his superiors of error.]

      Maharal (Introduction to Be’er HaGolah): The precondition for achieving perfection, through knowledge and comprehension of reality, is accurate self evaluation. However self knowledge is not easily achieved and in fact it is rare to find someone who has an objective understanding of whom he is. Paradoxically this should be the easiest thing to know - he needs to simply open his eyes. He is not far away and is not in Heaven - in fact, there is nothing closer! However, the majority of people perceive themselves inaccurately. In particular, they mistakenly think that they are the equal of the early sages and say, “I also have a brain and that the early days were not better than now.” They insist the intellect of man is identical in all ages. True sages, however, know their own value. They do not distort justice concerning their money and surely concerning themselves. An example of this accurate self-evaluation is found in Eiruvin (53a): “The hearts of the early generations were as open as the 20 amos wide door of the Ulam of the Temple, while that of recent generations is like that of the 10 amos wide door of the Heichal of the Temple while our heart is like that of the eye of a needle….” We see that they are not embarrassed to admit their inferiority relative to earlier generations and describe how they differ….

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    5. While it is true that the words of Rashi and Rambam have to be taken with incredible seriousness, the other side of the equation is also true - one can't scream "daas torah" as a means to end discussion. that is simple intellectual tyranny.

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    6. Hadn't noticed anyone here screaming "daas Torah" to end the discussion. but I also don't know how to translate "intellectual tyranny" into halachic terms

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    7. @ DT "BTW would you similarly dismiss the views Rashi or Rambam?"

      I don't know what Rashi would say, but Rambam would certainly allow me to argue rationally with him - although I would have to be much more polite in doing so.
      The question is also important on what topic we are discussing. I can't really argue with a Rishon on their view of halacha, or how they learn Gemara. If they are discussing something about human behaviour , I believe it is a different status of discussion. For example, in his day, Rambam was one of the greatest astronomers in the world, not just amongst Jews. Yet, his astronomy in Sefer Mada is outdated and based on ancient scientific models.
      Very few Orthodox figures claim that this is the correct view, and that today's science is wrong. As far as i know, only the Lubavitcher Rebbe tried such a claim.

      Howver, I accept that i only followed half of R Chaim Volozhiner's advice, and that I should have made my case in a much more respectful manner.

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    8. A lot of emphasis is placed on the claim of fall in generations. If so, why is this actually a curve, whereby there is a rise in generations from the Neviim, all the way to Chazal, and then a fall again? An honest and consistent view would be that Chazal were relative to the Neviim, much smaller, and cloud not argue with them.

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    9. Important point

      Shut HaRid (# 62): Whatever does not make sense to me – then even if Yehoshua ben Nun said I would not agree [Chullin 124a]. And I don’t stop myself from expressing what appears correct to me according to my limited intellect. Thus I do what it says in Tehilim (119:46), I speak regarding Your words even against kings and I am not ashamed…. Because even when it appears to me that I have successfully refuted the words of the early authorities – G d forbid for me to be so arrogant to say that it is because of my superior wisdom (Koheles 2:9). Rather the reason that I can argue with the early authorities is because of the rationale provided by philosophers. I heard that a group of philosophers asked the greatest amongst them, “We acknowledge that the early scholars were wiser and more intelligent than us. But at the same time we acknowledge that we argue with their ideas and refute them in many issues and in fact our criticisms of them are correct. How could that be?” He replied to them, “Who can see farther – a midget or a giant? It is obviously a giant because his eyes are much higher than a midget. However if a midget stands on the shoulder of a giant – who can see farther? Obviously it is the midget because his eyes are now higher than the eyes of the giant. So it is with us. We are midgets riding on the shoulders of giants because we know that it is their wisdom that elevates us. Therefore our wisdom is based on their wisdom.” Thus what we say is not because we are greater than them. We can comment regarding the early scholars in a situation where we see that they disagree with each other – one permitting and the other prohibiting. So which authority should we rely on? … We cannot simply say that one is greater and therefore the words of the others are refuted. Rather we must analyze all their words because they are the words of the living G d. We need to debate and investigate their words to see which way the law seems to be going. That in fact is what the sages of the Mishna and Talmud did. We see the later Talmudic scholars did not refrain from disagreeing with the early scholars and to decide amongst what the early sages disagreed with each other as well as to contradict their words. We find that the Amoraim would refute a Mishna and say that it was not the halacha. The fact is the wisdom transcends the individual sage and there is no sage who is free from error. Only G d is free of error.

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    10. The statement: " Why do you bother even responding to these apikorsim?" is an attempt to kill the discussion.

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    11. 1) An apikorsidik discussion SHOULD be killed.

      2) There are often apikorisdik points made in discussions.

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  6. I do not understand a death punishment for dinah. She was not an eishes ish?

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    1. apparently there is no source that says she was an eishes ish - according to the recent critical edition of the Abarbanel

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  7. From the research I have read reactions are variable. While there are many women for whom rape is traumatic from beginning to end, there is some research I recall that some women even if they have traumatic emotional reactions can have involuntary stimulated responses at moments.

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  8. "She replied by asking him whether a person fasting on Yom Kippur who has honey forced into his mouth - would he find the experience pleasurable even though it was done against his will?"

    There is a Rashi where he asks how is it that we use lettuce as marror on Pesach, given that lettuce is sweet. Rashi answers that when we remember the experience of slavery, the lettuce tastes bitter.

    So according to this Rashi, honey on YK is not necessarily pleasurable.

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  9. I don't understand the holy Abarbanel. The woman can simply not admit to having had any pleasure. And no one would be the wiser. And she couldn't be punished for having pleasure -- as she admitted to none.

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  10. My complaint to Eddie was not that he could not disagree but rather to his characterization of the Abarbanel's comments as nonsense and ignorantly saying that he should be ashamed of himself.

    You can disagree with his approach but saying his words are nonsense are like saying that Einstein's statement about physics is nonsense. He has far more knowledge about physics than you'll ever have and you can disagree but he certainly has a point that can be made. He certainly has nothing to be ashamed of.

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    1. I accept that I should be more respectful. it is very upsetting that the great Abarbabnel's words seem to imply the victim is really a guilty party, despite this not being accepted in halacha.

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  11. BTW would you similarly dismiss the views Rashi or Rambam?

    Depends, some of what the Rambam and other Rishonim wrote are completely nonsense, like that Earth is 40 times bigger than the moon or that the sun is 170 times bigger than the Earth.

    Any 9 years old child with a cheap telescope and basic algebra can see it's wrong.


    י [ח] כל הכוכבים הנראים--יש מהן כוכבים קטנים שהארץ גדולה מאחד מהן, ויש מהן כוכבים שכל אחד מהן גדול מן הארץ כמה פעמים. והארץ גדולה מן הירח כמו ארבעים פעמים, והשמש גדולה מן הארץ כמו מאה ושבעים פעמים; נמצא הירח אחד מששת אלפים ושמונה מאות מן השמש בקירוב. ואין בכל הכוכבים, כוכב גדול מן השמש ולא קטן מכוכב שבגלגל שני

    הלכות יסודי התורה פרק ג

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  12. The ratio of the Sun's radius to the Earth's radius is

    1,392,000/12756 = 109.1
    This means the ratio of their volumes is 109.1 x 109.1 x 109.1, which is about 1,300,000,and that means that 1,300,000 Earths should fit inside the Sun.

    http://www.suntrek.org/sun-as-a-star/sun-and-earth/comparing-size-sun-and-earth.shtml

    So in terms of radius or diameter he was not far off. (Volume, well that's a different story altogether).

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    1. Volume of a sphere is 4/3*pi*(r*r*r)., not r*r*r as you quote from the site. The site got that wrong. Check this out and the other details carefully before criticizing rishonim...

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    2. @ db

      a) your maths is very weak. 4/3 Pi is constant for both, hence the ratio is r3. duh.

      b) Rambam claimed these to be discs rather than spheres, hence , as I said, his estimate was not to far off, considering the state of astronomy 1000 years back.

      c) If i had good reason to critique Rambam, I would. On this case I didn't.

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