Science in the Torah

Torah and Science Aren’t Contradictions

The atheist with his superior logic claims that the Torah is contradicted by science. Torah scholars don’t study science and that’s why when they learn Torah in a yeshiva they will learn things that are contradicted by science. Such a claim from someone supposedly blessed with superior logic is almost painful to listen to! Anyone with even average intelligence will find this statement full of holes.

The Torah is meant to educate us to become better people to learn the rules and laws in order to fulfill them; to overcome our inclinations, to leave peacefully and do good things in the world. We want to fulfill G-d’s will in the world becoming more spiritual and to fulfill our mission in this world (all these are far more important than studying science). The Torah never obligated someone to learn or investigate the properties of the material world around us.

Does this mean that the Torah contradicts science? Would we say that the study of humanities, literature or history also contradict science as they don’t deal with it? Would an atheist think for one moment that studying democracy or learning the laws of the land also contradicts science? Would an atheist even argue against the fact that learning law is far more beneficial to society and the citizens of any country than any scientific studies?

You can actually check in the universities or ask legal experts and you will find they spend little or no time studying science. Does this mean that studying law or ethics contradicts science? In summary such a far-fetched claim has no basis and is divorced from reality.

Talmud study is the most intellectual, creative and logical endeavor possible. You can discover this to be true by observing those who learn it on a steady basis. There is no topic that develops the mind and thought processes more than the Talmud. And since it deals with laws, ethics and proper behavior its value is far greater than the study of science and those studying Torah needn’t spend their time studying the sciences. Our sages said: “If you are told there is wisdom by the nations, you should believe it but you are told there is Torah by the nations, you should not believe it.”

Judaism has no problem with science and Jewish law quite often avails itself and requires understanding scientific knowledge in order to render halachic decisions just as a legal expert would use a scientist when necessary to explain something or provide evidence. Learning what makes a life meaningful and our path on life is far more valuable than any scientific knowledge could be for it establishes our future and how happy we will be in our lives. The Nazis were proud of their scientific achievements but it did not make them into better people.

Yeshiva students don’t try to study science for the Torah doesn’t require it to live a meaningful life. Even so there were many sages that knew science too and this demonstrates that science is but another tool which can be used to enable us to fulfill our mission in this world and also prove that Judaism marches hand in hand with science and doesn’t consider it an enemy.


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