What is a Jew?

A Jew is a member of G-d’s Covenant from Mount Sinai.

We don’t have a single culture. Jews around the world often live more like their neighbors than like Jews elsewhere.

We have a religion, but that’s not the entirety of being Jewish. Some Jews are not religious — or say that they’re not.

Some of our rituals are not from the Covenant. We’ve developed some customs and adapted some.

We are a traditional peoplehood but of several tribes and clans. However, this peoplehood is formed by the Covenant.

No Covenant, no Jews. No Jews no Covenant.


Reading Books about Physics

It’s not unusual for me to go through a phase of reading about the particles and forces that make up our universe.

I have one measure to prejudge the author’s content, though. Is there an entry in the index for ‘plasma’?

Plasma is a state of matter just as solid, liquid, and gas are. At high energies, atoms lose some coherence and separate into positive and negative ions. Freed electrons and negatively charged particles can flow like electricity.

In our experience, electricity flows through wires. The flows in the plasma state resemble descriptions of liquid flows. For us, the most common flow of a liquid is flowing water.

Apparently, there is an affinity between studying fluid dynamics and studying plasma physics.

I’ve written the previous three paragraphs as a layperson who has some understanding but plenty of misunderstanding about the subject. Be that as it may –

About 98% of the universe exists in the plasma state.

Nevertheless, authors of popular works about physics often fail to mention the subject of plasma altogether. I take a look at the index of such books and regularly find an entry for ‘Planck’ followed by an entry for ‘Plato’ or ‘Pluto’. What this tells me is that the author is married to an orthodoxy.

“The primary force in the universe is gravity.” Really? Perhaps electromagnetism is as important if not more important.

Granted that us Earth-bound creatures a very aware of gravity. Granted that the human race had little knowledge about electricity until fairly recently. Certainly, using electricity was not part of the human toolkit until recently.

I expect more from physicists. Their orthodoxy is earth-bound where gravity prevails – unless a lightning storm is passing through.

I look forward to a time when earth-bound physics is as outmoded and quaint as saying scientifically that the Earth is the center of our solar system or not.

Geocentricism is a tenet of the Torah, of religious revelation. According to the theory of relativity, though, no scientific verification exists to determine if one body is stationary and another is moving, or vice versa, or that both are moving.

Noah’s Ark landed where?

Why do so many people believe that Noah’s ark landed on a mountain in or near today’s Armenia.

Typically, the answer is, “The name of the mountain is Ararat, and the Bible teaches us that the ark landed on Mount Ararat.

A fallacy here is that no location on the face of the Earth has an essential name. People give names to geographical locations, and people change names as it suits them.

Who knows who named this mountain “Ararat”? It’s not unlikely that people who heard about the Bible wanted their famous mountain to bear the name of Noah’s mountain. So, who knows that this mountain was named Ararat in Noah’s time?

This is a topic for investigation, to find evidence. I’m fond of suggesting topics for post-graduate dissertations, and this is a topic.

Currently, scientists believe that the earliest community of our ancestors lived near the horn of Africa, around the location of today’s Ethiopia. It’s as likely that Noah’s ark landed in Ethiopia as it is that it landed in Armenia.

Noah and Na’amah had three sons and three daughters-in-law, who themselves had children and grandchildren. There is no saying which family or clan succeeded in heading north leaving Africa and entering southwest Asia. Who knows whether another family followed the pioneers. We don’t even know whether some of these early people backtracked to where Noah and Na’amah had settled.

We don’t know how fast some people moved across Asia. General experience is that people follow water-level routes. Sea coasts tend to be level, generally unblocked by mountains that jut into the ocean.

Sea coasts abound with sea food. Berries, nuts, and fruits are as abundant near coasts as they are inland. It’s not especially difficult to find fresh water nearby. “All waters flow to the sea.”

What about shelter? It seems to me that erosion from wave action creates caves and projecting overhangs. Early humans were as intelligent as we are. Will someone tell me that a family or clan didn’t send a scout ahead to find, among other things, the next location of shelter? Perhaps these people were reluctant to backtrack to the previous shelter, but can you tell me that they didn’t when they urgently needed protection?

Experts believe that evidence of human life along sea shores readily wash into the ocean or are buried by rising sea levels. What I’ve written is speculation — one of my history professors would likely call these musings “idle speculation.”

No matter. Archaeologists are actively exploring sea coasts along the Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia.

If you’ve heard of people experimenting to find out how practical sea level journeys are using primitive strategies, or even safe compromises with contemporary equipment, please tell me. Thanks.