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Michael Allen
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68 followers
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Thought for the Day: You are Always Allowed to Daven for Yourself... Even for a Fly
I have, Baruch Hashem, bli ayin hara, puh-puh-puh, several very bright and adorable grandsons. I have one in particular who has an incredible eye for details. He recently told me that he had a question on Chumash, parshas Lech L'cha; the battle of the four ...
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Thought for the Day: The Power of the Community, Even in Hypotheticals
When I was younger and would make "but if" questions, my father would usually answer, "If a frog had six shooters and a ten gallon hat, then he would be a Texas ranger." As I got older, my "but if" questions got more sophisticated, and my father's response ...
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Thought for the Day: Rabbinic Injunctions -- A Labor of Love
Nearly 30 years ago, when I first encountered Orthodox Judaism as a serious life style choice that threatened to seriously undermine my complacency with my Jewish identity, I approached the anticipated debacle with the many extremely cogent arguments for my...
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Thought for the Day: The Torah Demands and Commands That Do Not Unnecessarily Inflict Suffering on Any Living Creature
There is what people think of when the hear the word "work" and there is what the word "work" means in the context of physics. For example, suppose you picked up a bowling ball in the morning, carried it with you all day, then put it down that evening preci...
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Thought for the Day: Any Financial Obligation is a Loan in Halacha
Mathematics is the language that we use to express physical law. As a graduate student in the physics department, therefore, it was important to know a fair amount of mathematics. We (the physics department) and they (the math department) each had a series ...
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Thought for the Day: More vs Deeper/Sharper/Beautifuler
First, a lesson in modern physics. There are many measurables that we use to characterize a physical object and its motion through space-time. Among these are mass, position, velocity, energy, charge, etc... etc... etc. Among these are groupings known as ca...
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Thought for the Day: Consensus By Greater Majority Beats Consensus By Sharper Majority
I closed my Facebook account yesterday. I had very little reason for it in the first place, mostly as a venue to distribute TftD sort of passively-aggressively. However, two things tilted the scales in favor of breaking off relations; both regarding the rea...
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Thought for the Day: Magnifying vs Beautifying a Mitzvah
Shabbos candles and Chanuka candles are both נר מצוה/mitzvah candles. Being a נר מצוה, one is not allowed to use it to light an ordinary candle; nor even a match with the intent to light another נר מצוה. What about lighting one נר מצוה directly from another...
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Thought for the Day: Torah and Rabbinic Law/Nature and Nurture
In 1889, a natural philosopher by the name of August Weismann performed the paradigm stupid and wasteful experiment in an era and stupid and wasteful experiments. I say an "era and stupid and wasteful experiments" because the scientific method was only begi...
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Thought for the Day: Halacha and Medrash/Using Metal Knives for Circumcision
I was talking to a cardiac/thoracic surgeon recently. I mentioned that I had worked in a radiation oncology department as a physicist doing treatment planning. I wanted to be empathetic to the stress he must feel and said I had woken up a few times at night...
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