Halachah For the 22nd Century

The Fringes of Technology meet the Fringes of Halachah


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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Focus Time Travel

In my intro I mentioned time travel and how it would effect the Sefirah count. So I decided I would try and tackle this monumental problem facing the visitors from the future. Time Travel comes in two varieties. One is the science fiction version which involves only time translation based on some machine. The other (slightly more scientific) way is that it involves some space and time translation. This could be by wormholes, parallel universes, or simply FTL whilch also involves wormholes, parallel universes etc. Based on my understanding of Sefirah this would make a huge difference because a simple space translation resulting in time travel would not change the Sefirah count. However if there was a time translation it gets interesting. It seems to me however that you would use the time based on your current time location. This is because the Pasuk says and you shall count 7 weeks. A week is not a pure time term and is only a week because it is considered a week by the people measuring time. A day is a much more scientific measure of time which is determined by one turn of Earth's axis. If it said 49 days it would imply that you would count based on your experienced time but it says 7 weeks. (Now you kn0w what it means that each verse has 70 interpertations.) I am not certain if this ruling would also apply to relativistic speeds or not so please ask a competent Orthodox Rabbi for that type of ruling.

4 Comments:

Blogger anonym00kie said...

wow, way over my head, but still interesting to read :) good for you for thinking this stuff through!

1:59 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I don't think a week is purely arbitrary. You couldn't declare a week 8 days, and get Shavouos on a more convenient time.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Novartza said...

I beg to differ.

The pasuk -- or, rather, one of the pesukim -- says "Tisperu chamishim yom," which means "You shall count fifty days. Our Rabbis said the ,itzvah is to count both days and weeks.

I see no essential difference between travel in time and travel in space. If you travel from Israel or Europe eastwards and cross the halakhic Date Line, which according to Chazon Ish (who follows almost all of the Rishonim on the subject) is located 90 degrees east of Jerusalem, and reach Japan for instance, you should celebrate the Sabbath and Holidays on the local Sunday or day after the holiday. However you continue counting the Sefira, according to the ruling I heard, according to your personal count.

By the way, I heard an interesting ruling regarding flight in Space. Ilan Ramon o.b.m., who later died in the famous shuttle crash (forgot its name), consulted Rabbis about the time system he should follow. My Rabbi said that he continues to belong to the location "beneath" him, i.e. the spot on earth closest to his current location in space in any given second. Thus he would cross the halakhic Date Line and change days every few hours. He'd have serious problems if he tried to recite the Shema or daven the 3 daily prayers on their allotted time.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

It also says that you count 7 complete weeks which is what I am basing my theory on.

1:03 PM  

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