(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 02:24:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: The Universe: Why Did G-d Create It?

Rabbi Linas in BM Volume 2 Number 24 continues the thread on life on other
planets. I however believe that my citations have been ignored by him I
also believe that several extremely serious issues, that have not yet been
brought up were ignored. I have 3 serious concerns.

First: Consider Eli's 3rd approach-->  intelligent life exists but without
free will<   Eli cites Sefer HAbris, Rav Moshe Kordevero (cited in Rav
Kaplan) and the Tikkunay Hazohar. This is a very serious matter. Suppose we
travel to other planets and suppose we find intelligent life there. Are we
to treat them as beings without free will? In other words, will there be no
prohibition of murder on termination of life? Can we use them as slaves
(the way we use animals to do work?). Are they prohibited from being
converted? It seems to me that there is a serious risk we are wrong. In
fact my primary motivation for starting this whole thread is simply to
state that everyone gets a chance to do all 613 mitzvoth whether they are
on this planet or elsewhere.

Second: Eli states >  it is striking that everyone has been offering
basically their own line of reasoning, when, in fact, Our Sages have
already addressed this question<   But I did NOT offer my own opinion. I
clearly cited a Talmudic statement that >  Moses went up and serves in heaven<
and interpreted this to mean that Moses is giving the Torah to other
planets True Eli can strongly argue that is not the simple meaning of this
Talmudic passage but we can equally argue that the statements that Eli is
citing are also not the simple meaning. In other words this is a very
nebulous area of Judaism. Let us at least acknowledge when someone does
cite a talmudic opinion.

Third: Over and above the Talmudic opinions I cited a study by the Rand
corporation that shows reasonable evidence not only that life exists but
that it exists in ALMOST the same form as it does on earth. I conclude with
Rabbi Linas' own citation >  Since the universe was created for te sake of
man no other creature can have free will<   Agreed! But what is man? If on
another planet there are creatures who can speak and talk about God and say
God exists it seems to me they are not different than the noachides on our
planet...I therefore expect that God arranged in some way for them to have
access to the Torah. It is this driving force of fairness that prompted me to
cite the Talmudic opinion about Moses in heaven and to interpret it that
way. In other words...I interpreted the statement AFTER the requirements of
fairness necessitated that other planets be given a chance.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Moderator Rashi is Simple