The first ever Haredi conference on Torah Archaeology took place in the heart of Jerusalem two weeks ago. The event drew a packed crowd eager to learn about the intersection of Torah teachings and evidentiary history.
The opening speaker Chabad Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch used an ancient scale recovered from a wreck at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea to prove how much a litra actually weighed. The Talmudic measure, debated for centuries, is 354 grams according to the intact scale, which is the same number arrived at by 11th-century commentator Rashi.
This demonstration epitomizes the purpose of Haredi archaeology. Ancient artifacts can shed much light on religious texts, so long as they don’t undermine traditional readings. As one of the conference organizers, Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveitchik, said, "We're all Haredim who are guided by the fear of heaven, but that's not a reason to be afraid of science. The Haredi fear of science is gradually dissipating."
Read the full article at Haaretz.