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Updated: 2019.11.07 

v Early Man

2010 Carmel ''consuming fire'' - Seraphim (AFP photo)
(Carmel 2010.12.03 AFP -Ârëtz)

Early man inherited his awe of from prehistoric ancestors. They assumed to be the akh of ël•ōh•im or sᵊrâph•im, good or evil (demons) that they saw eating everything in their path. Early man eventually connected this to holy in temple sacrifices, where they assumed the akh of their ël•ōh•im (i.e. their holy ) was eating the sacrifices they offered in their holy .

Ancient people didn't drive around in cars, nor shop in super markets, nor make telephone calls, nor see TV (much less a cellphone or the internet), nor flip a switch on a light or microwave to cook or get warm. Even the modern match wasn't invented, and electricity wasnt available to most American cities (much less the rest of the world), until my Mom was a girl in the early 20th century CE.

Before electricity, folks probably lit fires from a flintlock pistol, invented in the 16th century C.E., with a bit of gunpowder (first formulated in China in the 9th century C.E.).

But Israel's trek into Kᵊna•an was 2½ millennia before that! The latest technology in the era of the Yᵊtzi•âh was the bronze sword. They didn't yet even know how to mine and smelt iron, much less produce steel (to strike against flint). Take away the steel, which the ancients didnt have, and making an by simply striking two rocks together becomes practically impossible!


Fire-box  (makhtah) Arch of Titus Rome
Ma•khᵊt•âh, still carrying ‎ — 17 centuries later (Arch of Titus, Rome)

Early fire was certainly gleaned from lightning strikes, brush fires and the like. Almost certainly, fire was first controlled by learning to transport it as a torch; later in a fire-box, which continued to be more convenient even after the strenuous art of fire-making was discovered.

was so central to ancient life, and so difficult to make, that great efforts and attention were devoted to maintaining an , even carrying live embers along with them on journeys. They made bronze fireboxes to carry the live embers around – trailing a column/​cloud/​pillar of smoke – so that could be revived and transferred rather than made from (literally) scratch.

Even then, however, to maintain an at home required regularly going out to gather firewood, then lugging it home to feed the and keep it going —mᵊlâkh•âh that was forbidden on Sha•bât.

Mans Discovery Of Making

Ancient Fire-Making (Friction) Fire-Plow (left), Fire-Drill (right)

Early man in Egypt (or before) certainly noticed how, when vigorously drilling holes in wood with their bow drills, the board being drilled would heat up, char around the hole being drilled, and smoke. When a worker first noticed an ember drop into some natural tinder and cause a fire, the art of duplicating such an was discovered.

Somewhere along the line, desperate for an but lacking a bow, someone tried rubbing a stick furiously back and forth along a hearth-board, forming a groove. It worked and—Voila!—hearth-boards and fire-plows.

Afghan women carrying tinder for fire (maximsnews.com)
Afghan women lugging home tinder for fire (maximsnews.com)

Before matches, lighters, gunpowder—even before man ever smelted steel or iron, fire-making typically required the tedious preparatory mᵊlâkh•âh of scouting for suitable tinder, gathering kindling, and then lugging it all home. Once home, the tinder, kindling and wood had to be properly constructed (also mᵊlâkh•âh).

Finally, the fire-maker had to rub two sticks together, sometimes for hours, until the friction finally produced an ember he could, if skillful enough, nurse into an — massive mᵊlâkh•âh — and even that only worked in dry weather or when well protected from rain and wet.

Just Strike 2 Rocks Together—Poof!—

fired-clay and stone fire-drill cylinders BAS 20170903
Click to enlargeFired-clay and stone friction-styli for stone fire-drills or fire-plows. (Bow marks more likely from ancient lathe used to turn-out the finished points, not from usage making ). (BAS 2017.09.03)

The ancient ability to generate an by striking two stones together was apparently lost for millennia, as most stones dont work at all, easier methods were devised and the old, most perplexing and strenuous, ways fell into disuse.

Only recently recognized as a widespread ancient method of making an in Israel, the stone tools, some dating from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB; ca. 10,5008,400 calBP) havent been properly understood, nor their terminology properly sorted out. Since a stone cannot be a fire-board, and a boulder cannot be held in the hand as a hand-stone, Im introducing more accurate terminology. For uniformity, Im substituting the term hearth-stone as the stone corollary of a hearth-board and a cylindrical friction-stylus as the stone corollary of the fire-drill, or fire-plow, friction-stick. To make an using rocks then, a friction-stylus must be scraped along a grooved hearth-stone. Until very recently, fired-clay friction-styli for stone fire-plows were mistaken by arts-degreed archeologists as phallus figures for ritual worship.

Whether Rubbing Sticks Or Striking Stones, Making Was Mᵊlâkh•âh

The Biblical precept was demonstratively directed at prohibiting the mᵊlâkh•âh involved in the ancient method of collecting kindling and manually kindling an . The man in bᵊ-Mi•dᵊbar 15.32ff who was executed, was executed for gathering and preparing kindlingmᵊlâkh•âh, not for "lighting a "! He never even got as far as lighting his !

Click to enlargeHearth-stone with drill socket, (spark-directing?) groove & firepan to hold the tinder (Goren-Inbar, PlosOne)

The limestone hearth-stone for a stone fire-drill featured the socket (in which the friction-stylus rotated), a groove (presumably to tease the spark down the gutter under the tinder placed in the firepan depression.

Grooved stone from Gotland. Fire plow trench-marks?
Click to enlargeGrooved limestone from Gotland Island (in the Baltic Sea) similar to stones found in Israel. Toward the bottom, where embers, friction-heated in the grooves by a stone fire-plow, would have fallen into the fire-pan, the grooves and side appear heat-scorched.

They still havent figured out what the mysterious stones with all the grooves were used for. (Proposed Ans. hearth-trenches of stone fire-plows.)

Over time, (many? most?) fire-makers learned that a pointed flint, marcasite, natural ironstone or fired-clay cylinder made the most effective friction-stylus and produce good sparks when used on a softer grooved rock, like limestone, hearth-trench—which simultaneously protects the spark from the elements, focuses the increasing heat on the accumulating spark and directs the spark to the tinder.

Archeologists have found countless similarly grooved rocks in Israel that they haven't been able to explain, simply ascribing them to some unknown cult ritual or enigmatic astrology. I haven't see the geological types and hardness indices of any of these stones—not surprising given the many failures of "Old School" (humanities-trained, arts-degreed) archeologists. These issues need to be resolved and demonstrated.

Rainbow Rule

Children old enough to respect the dangers of should learn to make an – in dry weather (vastly easier) – by scouting for and gathering kindling and firewood in the wilderness, properly assembling the kindling and a campfire cone; first using a fire-plow or bow-drill, then using two rocks (not using a modern flint, nor steel nor fire accelerant fluid) to experience and really understand, first-hand, the difficulty and mᵊlâkh•âh—not magic—that was the object of the Ta•na"kh prohibition.

Rainbow Rule

(mundus mutatus)

Post-Enlightenment Orthodox Rabbinic Reforms
Contravening Biblical History & Science Fake Ha•lâkh•âh

Neither Electricity Nor Explosions Are

Orthodox rabbinic assertions attempting to contort a prohibition against into prohibitions against use of electricity and driving on arise from:

  1. Post-Enlightenment strayings by Orthodox rabbis mired in a Dark Ages mindset plaguing Israel with a deluge of anti-scientific and anti-historical misconceptions that contravene Ta•na"kh and trample authentic Ha•lâkh•âh. This has resulted in neglecting some proper prohibitions of mᵊlâkh•âh during , while deluging Israel in misconceived prohibitions during based on an ignorant (unscientific) and fallacious misconception of . Even today's rabbinic law recognizes that may continue on as long as its kindled before .

  2. Orthodox rabbis' deliberate rejection of science, archeological hard evidence and well-documented historical facts; their defiant refusal to study science and general education, resulting in their willful ignorance of science and their intolerance of scientific realists,

  3. Orthodox rabbis' defiant refusal of hard-evidence and fact to, instead, retain their belief that electricity was a type of .

The result is their multiple illegitimate religious rulings that do not qualify as Ha•lâkh•âh.

Electricity On

The issues, and subsequent rabbinic rulings, concerning electricity didn't become possible until the inventions of the incandescent light bulb and telegraphy in the 19th century C.E.

Regarding electricity, anyone with a high school physics background understands that electricity is a flow of electron field force, not the NFPA 921 definition of : "A rapid oxidation process, which is a chemical reaction resulting in the evolution of light and heat in varying intensities." Thus, the rabbinic prohibition against use of electricity on , which they wrongly thought was based on bᵊ-Mi•dᵊbar 15.32ff, is not legitimate Ha•lâkh•âh.

Driving On

The rabbis based their ruling against driving on on the same ignorance of science: wrongly believing that [a] the electricity essential to the operation of a combustion engine was a type of , [b] that the explosions that drive a combustion engine are and [c] the limit of travel distance on .

It turns out that there is also a distinct and persistent scientific difference between and the explosions that drive the combustion engine in a car.

"According to the Chemical Engineers' Handbook (McGraw-​Hill Book Co., Inc.),… the scientifically-accurate meaning of explosion 'presupposes a sudden violent change of pressure, characteristically involving the liberation and expansion of a large volume of gas due to high temperature. The change taking place is a progressive one pro­ceed­ing from one part of the exploding material to the next adjoining part.' The sudden violent change of pressure, which causes the sound and other effects of an explosion that are absent in , is the definitive distinction between an explosion and , according to many sources.

Thus, no element of kindling an is involved in an explosion detonated by an electric spark." (see my Live-Link)

Travel Limitation on : Distance Or Travel Time?

The only applicable prohibition to driving, or other travel, on , therefore, relates to the "journey" on . Even that is subordinate to the principle of and debating the dynamics of applying this principle to modern modes of transportation. Which was the core ancient principle: distance or time travel? Is, then, the modern limitation properly defined according to the distance that was traveled in ancient times? Or was the determinant the travel time, which, in ancient times, happened to be on foot or donkey. If travel time is the determinant, which is more flexible to adapt to advancing technology, then (within other limitations; e.g., not doing business on ), the travel time would apply today depending on whether traveling by foot, by car, by para-glider, by helicopter, in a space station orbiting some planet, or some other, perhaps future, mode.

Rainbow Rule © 1996-present by Paqid Yirmeyahu Ben-David,
Rainbow Rule
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