Friday, September 23, 2011

The 25th of Elul: The Beginning of Creation?

Tonight begins the 25th of Elul. According to Rabbi Eliezer, this is the day Hashem began creating the world. In other words, today is "the first day."

Therefore: Adam was created on the sixth day, and Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the year from the time Adam was created.

Why would we measure the year from the creation of Adam instead of from the very beginning of Hashem's creating? According to some of the rabbis (and a position later adopted by philosophers and physicists), time cannot exist without someone to perceive it. Without going into the nerdy theoretical physics/philosophy, that is how many orthodox Jews can accept both modern scientific findings and Torah, particularly about the age of the earth. The days in Bereishis/Genesis can be different than the human concept of days precisely because there was no human present to perceive time. Of course, there are people who believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old. 5771 years, to be precise.

On a related note, if you ever get the chance to hear a lecture from Dr. Gerald Schroeder, do so! Well, if you're as nerdy as I am. I heard these ideas for years and they made sense to me. If you've studied the theory of special relativity, you already understand the basic concept. But Dr. Schroeder really fleshes out the details in ways I had never imagined. And his analogy to the Hubble telescope and the universe's expansion will simply blow your mind. My understanding is that he is based at Aish in Jerusalem, but I heard him when he was visiting American communities, unrelated to Aish.

1 comment:

  1. I read the book "Judaism, Physics And God: Searching for Sacred Metaphors in a Post-einstein World" by David W. Nelson a few months ago. It completely blew my mind and left me in awe. There are portions that might collide with orthodoxy, but on the whole, I found it to be compatible.

    In particular, I found the idea of an event horizon supporting creation ex nihilo, as in creation ocurring from nothingness compelling as well as a comparison using light as a metaphor for G-d.

    Wonderful, mind bending stuff. :)