Creation: A Jewish Perspective

Thank you to Rabbi Dorit Edut

Although the Bible gives us an account of the creation of our world and all living beings, it has not been understood literally in the Jewish tradition for  most of the last 2,000 years.  The Rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud ( during the Roman times) discussed the idea that what was considered a “day” might not refer to a 24-hr period but rather many years.  Later scholars of the Middle Ages began to talk about the Creation story as having mystical meanings and its purpose in the Bible as having spiritual intent rather than historical.  Others saw in it a kind of Divine order which set the basis for later generations to see no clash between the Darwin Theory of Evolution and the theological account.  Modern day teachers emphasize that scientific knowledge only helps humans to understand more of the wonders of our existence and therefore is not in contradiction to our belief in God or our understanding of Creation as an unfolding process which is ongoing and is suggested by the Biblical text. Even though today we know that our world is billions of years old and life here has evolved over great swaths of time, we still celebrate the Creation on the date set by our ancient Sages which coincides with our Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, this year being counted as 5775 . In this way we not only observe the start of a new year of life and the chance to grow spiritually, but also relate  our lives to the holy creation of life itself and of this universe in which we and all our human ancestors have been blessed to live.