PARASHAT BEREISHIT

Saturday 2nd November 2019 4th Cheshvan 5780

PARASHAT BEREISHIT by Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Genesis 1:1 – 6:8; Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10; John 1:1 - 17

How old is the universe? 13.8 billion years or 6,000 years? Did Creation take place in 6 twenty-four hour days or were they longer? This week I bring to you a fascinating approach from a fascinating man. Daniel Friedmann holds a master’s degree in engineering physics and is the Chairman of Carbon Engineering, a company dedicated to removing co2 from the air to solve climate change and ex-CEO of the Canadian company that made the robotic arm for the Space Shuttle. He lays out his research in his book, The Biblical Clock.

Why did Mr. Friedmann start investigating the connection between the Torah's story of Creation and the scientific timeline? The Talmudic sages teach that ‘God looked into the Torah and created the world" (Midrash Rabbah on Gen. 1:2). Mr. Friedmann concluded that if the Torah is the blueprint of the universe, then the Torah account of creation and scientific account of the age of the Universe must coincide.

About 700 years ago Rabbi Isaac of Akko made the assertion that time – while God was creating and man had not yet appeared – was different than time as we keep today. Mr. Friedmann, based on this insight and on classical sources, aligns the dates of key events as described in Genesis 1 and 2 with those derived from scientific theory and observation. How? One Creation Day = 1,000 x 365.25 x 7,000 = 2.56 billion years.

The factor of 1,000 comes directly from Psalm 90:4: “For a thousand years in Your sight are as a day” – where we learn that one day for God equals 1,000 human years.

The 365.25 number is simply a conversion from days to years (being the number of days in a year). The factor of 7,000 relates to cosmic cycles. The Talmud, (Sanhedrin 97a), which was redacted approximately 1,500 years ago states, "The world will exist for six thousand years and in the seven-thousandth year, it will be destroyed." Various Kabbalistic works, dating back to the first century, write that there are 7 cosmic cycles of 7000 thousand years (analogous to the sabbatical cycles). The factor of 7000 relates to these cycles. (Thi