What is the Torah's viewpoint on the age old question whether the chicken or the egg was created first?

Note: Although this article shows Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin writes both fish and chicken eggs were created before the creatures themselves based on Bereshis (1:21)

וַיִּבְרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִ֖ם הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים וְאֵ֣ת כָּל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ הַֽחַיָּ֣ה ׀ הָֽרֹמֶ֡שֶׂת אֲשֶׁר֩ שָׁרְצ֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם לְמִֽינֵהֶ֗ם וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־ע֤וֹף כָּנָף֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃

God created the great sea monsters, and all the living creatures of every kind that creep, which the waters brought forth in swarms, and all the winged birds of every kind. And God saw that this was good.

Which Rashi notes נפש החיה שֶׁיֵּש בָּה חַיוּת: there is life in it - the eggs. However, Rashi only writes the comment on fish (20 and 21) and insects (24)?

  • He seems to completely misinterpret Rashi - he does not mention eggs at all. Same as Adam was created fully grown, all the creatures were created fully grown, not developing. Same with Eve, she was created with eggs. It's very common, however, to flex the interpretations in any way to suit one's conclusion.
    – Al Berko
    Mar 18, 2018 at 11:27
  • @AlBerko You don’t need to mention eggs explicitly to be talking about them. I think Rav Diskin is making a very good inference from Rashi.
    – DonielF
    Mar 19, 2018 at 7:50

3 Answers 3


The Talmud in Rosh HaShnanah 11a brings the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi that all the animals were created in their mature form. So according to him the chicken came before the egg.

  • See above answer, which quotes that source with a different conclusion. Jun 17, 2018 at 13:57
  • @רבותמחשבות I don't see any reason to believe both the chicken and the egg came together per se, because the Gemara doesn't say that there. R' Yehoshua b. Levi says each animal was created in its mature form. Therefore from the simple reading I conclude that the chicken came first. Why the downvote?
    – ezra
    Jun 17, 2018 at 16:54

the chicken came first, then the egg

adam created when he was age 20,

also דא"ר יהושע בן לוי כל מעשה בראשית (לקומתן) נבראו לדעתן נבראו לצביונן נבראו שנא' (בראשית ב, א) ויכלו השמים והארץ וכל צבאם אל תקרי צבאם אלא צביונם

  • about the תנינים הגדולים, it is about different thing , totally unrelated, it's about leviathan.... and more spiritual concepts
    – igal_ab47
    Sep 5, 2020 at 18:18
  • about נפש חיה it's adams, he had a soul from atzilut, very high soul roots
    – igal_ab47
    Sep 5, 2020 at 18:22

As I explain in Breishis - Creationism and Evolutionism, animals had to be created in full groups in order to be viable as a complete creation. For example, passenger pigeons actually became extinct when the flocks dropped below the critical mass. Similarly, herds of animals had to be created with the appropriate mix of ages in order to be immediately viable. Another example is that in order for mushrooms to be created and survive, dead trees had to be created for them to grow on.

This means that the answer to the question of Which came first, the chicken or the egg? is yes. Chickens had to be created brooding on nests with chicks etc. in the full range of ages in existence. Otherwise the world could not have started working at once. Every animal has a different life cycle and they all had to be fully established at the beginning. Consider birds that eat insects as another example.

This is like the reason that the re-establishment of the world after the flood required a miracle after Noach left the ark.

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