Do contemporary Orthodox (Litvish, Chassidish, & Sephardi) Rabbi’s still believe that the world was created 5,779 yrs ago or do they agree with Aryeh Kaplan that perhaps 5779 is just the birth of Adam & the world may have existed for billions of yrs before him?

I’m sure different Rabbanim have different opinions, but if you can shed light on any specific views that would be great.


From a 2010 interview with Rabbi Hershel Schachter, printed in Kol HaMevaser. Rabbi Schachter is one of OU Kosher's main poskim and among the most-renowned roshei yeshiva at Yeshiva University:

Q: What do you believe about the opinion of R. Nachum Eisenstein, quoted in R. Elyashiv’s name, that any dayyan (judge) who believes the world is more than 5771 years old is a dayyan pasul (disqualified judge) and that his conversions are invalid?

A: It’s an extreme position, and in this case, he had to retract it the next day. It is not a position I would take seriously.

So Centrist Orthodox rabbis would, at the very least, not object to such a view as heresy.

  • They may not object to such a view heresy, but do they actually believe that view? – Alex Sep 7 '18 at 15:09
  • It's a long long way from that to heresy, so this answer does not prove much, I think. – Al Berko Sep 8 '18 at 23:00

The true answer is: Nobody cares. We, observant Jews are busy with Halachic issues about living everyday Kosherly and not about the Creation.

The Jewish tradition is based on the Mishnah in Chagiga 2,1:

"כל המסתכל בארבעה דברים, ראוי לו כאלו לא בא לעולם, מה למעלה, מה למטה, מה לפנים, ומה לאחור"

Anyone who looks into four things would be better off if he had not come into this world: what is above, what is below, what is before, and what is after.

Some issues are better not dealt with, especially in public.

  • 3
    What is before = what is before creation, not what is before today. Understanding history is not irrelevant nor discouraged. – robev Sep 9 '18 at 1:21
  • @robev I meant before 5579, and it is discouraged, as you might find yourself ruining a lot of your religious taboos. – Al Berko Sep 9 '18 at 1:41
  • What is before is referring to what is before creation, not what was before Adam! Adam was created on day 6 there’s nothing wrong with discussing wether the first 6 days were actually 24 hrs especially considering that the sun & the moon were only made on day 4 – Lages Nov 28 '18 at 15:49
  • @Lages Can you please find anything PRACTICAL about arguing about those 6 days? Until then it's a Spaghetti Monster. – Al Berko Nov 28 '18 at 18:36

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