Midrash and science

Midrash and science

Reading the review of Unorthodox, one gets the impression that Anna Wexler became an atheist due to contradictions between science and Torah (“‘Unorthodox’ film explores religious rebels,” May 1). In particular she quotes her yeshiva teachers saying that the Torah says that the world is only 5,000 years old.

According to an aggadic statement of the Talmud found in Sanhedrin 97a and Avodah Zarah 9a, the world will exist for 6,000 years divided into three periods, including 2,000 years of disarray, 2,000 years of Torah, and 2,000 years of messianic times. While there are those who take this midrash literally, it has been explained many times by many rabbis in a nonliteral sense, especially in the Modern Orthodox world.

I heartily suggest a reading of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’s book The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning as a starting point for those who are under the misimpression that science and Torah are at odds. Of course, they are both emanations of the divine will.
Joel Rich
West Orange

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