Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
Recently, I bought a book on the planets that begins with a description of a 15 billion-year-old world.
Can I read that book to my children and discuss with them the fact that there are people (even smart people) in the world who believe this, yet help them understand our belief that the Torah – which is the emes – teaches us that the world is 5,768 years old?
I want my children to know that there are people who incorrectly believe this, and I also would like them to hear this from me – and not from someone who doesn’t have proper hashkafos. At the same time, I understand that the theory of evolution is not accepted in the Torah world.
I hope I am not putting you in an uncomfortable position with this question.
Rabbi Horowitz Responds
As parents, we all know the feeling of being asked jaw-dropping, excellent questions from our children. And we rarely get the opportunity to avoid answering them. So I guess that once I agreed to do this give-and-take parenting column, I should play by the same rules and not take a pass on challenging, excellent questions from parents on raising children in these trying times. So you need not apologize for posing your question.
Upon analysis there are, in fact, two very important issues that you raise. First, how we as adults must process and better understand issues where essential matters of our bedrock emunah are challenged by scientific findings. It is my strong feeling that many of the issues that we deal with in raising children are, in fact, issues that we as adults are struggling with.
Additionally there is the question of how, or whether, to impart this information to our children. Is it better to avoid discussing these challenging topics and hope that our children will be among the many who are not giving much thought to these matters? Or is it wiser to be proactive and prepare them for the time when they may need to deal with them at a more vulnerable time in their lives – when we may not be there to guide them?
Regarding the first matter: Our own understanding of things, namely the fact that there are objects in our world that appear to be more than 5,766 years old, is not, in and of itself, a contradiction to our emunah. Hashem created a world that was mature and developed. The trees had rings and the stones appeared to be timeworn. In fact, the Midrash states (Bereshis Rabbah 8:14) that Adam was created not as an infant, but rather as an adult with the developed body of a 20-year-old. Thus only two years after the world was created, Adam would have appeared to be 22 years old when it was only two years after he was created. So, too, a tree may have appeared to be hundreds of years old during the second year of creation. The same line of reasoning would apply to stones, canyons, etc.
An important note: When I first took a job teaching general studies in a yeshiva nearly 20 years ago, I asked an esteemed Monsey rav (who was a close talmid of HaGaon Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky, zt”l) if the above was hashkafically in line with our thinking and appropriate to share with adolescent talmidim. He told me that Reb Yaakov had explained this matter to him in exactly the same manner, and encouraged him to share this Torah perspective with his talmidim. His reasoning: This would increase the chances that they would not become spiritually disoriented later in life when they encounter this information from secular sources.
Therefore, the ages of the stones are not necessarily a fundamental conflict with our emunah. Many components of the theory of evolution, on the other hand, most certainly are incompatible with Torah tradition.
Next: Sharing this information with your children.
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and the founder and director of Project Y.E.S. To purchase Rabbi Horowitz’s d’var Torah sefer, Growing With the Parsha, his popular parenting tapes and CDs – including his 4-CD set “What Matters Most” – and his recently released parenting book, Living and Parenting (ArtScroll), please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com, e-mail email@example.com, call 845-426-2243, or visit your local Judaica store.
About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The musical production was beautifully performed by the middle school students.
Greige offered a post of her own. She said, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She contends that she was photobombed.
In the introduction to the first volume, R. Katz discusses the Torah ideal, arguing that the Torah’s laws are intended to craft the perfect man and are not to be regarded as ends unto themselves.
A highlight of the evening was the video produced by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on the legendary Agudah askan Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress, a true Jewish hero.
Until recently his films were largely forgotten, but with their release last year on DVD by Re:Voir Video in Paris they are once again available.
Though the CCAR supported the Jewish right to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, it strenuously objected to defining Palestine as the Jewish homeland.
“Well, you are also part of this class! If someone drills a hole in the boat, the boat will ultimately sink, and even the innocent ones will perish as well. The whole class must be punished!”
I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.
Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.
Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?
We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.
Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”
Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”
One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/addressing-my-childs-questions-on-evolution-part-i/2008/07/30/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: