R. Shlomo Aviner on Evolution

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R. Shlomo Aviner (link):

Did Man Evolve from Monkeys?
[Q&A from Rav Aviner’s radio show]

First of all, no one claims that man came directly from monkeys. Some say that man and monkeys have a shared ancestor, and this shared ancestor split into human beings and monkeys…

Regarding the essential question of whether Hashem created man directly from the earth or whether Hashem created man in a slow process from the earth in stages, we do not know factually, since we were not there. It is possible to explain the verses of the Torah either way. When the Torah says that Hashem took earth to make man, it is possible to explain that he created man in an instant and it is possible to explain that He created man in a long, long process. After all, we have found skeletons of creatures which are intermediates between man and monkey. We have found them in many places. We have also found drawing on walls in France from thirty thousand years ago. It is possible that these creatures were not like man, but had some intellect and knew how to draw. The simple meaning of the Torah is that Hashem created man directly from the earth, but it is possible to explain the beginning verses of the Book of Bereshit not according to their simple meaning, but as deep secrets…

In sum: We are involved with Torah; we are not involved with science. We love science, we respect science and we respect scientists. There is even a blessing upon seeing a great scientist: Blessed is Hashem…who gave of His wisdom to flesh and blood (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 224:7). The Torah, however, is not a science book. Whether man was created directly from the ground or from a long process is not the subject of the Torah. Our subject is how man needs to act…

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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