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Shabbat Parashat Vayikra | 5768

Religion and Science- part III (from Perakim BMachshevet Yisrael, ch. 30)

Moreshet Shaul



Rav Yisraeli gathered classical and more contemporary rabbinic views on the interaction between religion/belief and science. We will present his sources in an abridged, free translation form.


5. The Creation of the World, One of the Secrets of the Torah

 Igrot Har’iyah I, 91 (Rav A.Y. Kook) continued

The important thing is that which we teach to the world that everything was done by Hashem, and the means, whether many or few, are all the actions of Hashem, and there is no limit to His power and the strength of His wisdom and His glory. There are times that we mention the means [of creation] by name, to widen the knowledge, and there are times that we just say in a manner of skipping: “Hashem created” or “Hashem made.” This is like saying “Then Shlomo built.” We do not say that Shlomo commanded officers, and the officers commanded those beneath them, and they told architects, and architects told craftsmen … because this progression is known and it is also not the main point. Indeed that which will be investigated over thousands of years in expounding on the ways and means, which add on knowledge and insight of the greatness of Hashem, are themselves usually an abridged account. The content of the matter is that there is a special weight for every idea and thought regarding the time it came into being and its way of acting, without there being any uncalculated chance at all…

So is the matter in regard to Divine Providence, which is the foundation of the ethics of man and his success. When the world will see in a great and clear knowledge, this will be the foundation of satisfaction. “They will not do bad or destroy in all of the mountain of My Holiness, for the world will be full of knowledge of Hashem” (Yeshaya 11:9). The Jewish nation had to work very hard with all of the idol worshippers to explain to them that with all of the greatness of creation, man is still not lowly to the point that it does not make a difference whether or not he acts ethically. Rather, the ethical creation of man is more important than the incomparably larger creations. It was not easy to make even a small imprint of this concept on them along with safeguarding the internal recognition of the glory of Hashem, which is also the greatest foundation of human development…

All of this was necessary in order to fit into the little heart of man the vision of the vastness of creation and the lowness of man along with the vision of recognizing Hashem’s great Hand and how He is greater and more exalted than all of the recognized values of every creation. What would have been if people would have known at that time about all of the worlds that exist in the ideas of science today? Man would have seen himself as nothingness and his morality would be as nothing. It would not have been possible at all to place in one’s soul a picture of greatness and grandeur. Only now after people were able to struggle and succeed with these issues, they are no longer shocked by the quantitative greatness. However, all of these things require timing and preparation, and the imagery of stories, whether those that emerge from the view of the creation from a philosophical perspective or whether those that were revealed by the Hand of Hashem by His prophets, have to always bring with them the strength that empowers life and true success. This is as opposed to presenting man with a host of isolated pieces of information that he can play with child’s play. When you contemplate this manner you will understand that there is great importance to that which is revealed and that which is not revealed. The means to hide secrets are many and wondrous and display the high wisdom of the Master of all actions, may He be blessed.


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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of

Yehudah ben Naftali Hertz Cohen (Kamofsky) and

R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld


 Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of , Illinois in loving memory of Chicago

Max and Mary Sutker

 and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.


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