Is there a place for prehistoric man within the Torah? The view of one European gadol, Rabbi Israel Lipschitz
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This article is a companion to the prior article, “Dinosaurs and Wooly Mammoths - is there a Torah Viewpoint?”  and the rationale for publication is the same -- numerous Jewish day schools and yeshivot visit the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, NYC. The students are not prepared to view dinosaurs, mammoths, and prehistoric man, and are faced with a universe dated in the billions of years. As such, the Museum appears anti-Torah and leads to confusion in the minds of the students. In the mid-nineteenth century, Rabbi Israel ben Gedalyah Lipschitz (1782-1860), known as the Tiferes Yisrael, was faced with a similar problem. Instead of shying away from the scientific discoveries in his time, he welcomed these discoveries, and showed how the fossilized bones of dinosaurs, mammoths, and prehistoric man confirmed various midrashim, Talmudic passages, and kabbalistic thoughts. This article continues the ideas presented by Rav Lipschitz as applied to prehistoric man. Rav Lipshitz, a proponent of the kabbalistic idea of the existence of Sabbatical worlds prior to our current world, composed his thoughts in the Derush Or’ HaChayim published at the end of the Mishnayos, Seder Nezikin, and which has been translated into English by Rav Aryeh Kaplan .
Babich, H. (2021). Is there a place for prehistoric man within the Torah? The view of one European gadol, Rabbi Israel Lipschitz. Derech HaTeva, 25, 32-35.
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