י״ח באייר ה׳תשע״ד (May 18, 2014)

Rosh HaShana 10a-b: When the World Was Created

We find a disagreement in our Gemara as to the time of year when the world was created. According to Rabbi Eliezer, the world was created in Tishrei. Similarly, the AvotAvraham, Yitzhak and Ya’akov – were born and died in Tishrei. Rabbi Yehoshua argues that all of these events took place took place in Nisan.

The rishonim (the Ran, for example) point out that Rabbi Eliezer does not really mean to say that the world was created in Tishrei, since it is the creation of Man which takes place on Rosh HaShana, the first day of Tishrei. Thus, the six days of creation began on the 25th day of the month of Elul. Nevertheless, he is expressing the idea that creation took place during the time of year when Tishrei occurs.

Although both of these tanna’im bring textual support for their positions (see page 11a), the Ritva explains that none of the proofs is truly convincing, and that the passages quoted are, at best, hints brought in support of a tradition held by each of the Rabbis, or, perhaps, based on their logic in understanding which time of year it would be most logical for the world to have been created. The Maharal explains in great length that their disagreement stems from different views that each of them held with regards to a deep understanding of life and its meaning. According to the Maharal, the month of Nisan, which occurs in the Spring, represents the driving force of life that grows and blossoms, and compares it to the heart of Man. Tishrei, which falls in Autumn, expresses the holiness, spirituality and solemnity of life, which is the realm of the human mind. Which of these times of year is most appropriate for the creation of the world is the source for the argument between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua.

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