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Age of Earth and Universe

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Rabbi Ari Shvat

Iyyar 22, 5772
Question
What is the age of the universe and earth from a Jewish standpoint?
Answer
Thanks for wording your question concisely (it greatly averts unfortunate misunderstandings!). The Jewish people obviously do not count the year as 2012 as Christians do, but as 5,772, which is the number of years we have consecutively counted since the creation of the world. Our rabbis teach us in the Midrash and Zohar (oral tradition, written down about 1,800 years ago), that G-d created previous worlds and destroyed them, and created different types of man, before the world and man as we know them. That explains why there are fossils dated millions, even billions of years old, while the world as we know it, began counting only 5,772 years ago with Adam. Maimonidies details the unbroken chain of Jewish tradition in his introduction to the Mishne Torah. I personally am the 131st generation of rabbis since Sinai, which was the 26th generation of the world, so my grandchildren are the 159th generation of mankind. With Love of Israel! Rav Ari Shvat
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