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Rav Dessler zt"l



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Articles on Rav Dessler's approach to time, creation and evolution

  • Volume II - Pages 150-154. Rav Dessler zt"l explains the importance of each moment of time. Rav Dessler quotes the Ramban to the effect that the six days of creation were six actual days, but each day also refers to a deeper spiritual dimension. Adam HaRishon was tuned into that spiritual reality much more than we are today to the point that his perception of time was focused at this spiritual level rather than on the clock-time within which his physical life was taking place. Rav Dessler explain this with his mashal of a child for whom one year is imprinted in his memory as a duration that is far longer than that of a year of maturity because to the child, everything is new. One year for the child and adult are the same clock time but their perception of that period of real time is very different.
  • Volume IV - Pages 113-114 (pdf). Rav Dessler zt"l states that the purpose of clock time is to facilitate the perception by man of spiritual essence. The true scope of creation is far more profound than our ability to grasp and far greater than that which is represented in our physical universe. Consequently, “creation” as a whole, encompassing all of its deeper, more profound levels transcends any limitations of time. The concept of something being “beyond the limitations of time” cannot be fully grasped by the human intellect. Thus when considering the idea of something being “beyond the limitations of time”, it is projected into our minds as endless periods of time rather than timelessness. This is why it seems (nireh) to scientists as if (ke-ilo) the world evolved over millions of years. If it is true that nature of creation is so much more elevated than the mundane parameters that accompany our universe, why then does the Torah establish the description of creation in terms of six physical days? The answer is that the Torah wanted to teach us that the existence [i.e. spiritual essence] of all things is only in proportion to the spiritual content it possesses. Something that contains much materialism and little spirituality - its value and true existence is small because the existence of everything is determined solely according to the measure of its spiritual content. Thus our vast and complex universe did not need billions of years to come into being but only 6 days.
  • Sefer Hazikaron Page 108 (English pdf; original)
     Two Refutations to the Claims of the Evolutionists: Rabbi Dessler zt"l shows that the geological formations and embryological development described by the scientists could very well have been speeded up thus rejecting their temporal calculations regarding the duration of the existence of the world. Rabbi Dessler rejects the millions (or billions) of years proposed by the evolutionists. See also page 357 in Volume IV.