The Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 10b-11a) cites two opinions as to the date of God’s creation of the universe.
According to one of the most prominent Sages (tannaim) of the 1st and 2nd centuries in Judea, kohen Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurcanus or Hyrcanus:
“The world was created in Tishrei”
(i.e., the sixth day of creation — the day on which Adam and Eve were created — was the 1st of Tishrei, celebrated each year as Rosh Hashanah); and therefore major a Jewish observance now accepted as inaugurating the religious New Year on Tishri 1 (September or October).
But according to Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, of Levitical descent,
“The world was created in Nissan.”
In Palestinian sources Joshua answers various questions of the emperor: how God created the world. The conversations between Joshua and Hadrian, as they have been preserved in the Babylonian Talmud (Hullin 59b) and the Palestinian Midrash, have been greatly modified and exaggerated by tradition, but they nevertheless present in general a just picture of the intercourse between the witty Jewish scholar and the active, inquisitive emperor, the “curiositatum omnium explorator”, as Tertullian calls him.
As interpreted by the Kabbalists and the Chassidic masters, the deeper meaning of these two views is that the physical world was created in Tishrei, while the “thought” or idea of creation was created in the month of Nisan (Nissan).
Though we should always remember that the exact date does not matter. What matters is that we always should remember Who is behind it all. We should always remember that Jehovah God created the earth and placed human beings on this planet to take care of it and to make it populated.
Dutch version / Nederlandstalige versie: Kijk naar 1 Nissan, 5781 of zondag 14 maart 2021
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