How do you reconcile the age of the universe according to science with the Torah account? According to the Torah we are in the year 5769 from creation. Yet science claims the world is around 16 billion years old. A bit of a discrepancy, wouldn't you say?
I don't see any discrepancy here. Why can't we say that the 16 billion year old world was created 5769 years ago? Sounds weird? Let's travel back in time to see if it can make sense.
Let's imagine that you visited Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden on the very day they were created. The world is six days old, and the first human beings are not even one day old yet. And yet, they are fully grown and intelligent beings. Obviously Adam and Eve did not start life as babies, for who would look after them? And so while their passport would indicate that they were born today, their bodies would indicate that they were fully matured adults.
And just say that before Adam and Eve had a chance to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, you decided to chop down the tree to count the rings and see how old it was. You would find that the tree gives the impression of being years old, even though it was just created a couple of days ago. And the same would happen if you would carbon date the rocks in the Garden of Eden. Though freshly minted by the hand of G-d only days ago, they would seem millions or billions of years old.
This is because the world was created complete. Out of nothing, G-d made a world ready to inhabit, and then created mature human beings to live in it. G-d created trees, not seeds; adults, not babies; mountains, not molehills.
The old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, is answered by the Torah. G-d made chickens, not eggs.
When science dates the world, it doesn't take into account the starting point - the world was old already at the beginning. So indeed the world that is 16 billion years old was created 5771 years ago. There's no contradiction.
I'm sorry I missed your son's upsherin. Mazel tov! I especially wanted to come as I know nothing about this custom. What is the idea behind leaving a child's hair uncut until the third birthday?
The education of a child starts at birth, or even before. The newborn soul absorbs everything he is surrounded with, and so during the early years of life we try to provide a child with an environment that is holy and wholesome, an atmosphere of love and purity. We don't want to expose this precious soul to negative images, impure energy or ugliness. For while he may be too young to be consciously aware, he is taking everything in. The books we read to him, the pictures we show him, the conversations we have in front of him, all leave an imprint on his consciousness.
Age three is a turning point in the development of a child's mind. He becomes more aware of himself and attentive to what is going on around him. He starts to absorb lessons not just by osmosis but by conscious learning and instruction. His education must now be more formalised and deliberate, as he starts to learn concepts and shapes, letters and numbers, right and wrong.
In the Kabbalah, the hair represents the unconscious, that which surrounds the mind. For the first three years of life it is this part of consciousness that develops and grows. We can't expect the child to learn formally, so rather than try to shape his mind internally through formal education, we teach him through immersing him in goodness and surrounding him in purity. Then at age three we give him a haircut, taking this wild energy and channelling it into a neat order. The time has come to take that which surrounded his mind and bring it down into his conscious mind.
Becoming a parent means being entrusted with a little piece of the divine. Being a good parent means surrounding your precious gift with the love and holiness that will make his soul shine, and trimming his wildness so his energy is channeled for the good.