As one might expect, Jewish leaders have a wide variety of opinions on the subject:

“All phenomena are traceable back to the Primary Cause in one of two ways: either directly from God’s will, or through intermediaries. An example of the first way is the order and assembly that is evident in living creatures, plant life, and celestial spheres. No intellectual person can attribute this to happenstance. It is rather attributable [directly] to the design of the wise Maker.”

Rabbi Judah Halevi, 1140 CE

“The theory of evolution (hitpattehut) is increasingly conquering the world at this time, and, more so than all other philosophical theories, conforms to the kabbalistic secrets of the world.”

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook

“The question is this: is man an ape or an angel? I am on the side of the angels. I repudiate with indignation and abhorrence these new-fangled theories.”

Benjamin Disraeli, speech, November 25, 1864

 “ . . . God Who, in His boundless creative wisdom and eternal omnipotence, needed to bring into existence no more than one single, amorphous nucleus, and one single law of ‘adaptation and heredity,’ in order to bring forth, out of what seemed to be chaos but was in fact a very definite order, the infinite variety of species we know today.”

19th century Orthodox Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

“It is unfortunate, though, that the students in most of our nation’s public schools, are indoctrinated in the religion of Randomness and Meaninglessness. They, and American society as a whole, would benefit considerably were they exposed to the possibility of design, in our universe and in our lives.”

Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of Public Affairs, Agudath Israel of America

“There is no contradiction between good science and Torah hashkafah [world view] . . . lurking behind the would-be debate between Torah and evolution is either a shallow understanding of Torah or an unsophisticated appreciation of science—or both.”

Dr. Joel Wolowelsky, Yeshiva of Flatbush

“In a moral point of view the Darwinian hypothesis on the descent of man is the most pernicious.”

Isaac Mayer Wise, pioneer Reform rabbi


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