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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parshas Beraishis

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Parshas Beraishis

In this weeks Parsha, Parshas Beraishis, we once again start the cycle of readings from the Toirah by reading the two creation epics. The first is a methodological, step by step process drawn out over seven days starting with the creation of the sky, dry land, etc., then vegetation and animals, culminating in the creation of man on the sixth day, and concluding with a day of rest on the seventh. Immediately after, we read the Disney version, where Adam is created out of clay, much like a dreidel, and only afterwards are animals created.

Rabbi Yitzchak asked: Why does the Toirah bring side by side two diverse stories that conflict so much?

According to Rabbeinu Tam, the first creation epic is from a P source text and the second is from an E source text, and they were later brought together by R after a long night of drinking and carousing with J. But he wrote this AFTER he had contracted Altzheimers, so no one in Yeshiva quite knows what he is talking about.

According to the RADAK, the first creation epic provides the macro view, while the second epic is a focused version of the events of the sixth day during the creation of man. He attributes the second instance of the creation of animals, etc. as a prime example of corporate waste and mismanagement, and calls for a federal investigation as well as the addition of two outsiders to the Board of Directors.

The ROISH, on the other hand, attributes the duplication to editorial error. At press time, the Aimishteh forgot to hit the "delete" button on his first draft. After all, who is going to believe some story about a man made of mud, his silly wife made of his rib, a talking snake, and a magic tree? Come now, my little einikel in second grade can do better than that!

According to the CHADAN (a scholar of the 19th century also known as Reb Charles Darwin), the Toirah teaches us that living creatures started as simple beings, emerged from the sea to become land creatures, and finally evolved into man. He suggests, based on a Gemarrah in Chulin, that Adam was a "damned dirty ape" who couldn't keep his hands off of the forbidden fruit because it was actually a banana. He also suggests that Chava was an Australopithecus Afarensis who walked on two feet, dragged her knuckles on the ground, and who once denied Adam biyuh for two weeks because she didn't like the color scheme in his cave drawings.

The SAGAF, on the other hand (that is, another famous scholar, Rav Sigmund Freud), notes that Chava was both attracted to and repelled by the snake, owing to her discomfort with heterosexuality and repressed memories of her brother's attraction to farm animals. He also suggests that Adam's ambivalence towards the Etz Hadass, the Tree of Knowledge, stems from his deep felt longing for his boyhood wet nurse.

Of course, the Kabbalists in the middle ages were not bothered by any of these questions. The Zoihar points to the confusion around the act of creation as a cosmic struggle between the Sefira of Yesoid, the male aspect of the Reboinoisheloilum, and the Sefira of Malchuss, the female aspect, also referred to as Shechina.

The male aspect naturally wants to describe a story, in this case creation of the universe, in a linear, fact based, structured, no-nonsense approach. The female side, however, likes to focus on creativity and feelings. What kind of fig leaf was Adam wearing? What did he dream about when he was in a "deep sleep"? Was the snake really evil, or just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Was Chava the tool of historical male dominance in a patralineal society, struggling to emerge as a "modern" woman by attending local lectures while Adam works 12-14 hour days, just so the three kids can go to some overpriced Yeshiva?

In other words, the first creation story was from Mars, and the second was from Venus.

I am reminded of a Maiseh Shehoya. One Friday morning the RITVA was walking down the street, head down, as he was trying to find pennies on the floor. As he was not looking in front on him, he accidentally bumped into the wife of his Rebbe, the RASHBA, who was on her way home from the market. The impact knocked the challas and take out deli and kugels out of her hands and on to the floor. “Rebbetzin RASHBA,” the RITVA said, “I am so sorry! How can I make it up to you?”

Rebbetzin RASHA responded, “Oh, please do not worry about it. Just help me pick up my groceries.” As the RITVA bent down to pick up the food items, Rebbetzin RASHBA beat him on the head with her thirty pound purse, and after he lay motionless on the floor, she stood over his body, stole all his money and left the scene. She arrived home with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment

When the RITVA finally stirred, he rose to his feet with a smile on his face. He thought to himself, “‘Ashrey Ha’Ish’, ‘Happy is the man’ who can peek up the skirt of his Rebbe’s wife for the cost of only a few pennies.”

The RITVA and Rebbetzin RASHBA both had a happy Shabboskoidesh, each feeling that they had glimpsed a bit of Oilum Habbah.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Apikoiress.

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