December 31, 2015

Just a note on yesterday’s reading, as today I slept in after working until 2:30, then taking care of 21 cats.

So, if I subscribe to the concept that God wrote the Pentateuch, rather than Moses writing down what God told him to write, then there has to be a reason for both of the first chapters of Genesis.  According to a Kabbalah class I took from a Chabad rabbi, God wrote the Torah, and then gave the written tablets to Moses.  The 40 days were spent with Moses learning what the vowels were, because written Hebrew has no vowels.

The whole study of the language is a completely different and fascinating topic, bringing up such questions as, did the Jews have a written language prior to the Torah?  We know that there is a hugely rich oral tradition passed down, generation to generation – which is how the Kabbalah, or oral tradition of the Torah, was passed down.  The vowels didn’t start getting written down until between 200 BCE and 200 ACE, because the rabbis were afraid that the knowledge would be lost.  Hence the general belief that Yeshua was one of the great rabbis of the time (he didn’t live long enough for them to consider him the Messiah).  But this is a complete digression into another topic that fascinates me.  Translations!

In any case, I have to wonder what exactly the purpose of the two different chapters is.  Again, going back to a Kabbalah class – this time taught by a reform rabbi – the reasoning is because of the initial creation of male and woman – or hesed (masculine) and gevurra (feminine).  Those are two different things – one implying gender, one having more to do with the nature of gender division.  According to the story, God created one being, half with hesed, half with gevurra, and split it down the middle to create two halves of one whole being.  The problem was that with only masculine qualities the male sat quite still, did nothing, didn’t move; and the female, with only feminine qualities was expanding, ever reaching energy that grew out of control.  Not wanting to destroy His creation, God banished the female (named Lilith) and added gevurra again to the male, this time splitting the physical form into two, carving out what has become the shapes males and females currently inhabit, giving a bit of hesed to the gevurra and a bit of gevurra to the hesed (think yin/yang symbol, or, if you’re like me – Reese’s cups <g>).  To state that “woman” was carved from Adam’s rib is … sort of the picture you might get at that point.  Both qualities are required in order for mankind, as a whole, to flourish, and for man (the generic, not the gender), as an individual, to thrive.

Now, of course, parts of the Oral Tradition of the Torah (Kabbalah) never made it into the written Torah, so this story has taken on the quality of myth over time.  Other than thousands of years of Jewish oral tradition, we don’t have anything to confirm or deny the validity.  So once again, it comes down to faith.  What do we believe?

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Next project, slightly early

I’ve never been known for my patience. <g>  So, this next 6 months, the school told me to go ahead and re-read the Old Testament (OT).  Sure, no problem, except that it’s been a while since I’ve read it cover to cover, so I’m bound to notice things now that I didn’t before.

Add to this, my mother and I are doing a Bible study (sort of) on the book Bible Women:  All Their Words and Why They Matter.  It’s quite interesting, in that it focuses on the words spoken only by women in the Bible.  What got to me, of course, was that their statistics are a bit skewed, as they compare the words spoken by women (approx. 14,0000) to the totality of the words in the Bible (approx. 1.2 million), which works out to about 1.2%.  Interesting statistic, I suppose, but incomplete.  How many words were spoken by men?  By God?  By Christ?  Interestingly, I cannot find this information anywhere.  So, this has become the adjunct project to my reading assignment.  I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do with it when finished, but if I were going for a Master of Theological Studies, rather than Ministry, I could probably make it a master’s thesis. <g>

Anyway, so other than one sentence in Chapter 2 of Genesis spoken by the first man, all the other words in the first two chapters of Genesis are spoken by God.  However, the first two chapters give two different accountings of creation, which contradict one another.  In the first, God created the animals on the 5th day, and mankind (notice the plurality) on the 6th, giving dominion over the Earth to mankind.  In the second, God creates one man first, then creates the animals, birds, etc. (named by man) to be companions, and then finally creates the helpmate of the man from his rib, subsequently named “woman” by the man.  Okay, as far as that goes, but then Verse 24 states that man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife.  Where’d the parents come from?  (I know!  Chapter 1!)

So, just initial thoughts slightly early on next year’s project.