Parasha Bereshit – The Setting Up of Chava
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on October 2, 2007
Parasha: Genesis 1:1 – 6:8 Haftarah:Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10 – Sefardim reads: Isaiah 42:5 – 42:21
Focal Point Bereshit 2:15-17; 3:1-3
And the L-RD G-d took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the L-RD G-d commanded the man, saying: ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ […]Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman: ‘Yea, hath God said: Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’ And the woman said unto the serpent: ‘Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said: Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’
I have always found the traditional (Xian) interpretation of this story fishy to say the least. It seems that Chava was set up here. First of all – she wasn’t present when the command not to eat of the Tree was given – in fact she didn’t even exist yet! Secondly G-d didn’t command her – He commanded Adam, who creates the first “gereizah” and adds “…neither shall you touch it…” when he passes the command on.
Chava really didn’t stand a chance. She probably has already tried touching before the snake creeps up and talks to her, and nothing happened, which is as it should be, since G-d never said “…neither shall you touch it…”, so how can she trust that the “eat and die” part is true – her only source of this is Adam – if the “no touching” just proved to be a lie? It turns out that it isn’t bollocks – but who is responsible and in what way?
Chava has traditionally been made to bear the guilt alone – both Jewish and Xian Traditions have in some way or other based a misogynist world view in this singular idea, that it was all Chava’s fault.
Tradition has made Adam an innocent victim of Chava’s “female viles”, and that according to the Story is simply not an accurate image. It turns out he played a very crucial role in this domestic drama. He sets himself up as the authority of the Law, and causes his wife to have reason to distrust what G-d has actually said, adding to G-d’s command in a manner that makes clarity of Torah difficult to reach.
Chava on the other hand does try the limits of what she perceives to be the Law – that it wasn’t the Law doesn’t change the fact that she tested it. She feeds her own doubt by not turning to G-d and ask for a clarification when part of what she thinks is the Law turns out to be untrue, instead she assumes that all she has heard is untrue, and throws out the baby with the bathwater.
Both are equally culpable according to the recorded events, and in the eyes of G-d they certainly are.
What’s in this Story for us?
Don’t mess up Torah – if it’s clear and understandable – don’t try and make it “clearer”, chances are you’ll just make a mess that causes someone else to stumble. Don’t make additions to Torah, It works fine as It is.
Check the facts for yourself, don’t trust Authorities blindly, just because you love them or they seem sensible. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater – yes, some things you hear may be nothing but bullocks, but that doesn’t mean everything similar is bullocks too.
This article, including artworks and photos in this Blog is Copyright © Henric C. Jensen aka Shadow Bear/Silly Old Bear and are NOT public domain – unless otherwise specified.