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The HOPE
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The Academy Of Jerusalem - New Genesis Exegesis.


by Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-Man

The Book of Genesis as a Redemptive Scenario and Guide for Re-Biography.

 

Introduction:

In the course of millennia that have passed since the giving of the Torah, the religions that are connected with and are nourished by it (the so-called "Monotheistic Religions") have put the Torah at the center, and no one disputed its stories in theory or deed.

Only by the 18th century, when the sciences developed and new discoveries were being made about the world, and geological and biological evidence about the development of the universe in the course of millions and billions of years seemed to contradict the story of creation found in the Book of Genesis, there fell a mortal blow upon the simple belief in the Torah, among Christians and Jews alike. Also the modern historical and textual research which sought evidence that the scriptures of the Jews and of the Christians were edited and re-edited for many years after the date accepted by tradition have added to undermining the authority of the scriptures, the Torah included.

So what, then, is the Torah?

Is it a sacred scripture, transcending human understanding and mediating between the human mind and the Infinite, as claims, for example, the Habad doctrine?

Or is it an ancient literary text, which merits to be read today, as long as its literary-psychological value is still valid?

Should we regard the Torah as the cultural-folkloristic background upon which Judaism grew?

The traditional exegesis claims otherwise: "The Torah says: I have been the tool of the Creator", is claimed in Bereshit Raba, "..the Holy One, Blessed be He was looking at the Torah and creating the world" (Bereshit Raba 1:1).

Whereas we shall present an approach which includes all the approached listed above, and integrates them. True, we shall claim, the Torah has served human needs in the past, and had a decisive influence - for good and also for bad - upon human history. But its major importance and possible influence is reserved for the future, from our generation and onwards.

This approach will also settle the apparent contradiction between the prophecies "a new Torah will issue from Me" (Isaiah 51:4), as well as "for out of Zion will Torah issue forth" (Isaiah 2:3, Micha 4:2), where the emphasis is on the future mode: the Torah has not yet issued forth from Zion, but it will, and between the principles of faith of Maimonides, which Judaism has been receiving as its principles, including "that all the Torah which we now have is what was given to Moses our teacher, peace be upon him" and "that this Torah will not be superseded and there will be no other Torah from the blessed Creator".

Our claim is that the same Torah which is with us for many generations will be discovered in our times as a new Torah which our forefathers have never imagined, and that this new understanding will be to a new creation, for which Man will be a full partner.

 

Also among traditional interpreters we can find clues and references to radical innovations that will be discovered in the future, which for them was very distant, whereas for us it may turn into the present time.

In the Likutei Amarim of the Magid of Mezerich it is written about "for new Torah will issue from Me", that the Torah is (like) a whole stature (of a man) - skin and flesh, ligaments (gidim) and bones. The skin is called the shell of the Torah, and flesh in the manner (as was said) that whoever tires himself (in studying Torah) tastes the taste of beef, and ligaments ( gidim) in the manner (as written) "vayaged lahem" (and he told them), that he told them judgements that are hard as ligaments. And bones (atsamot) means that the essence (atsmiyut) of the Torah has not yet been discovered. For the whole of the Torah is gleaned from saintly people, from Adam and the Fathers and Moses, that (the Lord) has bestowed his presence (Shekhinah) upon their actions. And this is the whole Torah. But the lucidity of the essence (of the Torah) has not yet been discovered until the Messiah comes and the people will understand the clarity of its essence. And this is "a New Torah from Me", namely my essence. And this is what Ezekiel prophesied, that he saw the future reconstruction and said "will these bones (atsamot) live?", namely the essence (atsmiyut ) of the Torah....." (according to "Magid devarav le-Ya'acov " item 6).

Rashi, who is considered the greatest of the Torah interpreters, opens his exegesis of the Torah, and the Book of Genesis in particular, with a question that perhaps throws doubt about the relevance of the story of the Creation. "Said Rabbi Yitzhak: it was necessary only to start the Torah with "This month is for you.... " (_________) which is the first commandment that Israel were commanded. So why did it start with Bereshit (in the beginning)?... that if the nations of the world will come to Israel and tell "you are robbers that you have occupied the lands of seven peoples", Israel will say "the whole earth is the Lord's, He created it.....".

This is actually a very surprising assertion, on the background of medieval France, when Rashi lived, when might was right to conquer lands. And here this exegesis assumes an international regime which tries to assess "the legitimate rights" of each nation to their land. For what can this apply if not for our times, and to the bitter conflict between the Jews who return to their ancient land and "the native people" (an ha'Aretz ). So does Rashi hints at the contemporary settles of Gush Emunim and gives them the moral support to disregard the claims for rights to the Palestinians?

But if so, immediately another question rises: if the Book of Genesis is becoming relevant only in our generation, was it at all necessary to educate one hundred generations of Jews upon it before its time?

Let us continue and follow the exegesis of Rashi to the Book of Genesis.

After the first two chapters in the book, which incidentally contain two alternative creation stories, which we shall return to discuss, appears the story of the Garden of Eden. God prohibits Adam and Eve ( Havah) to eat from one of the trees. The serpent (Nahash) has an explanation for this prohibition, and he relates to Eve: "for God knows that on the day you will it of it and your eyes will be opened and you shall be as God, knowers of good and evil" (Gen. 3:5). And Rashi explains "for God knows... from this tree he ate and created the world", and Rashi explains "you shall be as God - producers of worlds". We can of course claim, metaphorically, that each person, at each generation, produces a small world of his own, and that the sum of all human production is the making of an artificial world. But it is only in our generation that there was produced technology that allows the production of entirely new worlds, in the deserts and polar regions and under the sea, and on our horizon appear the possibility of producing habitable worlds in outer space and in "terra formed" planets. Moreover, technologically and culturally this generation has produced the great creation (e.g. the Internet) that turns all the people of the earth to the citizens of a global city.

Again we see here, in Rashi's exegesis, a hint of evidence for future times, not just for the times of the establishment of the Israelite nation, or of Talmudic Judaism, or the establishment of the Catholic church, which views itself as "the true Israel".

Assuming that the ultimate aim of the exegesis of the Torah is not just for the Jews but to all our contemporaries who choose to relate to the Torah, let us examine the meaning of the term "Zion" (and thus Zionism), in the Torah exegesis.

In the introduction to the Book of Zohar (Splendor, the earliest book of Kabbalah), there is an exegesis on the verse "to plant heaven and found earth and to tell Zion you are my people" (Isaiah 51:16), in which the word Tsion (Zion) is related to Metsuyan (excellent) whereas the word Ami (my people) is turned into Imi (with me), so that the Zohar interpret: "to tell those..... who are excellent, who create excellent innovations in the Torah, you are with me. Just as I have created heaven and earth through my words, as is said "with the word of the Lord heaven was made" (____.__), so are you, that with your words of wisdom you have produced new heaven and earth". This can then be understood that the future of Zionism is in the partnership of excellent people to create new heaven and new earth.

Let us start , then, with this. We shall base ourselves on the words of the Torah, but shall aspire to produce "new heaven and new earth", excellent innovations and calculations which will allow us (among other things to be discovered in our following treatment) to settle apparent contradictions in the chronology of the creation, contradictions which have distanced many good people from the Torah in face of scientific evidences. We may thus perhaps enable well educated contemporaries to return and regard the Torah as a guide and life-teaching, and not just as an interesting vestige of folklore.

Chapters 42 and 43 in Isaiah form Haftarah (portion from the prophets read after the Parashah - weekly portion of the Torah read in the synagogues on Sabbath for the Parashah of Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8), and not without reason. These two chapters deal with creation, chapter 42 with the creation of heaven and earth and chapter 43 with the formation of Jacob and Israel.

Verse 7 in chapter 43 has drawn the attention of the Kabbalists. "All that is called by My name and for My honor, I have created it, formed it even made it". The Kabbalah deduce from this that creation was accomplished through different levels and different processes: Creation-Briaha, Formation-Yetsirah and Making-Assiyah. Moreover, the Kabbalah relates different worlds in which these processes take place: the World of Briah, the World of Yetsirah and the world of Assiyah, with each one separate from the Creator, who surrounds them all and vitalizes them. These "worlds" pertain to the different levels of Being in the human psyche called "Neshamah", "Ruah" and "Nefesh " which will be clarified in the following.

If we thus return to the description of the Creation in Bereshit Raba (see above) according to which the Creator looked at the Torah as a chart or blueprint of a plan and created the world, it is certainly possible to conceive of a situation in which the plans were prepared for millions of years, were kept in "drawers" and were executed in a different time span, be it longer or shorter.

For even the production of contemporary humans demands as if "six days of creation", but is really the fruit of plans of millions of years. A human being who wants to produce something, needs an adequate cognitive scheme. But the cognitive scheme which enables the design is a consequence of the development of the cognitive apparatus - namely the human brain of the designer - through a chemical and biological processes of millions of years, and of cultural developments of thousands of years, which are the basis for the current design which one is about to draw.

But it is quite possible that all the discussion above is not valid or necessary if we regard also time itself as a created concept that was produced by a process. For if Time was created at a certain stage, we cannot ask about the time that passed before Time was created. At most, we could try to check when was time created.

The researcher gave us a clue to the process, in that they have divided the life of humankind to history and to pre-history. "History" means "story" (likewise "histoire" in French, "Geschichte" in German and so on), namely - the time since humans learned to tell their story, since they learned to attribute meaning to human existence. This means that "history" is a cultural invention, which requires the existence of several preconditions, the primary of which is memory. Not the passing memory of a person, but the collective cultural memory, a memory which requires means of recording. The hunters-gatherers did not yet need evidences, and hardly left such behind them. Humankind still needed to discover wheat, develop agriculture, to have permanent settlements, to build cities and to acquire writing.

And here we find that the transition to agriculture - the beginning of the cultivation of wheat - has started in our region about six thousand years ago. (Not coincidentally do Jewish traditions claim that "the fruit of the Tree of Life" was wheat, as we shall discuss in the next chapter). Also the oldest script known to science is from the fourth millennium BCE, namely about six thousand years old.

 

Let us return then to our Biblical sources according to which the Creation happened about 5,757 years ago, and we can see that this date corresponds with the creation of the human world - namely the creation of Time. According to this view, Time was indeed formulated about six thousand years ago, which is the time when there sprouted the germs of the question of the meaning of human life on earth. And the trees, which grew from these germs are growing till our own generation, and the need for an answer is becoming ever more pressing.

The Biblical story, more that it is a historical narrative, is the story of this reverberating question, and of its possible answer. This is the first question, which God presents to Adam, when calling him "Where are you?".

 

Let us thus clarify for ourselves where are we in the works of the Creation.

According to the traditional concept, according to which (Psalm 90:2) "a thousand years are onto Thee like one day that passes.." or as it was formulated in the New Testament (2 Peter 3:8) "one day is like a thousand years in the eyes of God, and a thousand years like one day" - we are still within the process of the Six Days of Genesis.

We can find further traditional support for this parallel - between each Day of Creation and a thousand years - in the exegesis of rabbi Moshe the Darshan of Narbonne, whom Rashi often quotes. In his Midrash called Bereshit Rabati he attributes the building of the two temples - which were built and destroyed during the fourth millennium of the Jewish calendar - to the fourth day of Creation, in which the luminaries were created. In the Kabbalah (which appeared in Israel at the beginning of the sixth millennium) this historical account according to which we are now in the sixth millennium is widely accepted.

Therefore, living as we do in the sixth millennium of the Jewish calendar, we are now at the sixth day of Creation - the "Day" of "the Creation of Adam".

And since we are now at the stage of the Creation of Adam, we must consider the case of the Trees of Knowledge and of Life, and the punishment which they may entail, not as a past event, but as a contemporary and real threat. In the following we shall discuss this very momentous possibility.

But we shall discuss not just this possibility, but also to what is implied by the Talmudic saying "the world exists for six thousand years and for one destroyed..." (trc. Rosh haShanah page 38), namely to the traditions which envision the Times of the Messiah and the End of Days to the end of the six thousand years. Or alternatively, to the tradition which envisions the end of the six thousand years as the transition from Olam haZeh (this World) to Olan haBa (the World to Come) - which is a world of different, and finer, human and spiritual attributes.

 

An ancient Kabbalah book, Sefer haTemunah elaborates on the discussion of the alternative worlds. Continuing from the clue of the midrash that God "creates worlds and destroys them" (Bereshit Raba 3:9), or according to another version "first it came in (the Creator's) thought to create the world in the quality of Judgment (Midat haDin), and (then) He saw that the world cannot endure and He preceded with the quality of Mercy (Midat haRa hamim) and joined it with the quality of Judgment (Bereshit Raba 12:15), the Sefer haTemunah develops a system of "Sabbaticals" (Shemitot): cycles of worlds which exist for seven thousand years and then are replaced by other worlds. <add citation>.

The Kabbalah accepted - in its doctrine of the Sephirot - this division to seven thousand years cycles as a basic construct, and drew a parallel between "the six Sephirot of construction" (Hesed, Gevurah, Tif'eret, Netsah, Hod and Yesod) to the six days of creation, and the seventh millenium, which parallels the Sephirah of Malkhut and the Shabbat, to "the Sabbath of the worlds". But there are many discussions in Kabbalah texts concerning the number of Shemitot that preceded the creation of our world. The more common version (which is more appropriate from a dramatistic perspective) is that we are on the threshold of the seventh world, which is made like its predecessors from cycles of seven thousand years, thus this version estimates the age of the world by forty-two thousand years.

But the Kabbalah holds still greater surprises for this times: Rabbi Yitzhak of Acre, a contemporary of Moses de Leon at the 13th century, has developed calculations which fix the age of the universe in a way that is consistent with the latest astronomical estimates.

In his book Otzar ha Hayim * which was discovered only recently, Rabbi Yitzhak builds a Kabbalistic calculation according to the sentence we brought before "... for a thousand years are in Thine eyes like a day....". Thus 42,000 years which were already agreed by his predecessors in the Kabbalah (six cycles of seven thousand years) X 1000 (since we are considering the years of the Creator) X 365 days in each such divine year = 15,330,000,000 of our years, that is, a bit over 15 billion, which accords with current scientific calculations regarding the time of "the Big Bang" (for example, Steven Hawkins, in his book "A Short History of Time" dates the age of the universe between ten and twenty billion years).

So here is, thus, "a scientific fig leaf" for those who shy away from the Torah for being obsolete, or irrelevant, by comparison with modern scientific theories.

However we, in the course of the chapters of this treatise, shall prefer to hold on to the accepted Jewish account, which is used for the Jewish calendar, and which asserts that almost some six thousand years ago there happened something which is worth commemorating, and which is expected to last for six thousand years, namely: which we are approaching the acme - or alternatively the end - of. As the Talmudic source (________) "for six thousand years the world exist.... two thousand years of Tohu (chaos, or bafflement), two thousand years Torah, and two thousand years the Days of the Messiah". We are thus at the close of the "Days of the Messiah".

 

So far we have tried to contend with the challenge posed by the scientific-physical research for the authority of the Torah. Can we also contend with the challenge posed by the historic-phylological scientific research concerning the authorship of the Torah? Was the whole Torah authored by Moses, as the tradition asserts? Or was it edited in a manner that allows to see it as written by different sect of priest-scribes until the destruction of the First Temple, and its final editing perhaps even in the times of Ezra the scribe (as asserted by Bible criticism, including also by the Israeli scholars)?

Let us clarify first how much agreement there may be between the apparently-contradictory assertions. The earlier date is that the whole Torah was written by Moses about 3,500 years ago, whereas the later date is that the Torah was edited in its final form about 2,500 years ago. From our contemporary perspective, the difference is not all that large. In either way it is claimed that the writing and/or editing of the Torah was done right in the middle period - between "the Creation of the World" as we have explained above, and the realization of the purpose of the Torah - the actualization of the six-thousand years "World Plan" of which the Torah is its code. The Torah regards the world, therefore, with two faces, backwards to the far past, and forward to an equally distant future. The scribes of the Torah knew the people among whom they dwelled and recognized that the historic opportunities were still far from enabling the actualization of the ideals which they aspired for. (Whereas they were written by Moses or by later temple scribes, the chastisement to the people and the frustration from an immediate and speedy fulfillment of the expectations of the Torah is evident from almost every chapter, and is particularly strong at the Ha'azinu portion (at the end of Deuteronomy).

The writing - or editing - of the Torah among the scribes of the temple must have been the very pinnacle of the holy work of Israel. the high status of the scribes is recognized and clearly mentioned in the Torah and the Talmud. The scribes who were copying the Torah were cautioned <citation......> that whoever adds or subtracts a single letter is "destroying the whole world", which means that the realization of the very purpose of the world is dependent on the exactness of the writing, and that negligence will bring about the dreaded destruction of the world, for because of it the aim of the Torah may not be actualize. Not only the high priest who entered the innermost place of the temple needed purification and ritual immersion, but even the scribes who copy ordinary Torah scrolls and Mezuzot, so most probably all the more so the priest-scribes who resided deep within the temple sanctuary, far from the people and close to the holy of hollies and the divine inspiration. The Torah descriptions of the giving of the Torah injunctions to Moses at the Mishkan must have been most meaningful for the priest-scribes who were concealed within the temple cells**. The prophetic holy spirit which inspired the prophets and the scribes of the first temple, and which is so well described in the books of the prophets, must have been felt especially in and around the temple.

But, as noted, even then, at the golden age of Israel from the times of Moses to the destruction of the first temple, still the People of Israel were not regarded by the Torah and its writer(s) as virtuous and good as they were, but as some kind of raw material (in fact a kind of Erev Rav - "mixed multitudes" - that need processing and refinement - according to the patterns set in the Torah, through protracted processes which proceed - as noted - till our own times.

The stories of the Book of Genesis - about the cycles of relationship between God and men and about the patriarchs - were originally composed and brought to our awareness with the intention and purpose to serve the rectification of the people and the reconstruction of all humankind. It is this original intention of the Torah which is becoming evident nowadays, which are, as noted, the Sixth Day - the age of the construction of Adam.

And it is through this that we arrive at the possibility of settling the apparent contradiction between the traditional approach - that the whole Torah which is in our hands today was written by Moses - and the approach of Bible criticism according to which the Torah was edited - or even written - in the hands of the first-temple scribes. The settlement of this conflict seems important for preventing contempt of the Torah.

Even the sages agree that "the Torah was given scroll by scroll" <citation....>, which implies that the scribes had to combine and add them together. If we see these original Megilot (scrolls) as Megalot (revealing) the Word of the Lord, then the editing work of the temple scribes was a kind of Kibbutz Giluyim (gathering of revelations, a word-play on Kibbutz Galuyot - "the gathering of the exiles") of the words of the Lord to the people of Israel as they had been preserved in the different tabernacles and temples - in the desert, at Shiloh and Nov, in Jerusalem, in Shomron and at Dan. Our approach seeks to integrate between the apparently-contradictory approaches which are current in Israel nowadays - just in the manner that those scrolls did. It is precisely the perspective of the scribes of the first temple which could have made the writing of the Torah to a prophetic holy work which is particularly valid for our times.

If writing about the creation f Adam and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, for example, could intend to herald the approaching Babylonian exile and the gathering of the exiled due after it, then in writing about Noah who builds an ark to save in it the remnant of humankind - they could allegorize their own work, the writing of the Torah which will be taken to Babylon to remind the people to remember and to return in due course, perhaps together with the ten formerly-exiled tribes, to the Land of Israel and to the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. Thus also the worst-case possibility for this remnant is expressed exactly through Babel - the rival and destroyer of Jerusalem.

From our viewpoint, therefore, it may be that the version of the Bible criticism will give us a preferred perspective for regarding the Torah as particularly geared for our times. The scribes of the temple lived in a period of preparation for the exile and for the regathering of the exiles of the First Temple (whereas a final redaction in the times of Ezra would mean precisely guidance for the reconstruction). It is possible that they themselves could not consciously envision the messages for times well beyond this first Shivat Tsion (Return to Zion), like the renewal of modern Zionism. But through their entry into the inwardness of the Torah and by being charged with prophetic inspiration (no less than the great prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah), they could penetrate the archetypical and eternal primal patterns of Exile and Redemption, and to aim in their editing work even for the times of the second Shivat Tsion and of the reconstruction of all of humankind in our times.

According to the Jewish tradition, Adam was created on the first of Tishre, the first of the Jewish year. Our new year day is not a sign for the beginning of of the Creation, but we see the beginning in the Sixth Day - the day of the Creation of Adam. The Adam of our image and likeness. Not a Cro-magnion, not a Neanderthal, but a human being who is concerned with the same problems that beset us to this day.

Ha'Olam haZeh, "This World", is thus a human world, with human dilemmas, and not the set of geological structures of billions and millions of years. Nevertheless, we think that there is a certain similarity between the order of cosmic to the order of cultural processes. One is the reflection of the other, even if on a much smaller scale. Like the others in the modern world, we too draw upon examples from the newer sciences to illustrate this.

The new approach to the geometry of nature which is connected with the name of Benoit Mandelbrot, called "fractal Geometry" ** deals with "self similarity" presents through amazing computer graphics a law which applies to our case: an overall figure (which in the case of the special mathematical set called "The Mandelbrot Set" [presented in appendix ______] looks much like a sitting Buddha figure), is repeated innumerable times in reduced copies, all connected to the large figure by invisible filaments, and the shape of the small figures is quite similar to that of the large figure. Each figure is unique and not identical with another, but the changes call for acute discrimination.

Let us return to the Midrash we dealt with above, according to which "God was looking at the Torah and creating the world, and try to see how the general divine patterns reappear - just as with the fractals - even in the most minute details.

In a fairly simple way we can find this pattern in the subject of "the Sabbatical Cycles" which we have already touched. According to the conception of the Jewish tradition, cycles of seven "days of creation" appear alike in the formation of the universe and the stars, in the formation of human history as well as in the sabbatical and jubilee - which are the laws of the proper maintenance of the earth, the source of sustenance - and the structure of the week, of the six workdays and the Sabbath - which are the proper maintenance laws of humans.

 

Also when we examine the literary structure of the Book of Genesis, we can discern a definite repetitive pattern, where in the course of detailing there is also apparent a trend of development.

The very Story of Creation is told in three versions which, on the face of it, are entirely different from each other. Many Bible critics see in this an evidence to the addition of different sources, but from our point of view this has a literary aim, and even necessity.

The first version is that of the story of Creation in six days, which can be divided to three and three. Three "days" for the appearance of the Earth, or the Adamah, and three for the appearance of the living, which climaxes with humankind, or Adam.

The second version is the story of the Garden of Eden, according to which the whole creation occurred in one day ("in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens"), the creation of Adam occurred before parts of the creation of the earth ("And no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field has yet grown", and even the name of the Creator has changed. The protagonists of the story are three: Adam, Eve and the Serpent, and there later join their two contending sons, and then the children of Cain.

The third story is the story of the third son - Seth - the grandfather of Enosh, namely, the progenitor of the Enoshut - humankind. Again the story opens with a one-day creation - "This is the book of the generations of Adam (Man). In the day that God created mankind". Adam is a marginal figure in this story, Eve and the other characters of the last story - are not mentioned, or even do not exist.

For each of these three stories there is also a characteristic ending.

The ending of the first story is idyllic - "Thus the heavens and earth were finished, and all their host..... and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done".

The second story - which contains three sub-narratives - also has three endings, all of which tragical. Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden of Eden, Ebel-Hevel is killed Cain is sentenced to wanderings, but in his end there is also hope: he builds the first city.

The third story ends with the birth of Noah - the one who will survive while all his generation will be exterminated in the Flood.

We shall dedicate extensive discussion of these three stories in the next chapter.

But an additional viewing, an overview, will show us that the whole book of Genesis is divided to three stories too, where the end of one story brings to the beginning of the other, which will be an attempt to improvement and development.

The first story, the story of the children of Adam, reaches its tragical ending in the flood. This is the first millennial Day of Creation, the first millennium of the two thousand years of Tohu. The second story, the story of the children of Noah, reaches its end - which is perhaps tragic, but perhaps shows a breakthrough - with the generation of the Tower of Babel. This is the second millennial Day of Creation, the second thousand years of Tohu from which there start the two thousand years of Torah . The beginning of the two thousand years of Torah is the third story of Creation - the story of Abraham and his children. Also this story is divided - in the manner of fractal geometry - to three sub-narratives - the stories of the three patriarchs. And in spite of the varying characters, there is one pattern that repeats in them again and again. There are instances when the characters fail, in others they rectify, but clearly there is no "Original Sin" that condemns them for ever. Human conduct is improving, and understanding progresses, to our days.

For indeed, even the story of our generation is inseparable from the story of the Creation. We are now within the third story of the creation, after the two thousand years of Tohu and two thousand years of Torah (the second half of which was the days of the two temples and the editing of the Torah), we are now within the two thousand years of the Messiah. The Fifth Day was the time of the formation of the Talmud and the Midrashim, and now - on the Sixth Day - "Lets make Adam".

In the course of the next chapter I shall try to assert, and demonstrate, that the meaning of these interweaving and repetitive patterns is quite different not just from what is asserted by Biblical criticism, but also from what was asserted by the traditional exegesis. The tradition sees in the stories of the Bible a continuing process of Berur, of ever narrower selection: from all of humankind, the nation of Israel was "chosen", and from Israel - the Jews, who are the only people to know and keep the Torah. This approach was appropriate to a persecuted and humiliated people in exile. But the Torah was given to Israel on the threshold of entering the Land, and was later purveyed from the Temple!

Our claim is that nowadays - when we are again in the stage of transition between exile and settlement in our land - the Torah may well guide us in ways that our forefathers have never conceived of.

Before we shall discuss the details, let us bring another support for our approach, of studying the Torah as if it was given really for the future, as an instrument that would become relevant specifically for our generation.

For we are, at last, at home with the Hebrew language. Hebrew is our language and each Hebrew speaker is aware of the clear division to tenses and times. Were the writers of the Torah not aware of the same?

The Torah opens, as might be expected, in past tense. "Bereshit Bara Elohim..." (Initially created God....) but immediately it adopts a present continuous tense "...veRu'ah Elohim merahefet al pnei haMayim" (and the spirit of God is hovering over the face of the Deep..).

And from there onwards, in all the chapters of the Humash Pentateuch - the writing is future tense, "va'yomer Elohim...." (and God would say....). It is true that no translation paid attention to this, and many generations of linguists regarded that form as "inversion" (vav haHipukh), but this is just a name that does not explain any thing. It is much more accurate to regard this letter vav (translated as "and" in English) as " vav haHibur" (the joining) of times - joining between events in This World with an eternal (or archetypal) world of revelation which is beyond time, and in which past, present and future are one.

It is therefore valid to read the entire Torah as written in a prophetic tense which is a future tense in relation to the Torah which was recognized in the past and becoming a present in our times.

Let us go then to examine the story of Genesis in light of this possibility.

 

References:

** Israel Knohl, "The Temple of Silence".

* "Otsar haH ayim" by R. Yitzhak of Akko. Manuscript No. 775 Ginzburg Library within the Lenin Library in Moscow. It is surveyed in the following book which deals with Biblical chronology:

# Kaplan, Arie (1993): Immortality, Resurrection and the Age of the Universe. Ktav Publishing, New Jersey.

## Mandelbrot, Benoit (1977, 1983): The Fractal Geometry of Nature. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York.


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