Monday, November 21, 2022

Chayei Sarah=The Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron and the rights of acquisition by purchase, c 1800 BCE and c 1900 CE


Link to discussion Nov 19

Chayei Sarah=The Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron and the rights of acquisition by purchase, c 1800 BCE and c 1900 CE


An interesting aside on the oldest Canaanite (pre-cursor to Hebrew) inscription in the oldest Canaanite( again, pre-cursor to Hebrew) alphabet- on, of all things, a comb to brush out lice,  reported just recently.  Estimated about the time of the Patriarchs.


A background on the Cave of Machpelah, Cave of the Patriarchs/Matriarchs.


Why did Abraham pay cold cash?



While preparing for a meeting with West Hollywood Planning Commission I noted this introduction:

Land Acknowledgment: "The West Hollywood Planning Commission acknowledges that the land on which we gather and that is currently known as the City of West Hollywood is the occupied, unceded, seized territory of the Gabrieleño Tongva and Gabrieleño Kizh peoples."

This has become increasingly popular in North American settings. It also smacks of false virtue, and there are voices from indigenous Americans saying so:

Land acknowledgments are a classic culture-war issue, Nick Estes, an American-studies professor at the University of New Mexico, told me via email. They can be “a pantomime of caring or outrage mostly by professional class elites and educational institutions.” Meanwhile, he asked, what of “the real issues facing Indigenous peoples—housing, employment, child removal, generational poverty, lack of adequate healthcare, police violence, racism, and erasure; in other words, real colonialism”?

That allows the political and corporate entities to then go about their business, which is making business, while feeling good about it.


 If anyone should know about erasure of history, it is we, Jews, who were erased from the land of Israel and our name for the land taken away from us.

How does this tie into Abraham and the burial of Sarah.?

Here is the story in short: Gen 23

Then Abraham rose from beside his dead, and spoke to the Hittites, saying,

[Who are the Hittites? One of the seven peoples under the rubric of “ Canaan”: Canaanites the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Jebusites and the Perizzites.

Hittites- presumably southern most elements of the ancient Hittite Empire, based in Anatalia ( Turkey) that was at its peak. An Indo-European language, rather than Semitic. Other Indo-Europeans- the Philistines, from which Palestine-the Greek islands). Indicates that there was not one people “Cannanites” but multiple groups of people]


“I am a resident alien among you; sell me a burial site among you, that I may remove my dead for burial.”

And the Hittites replied to Abraham, saying to him,

“Hear us, my lord: you are the elect of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places; none of us will withhold his burial place from you for burying your dead.”

[It would seem to be a free gift]

Thereupon Abraham bowed low to the landowning citizens[Am HaAretz]. the Hittites,

and he said to them, “If it is your wish that I remove my dead for burial, you must agree to intercede for me with Ephron son of Zohar.

Let him sell me the cave of Machpelah that he owns, which is at the edge of his land. Let him sell it to me, at the full price, for a burial site in your midst.”

Ephron was present among the Hittites; so Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, the assembly in his town’s gate saying,

“No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and I give you the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.” [ Give- does he really mean it? Or is it a vacant gesture, like the token acknowledgement I mentioned above].

Then Abraham bowed low before the landowning citizens,

and spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the landowning citizens, saying, “If only you would hear me out! Let me pay the price of the land; accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” [He recognizes that “ free” is a mere formality= there is no free lunch.

And Ephron replied to Abraham, saying to him,

“My lord, do hear me! A piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver—what is that between you and me? Go and bury your dead.” [Apparantly well over the asking price]

Abraham accepted Ephron’s terms. Abraham paid out to Ephron the money that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites—four hundred shekels of silver at the going merchants’ rate.

So Ephron’s land in Machpelah, near Mamre—the field with its cave and all the trees anywhere within the confines of that field—passed

to Abraham as his possession, in the presence of the Hittites, of the assembly in his town’s gate.


Why negotiate?

It’s his. Why did he not insist on it as his right?

 Afterall. God had only a few years before promised him the land:

Gen 15

On that day יהוה made a covenant with Abram: “To your offspring I assign this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates— the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”) more than 7 nations)

Gen 17

I assign the land you sojourn in to you and your offspring to come, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting holding. I will be their God.”

Why not seize the land?

It’s not yet his by right-therefore, he gets rights only by buying it, or by developing it ( rights to the well at Beer Sheva from the Philistines, and a binding treaty.)

Back to gen 15

And [God] said to Abram, “Know well that your offspring shall be strangers in a land not theirs, and they shall be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years;

but I will execute judgment on the nation they shall serve, and in the end they shall go free with great wealth.

As for you,
You shall go to your ancestors in peace;
You shall be buried at a ripe old age.

And they shall return here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”[Amorite- a collective term for western, north west semitic peoples.]

What is their great sin? We are not told.

What is the underlying premise:

Go back to Flood story- all nations one, theypton break up, and can no longer understand each other- in the study of pre-history and antiquity, use the term “ Ursprache”.For example- the Indo-European languages- from English to Persian to Hindi- stem from a common ancestral language. Similarly, Semitic—Arabic, Aramaic,ancient Babylonian & Akkadian—as well as the related “ Hamitic languages-Egyptian, North and central African languages. Similar grammar features, similar core words.

Reflects idea of a common origin of humanity that has moved out and settled in different places. No one nation is inherently indigenous. All nations in constant flux- langauge, speech, culture shifts.

Reflected in words of Prophet,

Amos=Ch 9

To Me, O Israelites, you are
Just like the Cushites [indicating-far and very different in appearance-it makes no difference]
—declares the LORD.
True, I brought Israel up
From the land of Egypt,
But also the Philistines from Caphtor[ the eastern Mediteranean]
And the Arameans from Kir [location in Mesopotamia-form which they moved west to Syria]

all the nations pawns on God’s chess table.The idea of conditionality- right to be on the land- permeates the Torah and esp Deuteronomy.

Go back to purchase by Abraham

Idea that we had to acquire rights rather than take by force- we were aware that we were aliens in our own land. The Greeks,as we know them, were aliens in Greece[ replaced the original Mycenaen civilization]

The Hindu Indo-Aryans- were late comers to India- replaced the much older Indus valley civilizations.

What’s the difference- I believe ancient Israelites were very conscious of this, and constantly asked,” Why are we here?”By what right.?

It was asked by other. Rashi, commentary on Gen 1:

For should the peoples of the world say to Israel, “You are robbers, because you took by force the lands of the seven nations of Canaan”, Israel may reply to them, “All the earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it and gave it to whom He pleased. When He willed He gave it to them, and when He willed He took it from them and gave it to us” (Yalkut Shimoni on Torah 187).

An ancient argument-why does rashi bring this source here? Here is sitting in Central Europe, the Christians and the Muslim are fighting over the Holy Land, and he is reminding his children and grandchildren- It is ours from the scratch.

Going back to the land- the constant argument- Listim atem- You are thieves- the rejection of any right. But go back to a century ago, before there was a state of Israel, before there was an Israeli armed forces that could beat back six invading armies and push back the native Palestinian Arab uprising. Back to when the land was under colonial control of the Ottoman Empire (later British). The land is bought, dunam po, dunam sham. A 1,000 square meters( still in use, an Ottoman term) .ownership= land registry-tabu= also Turkish.

What did we buy up?

An example from the period of the 1930’s


Eliahu Epstein summed up the problems and prospects for Jewish land purchase in the wake of Arab violence in the mid-1930s, and the recently published British policy statement, the July 1937 Peel Report, suggested the division of Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states.

 Epstein’s summary of the special JNF-sponsored meeting reveals that more Arab offers to sell land existed than there were Jewish funds available to make those purchases. This discrepancy allowed the Zionists to make critical choices regarding which land areas would be best to acquire. Jewish land ownership itself was important, but not as vital as acquiring land to satisfy a particular strategic requirement, and to have it settled by recent or future immigrants. The discussion revealed agreements on both priorities, which included buying land along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv corridor in order to connect Jewish presence in Jerusalem to Jewish areas in the coastal plain, in the north of Palestine near the strategic port of Haifa and lands that were in close proximity to the headwaters of the Jordan River. Buying land outside the boundaries of the proposed Jewish state was considered another priority so that ‘facts on the ground’ could be established and hopefully enlarge the imminent Jewish state. The evolving strategic land purchase policy reinforced a commitment to broaden contiguous blocks of Jewish-owned land, and not to acquire land in a helter-skelter fashion based on religious or philosophical motivations to settle in all the Land of Israel. The Zionist leaders who participated in this meeting reasoned that once land was securely in Jewish hands, the British might amend projected borders to include said land within the Jewish state. Creating facts on the ground was a land purchase priority.



Epstein summarized this critical discussion. His letter was then dispatched to Zionist decision-makers in Palestine and a few key Zionists abroad, informing them of “land politics.” Knowing that Arabs wanted to sell their lands had three important consequences: first, it reinforced the Zionist leadership’s commitment to find ways to acquire land; second, it allowed important decisions to be made about what lands would best suit the strategic needs of the growing Jewish National Home; and finally, it strengthened overall Zionist political resolve by highlighting the contradiction between public Arab demands to halt the Jewish national home and private Arab behavior. Within two years of this meeting, the British imposed immigration and land transfer restrictions on the development of the Jewish state. Evidence provided from the Jewish National Fund’s directorate minutes from the 1940s indicates that Arab offers to sell did not appreciably abate, allowing Zionists to choose land needs based on strategic priorities.                                                                                                      

–Ken Stein, April 2010 


There is here, drawn a clear line from Abraham’s purchase of a field and a cave, and the rebirth of the Land and State of Israel.


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Abraham, the tent dweller,versus Sodom, the Urbanites Reflections of Kristallnacht and Veterans Day


Portion of Vayera

Abraham, the tent dweller,versus Sodom, the Urbanites

Reflections of Kristallnacht and Veterans Day

The Shabbat discussion is on this link:

 I opened my remarks with this article in the Jewish Journal about our friend, Joe Alexander, who is soon marking his 100th birthday and till today speaks to youth about his experieces during the Holocaust:

I also highlighted this news interview with Joe regarding the vile comments by Ye( Kanye) on Jews:

It lead directly into the discussion.

 This past Wednesday marked what we Jews refer to as Kristallnacht- German Reichspogromnacht or NovemberPogrom( a more blunt and honest description)

Nov 9-10, 1038

Then, we marked Veteran’s Day, in honor of our US veterans, but originally Armistice Day. To mark end of WWI- the War to end all wars, the War to Make the world safe for Democracy.

Such sad irony, that WWI led to WWII, for a variety of causes, but surely, one inevitable factor, that Hitler successfully used blaming the Jews to rise to power, and the world leaders failed to stop him in then persecuting Jews. Kristallnacht was a warning to the world what hatred of one’s fellow can lead to, the Jew as the canary in the coal mine.


The Jew as the eternal alien, the one commonality of hatred across Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, Christian and Moslem civilizations, through antiquity and into modernity, even into secular and anti-religious governments, as Germany and the USSR. But, while Jews aren’t everywhere, some people will always be picked out somewhere as targets of the frustrations and failures of the general masses of humanity

Here, in contrast, we have the figure of Abraham, who is to be “ a blessing to the world”, who is to be the spiritual father of the three Abrahamic religions .

Abraham, open tent, greeting wanderers, in contrast- the urbanites of Sodom, who seek to rape  the strangers in their walls.

Bedouin of the desert- three and a third day rule: The guest must be made comfortable and cared for three and a third days. Even if he is an enemy who has come seeking shelter.( the next day, the two can go back to fighting!)  That tradition is well known in the Abraham accounts.

We have the story of Sodom- what happens when we become urbanized, we have more than enough- instead of becoming generous, we abuse those in need of help.

The Torah is not just denouncing the people of Sodom- it is a veiled reference to the people of Israel—made explicit in the story  of the concubine of Gibeah; Judges 19

The man is a Levite from Ephraim, the concubine from Judah.


11 When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusites and spend the night.”

12 His master replied, “No. We won’t go into any city whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.” 13 He added, “Come, let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramah and spend the night in one of those places.” 14 So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin. 15 There they stopped to spend the night. They went and sat in the city square, but no one took them in for the night.


Judg 19:17 He happened to see the wayfarer in the town square. "Where," the old man inquired, "are you going to, and where do you come from?" 19:18 He replied, "We are traveling from Bethlehem in Judah to the other end of the hill country of Ephraim. That is where I live. I made a journey to Bethlehem of Judah, and now I am on my way to the House of YHWH, and nobody has taken me indoors. 19:19 We have both bruised straw and feed for our donkeys, and bread and wine for me and your handmaid, and for the attendant with your servants. We lack nothing." 19:20 "Rest easy," said the old man. "Let me take care of all your needs. Do not on any account spend the night in the square." 19:21 And he took him into his house. He mixed fodder for the donkeys; then they bathed their feet and ate and drank.

What happens next:

22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”

Here is where it gets brutal:

23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.


Note, the contrast , that the Levite and his concubine would not spend the night with aliens, Jebusites, and then be brutalized by their own Israelites.


Let’s go back to Abraham, and how we can read his “ open tent” policy”


Why is Abraham to be the father of many nations?

We see how the Bible text hints at, and then Rabbinic tradition makes explicit= the sanctity of the human being.


וַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה בְּאֵלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א וְה֛וּא יֹשֵׁ֥ב פֶּֽתַח־הָאֹ֖הֶל כְּחֹ֥ם הַיּֽוֹם׃ יהוה


God appeared* to him by the terebinths of Mamre; he was sitting at the entrance of the tent as the day grew hot.

When does this happen? The sentence before, Abraham has just been circumcised. Therefore he is sitting, while God appears, hence,. He can’t get up. So Rabbinc comments, “God comes to visit, to teach us “ bikur cholim”.

(בראשית יח, א) וירא אליו ה' באלוני ממרא והוא יושב פתח האוהל כחום היום מאי כחום היום אמר רבי חמא בר' חנינא אותו היום יום שלישי של מילה של אברהם היה ובא הקב"ה לשאול באברהם הוציא הקב"ה חמה מנרתיקה כדי שלא יטריח אותו צדיק באורחים Baba Metzia 87a

It is the 3rd day, and he is healing. God mad ethe sun glow hot, so there would be  no travelers to bother Abraham.


וַיִּשָּׂ֤א עֵינָיו֙ וַיַּ֔רְא וְהִנֵּה֙ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֔ים נִצָּבִ֖ים עָלָ֑יו וַיַּ֗רְא וַיָּ֤רׇץ לִקְרָאתָם֙ מִפֶּ֣תַח הָאֹ֔הֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָֽרְצָה׃

Looking up, he saw three figures standing near him. Perceiving this, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them and, bowing to the ground,

We, the readers, know they are angels. Does Abraham know that?


וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֗י אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ אַל־נָ֥א תַעֲבֹ֖ר מֵעַ֥ל עַבְדֶּֽךָ׃

 he said, “My lords!* If it please you, do not go on past your servant.

Who is Adonay( My Lords)  here?

Who is Abraham talking to?

Adonay-My Lord( plural for singular, as honorific)

If God appears to Abraham, with YHWH, and Abraham answers” My Lord-Adonay”, the Implication is God, and he is asking God to allow him to greet the strangers.

But , literal text,he is addressing the lead angel .

Hence, Rashi


'ויאמר אדני אם נא וגו AND HE SAID, MY LORD, IF NOW etc. — He addressed himself to the Chief of them; calling them all “lords”, (אדני may mean “my lords”), whilst to their Chief he said “Do not I pray thee pass away”, for he knew that if he would not pass by, his companions would certainly remain with him. In this explanation the word אדני has a “profane” sense (does not refer to God, being merely a term of address, “Sirs”) .


Another explanation is that the word is “holy” (referring to God): he asked God to wait for him whilst he ran and invited the travelers. For although this is written after the words “and he ran to meet them”, yet the conversation took place beforehand.


What is the basis for this double entendre?

Ein Yaakov, Shevuot 4:9 כָּל שֵׁמוֹת הָאֲמוּרִים בַּתּוֹרָה בְּאַבְרָהָם, קֹדֶשׁ, חוּץ מִזֶּה שֶׁהוּא חֹל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: (בראשית י״ח:ג׳) "וַיֹּאמַר: אֲדֹנָי אִם נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ". (חנניה) [חֲנִינָא] בֶּן אֲחִי רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר הַמּוֹדָעִי אָמְרוּ: אַף זֶה קֹדֶשׁ. כְּמַאן אַזְלָא הָא דְּאָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה, אָמַר רַב: גָּדוֹל הַכְנָסַת אוֹרְחִים יוֹתֵר מֵהַקְבָּלַת פְּנֵי שְׁכִינָה, כְּמַאן? כְּאוֹתוֹ הַזּוּג.

All the terms used in the Torah “ Adonay”My Lords, refer to God, sacred, except where clearly intended for general use, such as in this case of Abraham talking to the visitors. Said  in the name of Rabbi the name of R. Elazar Hamodai,” Even here, it is the divine name, because hosting guests is as greater than receiving God’s presence.


So we learn the sanctity of the human- if the human is sick, even God pays a visit; if the human is sick, he sits, while God stands. If the human is lost and hungry, God waits, till we feed the human. If we see three humans wandering in the heat if the day, we see the presence of God.


Hence, the great contrast with Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain, land of wealth and abundance, that becomes a Dead Sea.


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Is Big Bang a Jewish issue? Comments on Bereshit


Torah portion comments  Bereshit 1st cycle

 For video:


1)     Is Big Bang a Jewish issue?

Notice that we have two accounts of creation: Ch 1 and Ch 2

a)      Ch 1, orderly, builds up one upon the other, systematic, culminates with human, and Shabbat-state of perfection.

b)     Ch 2,


A} sloppy editing, patched together hoping no one will notice?



בראשית ברא אֵין הַמִּקְרָא הַזֶּה אוֹמֵר אֶלָּא דָּרְשֵׁנִי, כְּמוֹ שֶׁדְּרָשׁוּהוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ בִּשְׁבִיל הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁנִקְרֵאת רֵאשִׁית דַּרְכּוֹ (משלי ח'), וּבִשְׁבִיל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנִקְרְאוּ רֵאשִׁית תְּבוּאָתוֹ (ירמיה ב'); וְאִם בָּאתָ לְפָרְשׁוֹ כִּפְשׁוּטוֹ, כָּךְ פָּרְשֵׁהוּ בְּרֵאשִׁית בְּרִיאַת שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ, וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר וְלֹא בָא הַמִּקְרָא לְהוֹרוֹת סֵדֶר הַבְּרִיאָה לוֹמַר שֶׁאֵלּוּ קָדְמוּ, שֶׁאִם בָּא לְהוֹרוֹת כָּךְ, הָיָה לוֹ לִכְתֹּב בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה בָּרָא אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְגוֹ' שֶׁאֵין לְךָ רֵאשִׁית בַּמִּקְרָא שֶׁאֵינוֹ דָבוּק לַתֵּבָה שֶׁלְּאַחֲרָיו. .

. עַל כָּרְחֲךָ לֹא לִמֵּד הַמִּקְרָא סֵדֶר הַמֻּקְדָמִים וְהַמְאֻחָרִים כְּלוּם:

אין מוקדם ומאחר במקרא

בראשית ברא IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED — This verse calls aloud for explanation in the manner that our Rabbis explained it: God created the world for the sake of the Torah which is called (Proverbs 8:22) “The beginning (ראשית) of His (God’s) way”, and for the sake of Israel who are called (Jeremiah 2:3) “The beginning (ראשית) of His (God’s) increase’’. If, however, you wish to explain it in its plain sense, explain it thus: At the beginning of the Creation of heaven and earth when the earth was without form and void and there was darkness, God said, “Let there be light”. The text does not intend to point out the order of the acts of Creation — to state that these (heaven and earth) were created first; for if it intended to point this out, it should have written 'בראשונה ברא את השמים וגו “At first God created etc.”


a further proof that the heavens and earth were not the first thing created is that the heavens were created from fire (אש) and water (מים), from which it follows that fire and water were in existence before the heavens. Therefore you must admit that the text teaches nothing about the earlier or later sequence of the acts of Creation.


Maimonides argued that if science proved a point that did not contradict any fundamentals of faith, then the finding should be accepted and scripture should be interpreted accordingly.[14] For example, in discussing Plato's view that the universe has existed literally forever, he argued that there was no convincing rational proof one way or the other, so that he (Maimonides) was free to accept, and therefore did accept, the literal biblical view that the universe came into being at a definite time; but that had Plato's theory been convincing enough with sufficient scientific proof he would have been able to reinterpret Genesis accordingly.


One of the most popular theories about the development of the Universe-The Big Bang Theory.

We can make a claim to having thought of it first, in the Kabbalah of Rabbi Isaac Luria, Ari Hakadosh: tzimtzum, contraction into a single point, expansion form that contraction , channels of energy out of that)kelim-vessels- to “ shvirat hakelim”- cataclysmic shattering of these channels of energy, giving rise to the world as we know it.


However- we can ask, from a Jewish perspective-Does it Matter? Not for a lack of Jewish physicists-




Forbidden Sex- to three; Maaseh Merkabah- to two, Maaseh bereshit- to only one.

כׇּל הַמִּסְתַּכֵּל בְּאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים, רָתוּי לוֹ כְּאִילּוּ לֹא בָּא לָעוֹלָם: מָה לְמַעְלָה, מָה לְמַטָּה, מָה לְפָנִים, וּמָה לְאָחוֹר. וְכׇל שֶׁלֹּא חָס עַל כְּבוֹד קוֹנוֹ, רָתוּי לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בָּא לָעוֹלָם. Whoever looks at four matters, it would have been better for him had he never entered the world: what is above what is below, what was before, and what  after. And anyone who has no concern for the honor of his Maker, deserves to have never come to the world.



Mishna and Gemara: Don’t even think of going there.


Why end speculation?




II. Why are there two ways Adam is created?

1)     Elegant, magisterial, the epitome of creation.

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֛ם בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ וְיִרְדּוּ֩ בִדְגַ֨ת הַיָּ֜ם וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּבְכׇל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּבְכׇל־הָרֶ֖מֶשׂ הָֽרֹמֵ֥שׂ עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ And God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.”

וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים׀אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃ And God created humankind in the divine image,
creating it in the image of God—
creating them male and female,%D7%95%D6%BC%D7%A0%D6%B0%D7%A7%D6%B5%D7%91%D6%B8%D6%96%D7%94%20%D7%91%D6%BC%D6%B8%D7%A8%D6%B8%D6%A5%D7%90%20%D7%90%D6%B9%D7%AA%D6%B8%D6%BD%D7%9D%D7%83



2)     A more “ hands on” affair:

וַיִּ֩יצֶר֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֗ם עָפָר֙ מִן־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה וַיִּפַּ֥ח בְּאַפָּ֖יו נִשְׁמַ֣ת חַיִּ֑ים וַֽיְהִ֥י הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּֽה׃God יהוה formed the Human blowing into his nostrils the breath of life: the Human became a living being.,7,nostrils%20the%20breath%20of%20life%3A%20the%20Human%20became%20a%20living%20being.,-8

This is a more complicated entity-intelligent( names animals), is given instructions, is lonely! Gets in trouble- the beautiful perfection of chapter one is disturbed by Adam of chapter 2.


From Rav Yosef Soloveitchik-Lonely Man of Faith(excerpts from a very long essay)

I want to point out four major discrepancies between these

two accounts.


1) In the story of the creation of Adam the first, it is told that

the latter was created in the image of God, betselem elokim, while ·

nothing is said about how his body was formed. In the account

of the creation of Adam the second, it is stated that he

was fashioned from the dust of the ground and God breathed

into his nostrils the breath of life.

2) Adam the first received the mandate from the Almighty

to fill the earth and subdue it, milo et Haaretz v kivshuha. Adam

the second was charged with the duty to cultivate the garden and

to keep it, le-ovda u leshamra


3) In the story of Adam the first, both male and female were

created concurrently, while Adam the second emerged alone, with

Eve appearing subsequently as his helpmate and complement.

4) Finally, and this is a discrepancy of which Biblical criticism

has made so much, while in the first account only the name of

E-lohim, appears, in the second, E-lohim is used in conjunction

with the Tetragrammaton.


There is no doubt that the term "image of. God" in the first

account refers to man's inner charismatic endowment as a creative

being. Man's likeness to God expresses itself in man's striving and ability to become a creator


Therefore, Adam the first is interested in just a single

aspect of reality and asks one question only - "How does the

cosmos function?" He is not fascinated by the question, "Why

, does the cosmos function at all?" nor is he interested in the question,

"What is its essence?" He is only curious to know how it

works…. Adam the first is overwhelmed by one quest, namely,.to harness

and dominate the elemental natural forces and to put them at his

, disposal. This practical interest arouses his will to learn the secrets

of nature. He is completely utilitarian as far as motivation, teleology, design and methodology are concerned.


Man reaching for the distant stars is acting in harmony with his nature which was created,

willed, and directed by his Maker. It is a manifestation of obedience to rather than rebellion against God.


Adam the second

responds to the call of the cosmos by engaging in a different

kind of cognitive gesture. He does not ask a single functional

question. Instead his inquiry is of a metaphysical nature and a

threefold one. He wants to know: "Why is it?" "What is it?" "Who

is it?" ( 1) He wonders: "Why did the world in its totality come into

existence? Why is man confronted by this stupendous and indifferent

order of things and events?'' ( 2) He asks: "What is the purpose

of all this? What is the message that is embedded in organic and

inorganic matter, and what does the great challenge reaching me

from beyond the fringes of the universe as well as froin the depths

of my tormented soul mean?" (3) Adam the second keeps on wondering: "Who is He who trails me steadily, uninvited and unwanted, like an everlasting shadow, and vanishes into the recesses

of transcendence the very instant I turn around to confront this numinous, awesome and mysterious 'He'?

The Biblical dialectic stems from the fact that Adam the first,

majestic man of dominion and success, and Adam the second,

the lonely man of faith, obedience and defeat, are not two different

people locked in an external confrontation as an "I" opposite

a "thou," but one person who is involved in self-confrontation.

"I," Adam the first, confront the "I," Adam the second. In

every one of us abide two personae - the creative majestic Adam the first, and the submissive, humble Adam the second.



Rejection of either aspect of humanity would be tantamount to an act of disapproval of

the divine scheme of creation which was approved by God as

being very good.



Finally: woman is created twice with man:Ch 1


בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃

And God created humankind in the divine image,
creating it in the image of God—
creating them male and female.


Ch 2

Adam is inherently lonely- but only God sees that- Adam is not aware of his loneliness( a key oitn of the Soloveitchik essay)

Adam sees no connection in any of the animals- names them,

וּלְאָדָ֕ם לֹֽא־מָצָ֥א עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃

but no fitting counterpart for a human being was found.


וַיִּקַּ֗ח אַחַת֙ מִצַּלְעֹתָ֔יו וַיִּסְגֹּ֥ר בָּשָׂ֖ר תַּחְתֶּֽנָּה׃ So God יהוה cast a deep sleep upon the Human; and, while he slept, [God] took one of his sides* and closed up the flesh at that site.

וַיִּ֩בֶן֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים אֶֽת־הַצֵּלָ֛ע ׀

אֲשֶׁר־לָקַ֥ח מִן־הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְאִשָּׁ֑ה וַיְבִאֶ֖הָ אֶל־הָֽאָדָֽם׃ And God יהוה fashioned the side that had been taken from the Human into a woman, bringing her to the Human.

וַיֹּ֘אמֶר֮ הָֽאָדָם֒ זֹ֣את הַפַּ֗עַם עֶ֚צֶם מֵֽעֲצָמַ֔י וּבָשָׂ֖ר מִבְּשָׂרִ֑י לְזֹאת֙ יִקָּרֵ֣א

אִשָּׁ֔ה כִּ֥י מֵאִ֖ישׁ לֻֽקְחָה־זֹּֽאת׃

Then the Human said,
“This one at last
Is bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called Woman For from a Human was she taken.”

עַל־כֵּן֙ יַֽעֲזׇב־אִ֔ישׁ אֶת־אָבִ֖יו וְאֶת־אִמּ֑וֹ וְדָבַ֣ק בְּאִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃ Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife,*wife. so that they become one flesh.

וַיִּֽהְי֤וּ שְׁנֵיהֶם֙ עֲרוּמִּ֔ים הָֽאָדָ֖ם וְאִשְׁתּ֑וֹ וְלֹ֖א יִתְבֹּשָֽׁשׁוּ׃ The two of them were naked,* the Human* and his wife, yet they felt no shame.

Naked- arumim- uncovered-no barrier- no emotional obstacle between them.


Of course, it goes downhill from here. The first Adam, as both male and female,  is a managerial personality, who puts aside all emotion, all passion, in the process of building his/her world. The second Adam and Eve have deep love between them, and with it, emotional tensions of expectations, communication, trust. The first Adam and Eve are a theoretical construct- the second pair are real people.

The first may be an ideal—but the Torah is intended for real people.