Wednesday, April 11, 2007

commentary on b'reishit ch 1-2:3

(the hebrew is sometimes in the parenthesis, sometimes the possible english translations are)



At the begining of elohim's creating (barah), when the sky and earth were a mishmash, darkness was over the face of t'hom (the depths? tiamat the goddess of the depths?), and ruakh elohim (the breath, spirit of?) hovered (like an eagle flapping her wings) on the face of the waters.

Elohim said let there be light. and there was. light was from elohim. and it permeated the darkness.

Elohim seperated this light from darkness. and he called them day and night. and indeed there was a first evening and a morning. did god then create time?

And elohim made (ya'as) a space in the midst of the waters. and it seperated the waters above and the waters below, and he called it skies (shamayim shemesh is the sun, mayim the waters, is the sky the sun waters? or the sun sea it's dual, sun's place between the seas?). a second day

And elohim said let the waters gather in one place, and dry land appeared. who did this gathering? he named the dry space land, earth (eretz) and the waters (mayim) seas (yamim)

And elohim said t'dashe ha'aretz deshe, let the earth sprout forth sprouts which reproduce them selves. and the earth herself brought forth these plants and trees. the earth and the plants are self generating. the water and land was already there... the only element from elohim himself was light. and the only shaping was of the day and night and the waters from the waters to make the skies.

And elohim made (ya'as) the two lights in the sky and the stars. it's clear that light comes from the sun, but also in the shade of the greater light there is still the original light from the beginning.... And elohim set them into the sky. The sun, the moon and the constellations are stripped of their creative powers. no competition in this story with elohim except t'hom and the waters and generative earth were also there.

And elohim said yishretzu h'mayim sheretz let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living beings and the birds flying in the sky. And elohim Created (barah), tana'im the serpents, and all that crept swam and flew after their kinds. Note that he created KINDS, not an amorphous mass of life, but distinct kinds. and elohim blessed them to be fruitful, and multiply and fill the waters in the seas and the earth. the plants received their generative powers and blessings from the earth herself, but the animals were elohim's work, and needed his special blessing to produce more. Elohim is partial to ANIMALS hmmm...

And here is another problem. god creates the light and pronounces it good. he creates the sky and forgets to pronounce it good. he creates seas and land and pronounces them good, he calls the earth to generate plant life and pronounces it good. he creates the lights in the skies and pronounces them good. he creates the living beings, he blesses them, but forgets to pronounce them good? or does the blessing cover it? This is not a smoothly strictly rhyming poem. ah... a possibility, he's not 100% happy with animals, cause they have to KILL and eat each other to live. he's very ambivelent about this flesh he created. maybe also that they have SEX. actually, not. these are swarming creeping things and birds though. he does pronounce land animals good, but forgets to BLESS them. it's a mess.

And elohim said totze ha'aretz nefesh chaya let the earth bring forth living beings after their kind (and the text misses a chance at alliteration that was used for the plantlife, and the sea life!). And elohim made (ya'as) khayat aretz, wild animals and elohim does remember to pronouce them good, but this time FORGETS TO BLESS THEM and bid them be fruitful and fill the earth!!! this is a glearing lacuna! can we say that it is up to us to bless animals? but elohim blessed the birds and the weat...

And elohim said let us make (ya'as) humanity (adam) in our image (tzelem). and Elohim created (barah) humnity in his image. male and female he created them Male and female is the image of Elohim? male and female is the image of creation?. but why aren't the animals created male and female, as surely they are? and Elohim blessed them and said be fruitful and increase and fill the earth and subdue and dominate it. and Elohim said "i give you all the vegetation as food" and to all living beings i give vegetation as food. and Elohim said it was very good.

Does elohim mean to say that at this point animals DON'T eat each other? very odd.

and the skies and the earth were finished. and in the seventh day Elohim finished his work, he ceased from working on that day. and he blessed the seventh day and made it holy (kodesh) because he ceased in it from doing all his work. and here in the last stanza of creation god doesn't even create the holy day, but the day happens naturally and god makes it holy by NOT creating.

The text is beatiful, suggestive, and corrupt. i say it is corrupt because it suggests a grandly rhyming set of parallel stanzas, but they are not COMPLETELY parallel in seemingly odd ways. The corruptions where preserved! Why? the corruptions were preserved to jar us? to beg us to jump in and complete them? to discuss and argue why they are there? a fascinating text, no?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The text is indeed beautiful. I don't know how or if its corrupt.
But I will make this one small point. "Elohim" can't be a "he". It's not a singular pronoun, or noun, it's plural. Literally, it means "They who from heaven to earth came". There's a whole world of research and ideas that unravel past that point, but I had to mention this much, just because I love languages and linguistics. Sometimes language is the only thing the past has left to us.