This Shabbat we begin reading again the Creation Story. “In a beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth...”. Once again, we are treated to an ancient story that describes the awesome birthing of life.
The ancient Israelite narrative is quite the departure from other Creation stories in ancient Mesopotamia. The Gilgamesh Epic describes a chaotic world consumed by the power struggles of numerous gods and goddesses. Many scholars have noted how our Creation story is a radical departure from seeing the world in this way, “a polemic, a protest, against a certain way of understanding the universe” in the words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
The biblical narrative puts forth a “unified field theory” where the human, Adam, is created in the Divine Image. We sense orderliness and moral purposefulness. “Vayhi Tov and it was Good.” We hear how light comes forth from darkness and the abyss. We see how the human is given awesome responsibility over life on earth, to have “dominion” over the earth. We are also instructed to have a vegetarian diet! In chapter two of Genesis it is even more specific: “YHVH Elohim placed the human in the Garden of Eden to tend and protect it.”
Today, we are witnessing the maddening successes of an anti-Creation movement lead by morally depraved leaders and institutions. We have no choice but to resist. The resistance takes place both through education and action. How can we also build trust in the midst of such distrust? Is there a way to dialogue?
This Friday I’m planning to join others at the Capitol in support of the Green New Deal. Every Friday at 11am for several weeks activists and celebrities will gather there. The link: Fire Drill Fridays
Try to come for this Shabbat of Creation. B’Shalom, Reb David