Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part 10.15

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Year it was published: 2004

Overall theme:

"With only one God, heaven would be a barren place, at least in mythic terms. Yet the actual Jewish view of heaven is quite different. There are seven heavens, filled with angels and other divine beings, such as the Messiah [Not jesus!], who is said to have a palace of his own in the highest heaven. The clestial Temple can be found there- the mirror image of the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem- as well as an abundance of heavenly palaces, one for each of the patriarchs and matriarchs and sages, where he or she teaches Torah to the attentive souls of the righteous and the angels..." (xliii)

"Drawing on the full range of Jewish sources, sacred and nonsacred, ten major categories of Jewish mythology can be identified: Myths of God, Myths of Creation...Each of these categories explores a mythic realm, and, in the process, reimagines it. This is the secret to the transformations that characterize Jewish mythology. Building on a strong foundation of biblical myth, each generation has embellished the earlier myths, while, at the same time, reinterpeting them for tis own time." (xlv)

Book One: Myths of God

Part X: The Suffering God

51. The Suffering God

Issue: Description of how G-d's suffering is much worse than that of the Jews, and of how much He feels for them and so forth.

52. God's Tears

Issue: Describes the times when G-d's two tears fall into the world; those are when he recalls the Israelites, and other is when he sees Shekhinah lie in dust of the earth.

53. God Weeps over the destruction of the temple

Issue: G-d cries over His actions when it comes to destruction of temple and whatnot. Metatron offers to weep for G-d, but G-d tells him to be gone.

54. God's lament at the western wall

Issue: Two rabbis find the ruins of the Temple and also find out that just as they are sad at its destruction, so is G-d as well.

55. God's Oath

Issue: Rabbi bar Bar Hannah travels to Mount Sinai and hears G-d's voice lamenting his actions and asking who might absolve Him of the oath. When he comes back and tells others of the experience, they tell him he should have absolved it.

56. God considers ending all existence

Issue: After the destruction of the Temple and after Israel's exile, G-d considers ending all existence and destroying the earth. The angels try to talk Him out of it, but G-d asked them to leave and the story ends at that.

To be continued...

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