Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 9.15

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 Two: Myths of Creation

 Part IX: Myths of the Sun and the Moon

144. The Quarrel of the Sun and the Moon

Issue: The sun and the moon were created identically, but they began to fight because each thought they were bigger than the other. The moon decides to visit G-d who encourages her to become smaller and prophecies that Israel will count days and years by her. Afterwards the rebellion ceased, and a prophecy is issued.

145. The Sun Stood Still

Issue: As Israelites were fighting the Amorites, Joshua asked for the sun to stand still, which sun did, and that was the only occasion when the sun stood still.

146. A Garment for the Moon

Issue: One day the moon complained to the sun that the only time it could shine was during. The sun saw that the moon was unahppy and asked the famous tailors to make a garment for the moon, but didn't ask the simple tailors to be part of it. The famous tailors, after a discussion, saw that it was impossible to sew the garment for the moon, but the simple tailors wanted to try anyways, which is where it ends.

To Be Continued...

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