Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 12.15

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 XII: The Creation of Man

157. The Heavenly Man

Issue:It is believed that G-d created two Adams instead of one, one a being of earth, and another fashioned with likeness and image of G-d. The earthly Adam was created from dust of the earth and G-d breathed life into him. While earthly Adam has passed away, the heavenly Adam continues to exist. Those who disagree believe that the Adam in heaven is one and the same. Another theory exists that the two Adams were introduced to different gardens, one being into Eden and another into heavenly, with Eden one being cast out. Still others say that the two Adams were created for different types of world; one for this, the other for the world to come.

158. Adam the Angel

Issue: Adam was created from invisible and visible substances and was assigned to ben an agel, second in power. He also was assigned to be a great and glorious king on earth; he also was assigned four special stars and was given the paradise and asked to peer into heavens.

159. Adam the Golem

Issue: When G-d was about to create Adam, he made an incredibly huge golem that caused angels and others to be confused about him. While Adam slept, G-d revealed to him the secrets of who is righteous, who is wicked, and so forth. When Adam came to life, he barely remembered all that G-d revealed, and during the night G-d continued to whisper mysteries to him.

160. Adam the Giant

Issue: Adam was created as an unimaginable giant along with being given strength and power as mighty ones on high. Angels became afraid of Adam and asked G-d if there were to be two powers in the universe thus G-d reduced Adam's size.

161. Adam the Last and First

Issue: When G-d began to create the world, he created Adam first, but because G-d thought Adam would claim himself as G-d's partner, G-d decided to create Adam last. When G-d was finished, the angels asked if G-d was still planning on creating Adam, and G-d said yes. G-d breathed soul into Adam, which is why he is called Last and First.

162. Adam's Body Of Light

Issue: Adam possessed a body of light that really confused the angels, and they wished to proclaim Adam as G-d. G-d didn't like that, thus he put Adam into deep sleep. Before the fall, G-d gave Adam numerous gifts. After eating the forbidden fruit, that there is debate about whether or not the light from his face was taken away or was given after repentance. Rabbi Bana'ah beheld Adam in a cave and determined that the face outshone the sun, but he was stopped and went back.

163. The Enthronement of Adam

Issue: Abraham with the Archangel Michael went up to heaven, and Abraham had an opportunity to watch daily lives of men. While up there, they came upon first gate of heaven where they saw souls go through either broad gate or narrow gate along with a throned man. The throned man was upset when souls went through broad gates, but rejoiced when souls went through narrow gates. Abraham asked about who it was, and learned that it was Adam who watches over the world. The narrow gates are gates of righteous, while broad gates are those of sinners.

164. Adam's Body Formed by an Angel

Issue: It is also believed that when the time came to form a man, G-d asks the angel Michael to do it, and he did it by gathering dust and then G-d breathed life into Adam.

165. God Consults the Angels about the Creation of Adam

Issue:G-d creates the ministering angels and He asks them about whether or not Adam should be created. They ask G-d questions but tell him its up to him. There is also mention that parties and sects over whether or not the man should be created were also created. While the angels were arguing G-d already created a man.

166. The Creation of Man

Issue: When G-d created an empty earth devoid of greenery and rain aside from the ocean water, G-d formed man from dust of the earth and breathed into him and thus man became a living being.

167. Creation From a Mold

Issue: G-d created Adam from His own hands rather than pronouncements, and a specific mold was used to create Adam. Either G-d created the mold, or used the mold of angels who resembled Adam. Human mold is identical but G-d makes sure that each person is unique.

168. Wisdom Created Man

Issue: When G-d decided to create man, a share of work went to Wisdom. It is thought G-d did this because so that rightful actions will be attributed to Him, while sins to others.

169. Adam's Choice

Issue: Before creation of Adam, G-d created two types of beings; celestial and animal. Celestial did not reproduce but were image of G-d, while earthly ones were not image of G-d but did reproduce. G-d wanted for Adam to be of both of these. G-d also debated on whether or not to create man out of celestial or earthly things, but ultimately decided to create man out of both thus the choice will be his.

170. Adam's Breath

Issue: A story of creation, of how G-d created heaven and earth, then on second day a firmament created, on third the waters were divided, on fourth the sun, moon and stars adn on fifth day G-d gathered waters below. The sixth day remained, and G-d was undecided what to do for fear of making above or earth angry, thus He created Adam below but using breath from above.

171. The First Twelve Hours of Adam's Life

Issue: On the first five days of Creation, G-d creates three types of creatures, while the sixth, day before the Sabbath, G-d is busy creating Adam. Then the story continues breaking the hours of Adam's life down, ending with Adam sinning and being expelled from Garden of Eden.

172. Adam Brings Down Fire from Heaven

Issue: Before Adam existed as a mortal, he lived in heaven and brought down fire as well as light from heaven. When the fire was brought down, G-d signed a degree where he reliquinshed the control of fire. The light shone from Adam's fingernails, which were brighter than the sun. Still others say Adam used either four winds of the world or enchanted stones to bring light into the world. Thus by using darkness and death light was brought upon the world.

173. Adam the Hermaphrodite

Issue: It is also believed that Adam was created with two faces, a feminine and a masculine, one forward, one behind. Others believe that Adam and Eve were created as a single being, with Adam in front, and Eve in the back. A question of how it happened is brought up. Due to difficulties experienced by Adam and Eve, G-d split them apart which made things easier. There is also belief that Adam's second face was gone because of his sin.

174. Samael and Lilith

Issue: Prior to creating Adam and Eve, G-d created Samael and Lilith. Samael was Lilith's mate. The king of demons, Ashmedai had as mate Lilith the Younger which made Samael be very jealous and which pleased Lilith the Younger greatly since she sought to make wars between her and her mother, Lilith the Elder. Lilith and Ashmedai also gave birth to a prince of demons named Alefpeneash.

175. God and the Spirits of the Unborn

Issue: G-d sits in a circle with baby spirits that are about to be born. G-d has knowledge that life on earth won't be as good as life in heaven, thus just so the baby spirits can learn to adjust to life on earth and forget about life in heaven, He touches them above the lip, creating an indentation on upper lips.

To Be Continued...

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