Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part 15.15

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press

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 XV: God Defers to the Earthly Court

85. God Makes Matches

Issue: Mentions what G-d has been doing ever since He created the earth. And He has been making matches, matching one woman to one man and so forth. Legend of who will be who forty days before the birth of children.

86. The Rabbis Overrule God

Issue: Various Rabbis are debating about a point of the Law when one of the Rabbis asks for some supernatural occurs, which it does, and in the end the Rabbis object to G-d interfering as it states in Torah "Follow after the majority" (Exodus 23.2)

87. God Defers to the Earthly Court 

Issue: The angels asks G-d when New Years begins, and He tells them to ask the earthly, which will declare that today is Rosh ha-Shanah the New Years.

To Be Continued...

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