Sunday, January 3, 2016

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 13.15

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 XIII: Adam and Eve

176.Adam and the Spirits

Issue: Adam's body was completed thus a thousand spirits or so gathered around him and tried to gain entrance into his body, but without success. G-d came down and breathed life into Adam, thus bringing him to life.

177. The First Eve

Issue: When G-d decided that a helpmate was needed for Adam, he created the first Eve in front of him, but he created her from inside out, disgusting Adam so much that he fled from Eve. That particular Eve was taken away, and her fate is unknown, thus G-d placed Adam into sleep and created the beautiful Eve for him. Another version is that Eve was brought to Adam as a bride, and Adam married her with great celebration.

178. What Happened to the First Eve?

Issue: The first woman that was created was much cleverer and stronger than Adam, causing Adam to be unhappy with her, thus he asks G-d to take her away and give him another one. G-d decided to listen to Adam and takes first woman away from him, but she asks a request of G-d of allowing a baby boy on fifth day to know his future. One hundred years later, Eve was created.

179. The Creation of Woman

Issue: A retelling of the Genesis story about how G-d decides that a helpmate is needed for Adam, how Adam is placed under sleep and how G-d creates Eve and brings her to Adam who claimed her as his.

180. The First Wedding

Issue: After creating everything He can, G-d decided to began to create Adam. G-d formed man from clay from four corners of earth and gave man life. Adam names all the animals, but G-d sees his loneliness and decides on creating a helpmate. As Adam was strolling in the garden, G-d puts Adam to sleep and creates Eve. Adam wakes up and sees Eve in front of him and proclaims her as his. G-d knew it was time to wed Adam and Eve, thus He prepared food. G-d also created wedding canopes and He attired Eve in a wedding dress, giving her more beauty. Angels and others witnessed the wedding, with G-d blessing Adam and Eve. Afterwards, a lot of others came over and joined them in celebrating the wedding.

To Be Continued...

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