Sunday, December 05, 2004

Equality lost

R. Henkin, in his book, titled Equality Lost, in the title essay, discusses the relationship between Adam and Chava, and how the sin of eating from the tree occured. He takes a very peshat driven approach. Firstly, there is the well known difference between what Hashem tells Adam, and what Chava tells the snake, with regard to the tree. Hashem tells Adam not to eat from the fruit, and Chava tells the snake that she is not allowed to eat or TOUCH THE TREE. Different meforshim hold that either Chava added it herself, or that Adam added it when he passed Hashem's command on to Chava. Obviously, if Adam added the command, then it would be a sign of distrust, or disrespect. R. Henkin goes further. He notes that the snake tells Chava about the tree, the implication being that Chava did not know the name of the tree or what would happen if she ate from it. The fact that Adam did not tell Chava the name of the tree also is an indication of disrespect. From this episode, R. Henkin (much more elegantly than I), puts the blame for the eating incident not only on Chava's shoulders, but also on Adam's, for not trusting his mate,for thinking that(to quote Jack Nickelson) "You cant handle the truth."

R. Henkin goes on to show other places where disrespect(zilzul- as he puts it) impacts negatively on the Biblical history. Noach, when leaving the ark, puts his sons before his wife, Ya'akov travels all over the land of Israel on his way back from Lavan, before he goes to visit his parents. in each instance he shows how the disrespect led directly to bad consequences. I am still trying to figure out what to think about the story of Dina, and what Rav. Henkin would say about it.

(note: I am blogging this ONLY because it speaks to me, not in response to what occured on the blog this past week. I do have some more I want to discuss(and opinions of course) but I need some time to go through it and figure out what I want to say. )

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