From the very beginning, multiple perspectives are layered into Judaism.
From the very beginning, multiple perspectives are layered into Judaism. This week we read Parshat Bereishit. The first chapter tells the story of the creation of the world in six days, culminating in Shabbat. Creation is an orderly process. God speaks, and light separates from darkness, heavens and oceans part, continents rise obediently from the seas. Nameless human beings are created, male and female, in the image of a powerful God.
The second chapter tells an entirely different creation story. This one is messy and emotional. God digs in the dirt to shape Adam. Adam is lonely, and gives part of his body for God to flesh into Eve. Immediately, the couple begin testing boundaries and stretching relationships.
I think of the first creation story as I stand in my kitchen, calling out pre-Shabbat orders to my family. “Shira, I need you to unload the dishwasher.” “Zev, it’s your turn to take out recycling.” And in my fantasies, the house becomes neat and orderly.
But when neither of my children shows up to do their chores, I remember God lovingly shaping Adam from clay. I walk to the kids’ bedrooms. I put my hand on Shira’s shoulder. I kiss Zev’s head. I look each child in the eye, ask about her day, check if he is hungry, and then ask again about the dishwasher and the recycling.