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Exposition of Genesis, Part 3

September 23, 2013

 ארורה האדמה בעבורך בעצבון תאכלנה כל ימי חייך: יח וקוץ ודרדר תצמיח לך ואכלת את-עשב השדה: יט בזעת אפיך תאכל לחם עד שובך אל-האדמה כי ממנה לקחת כי-עפר אתה ואל-עפר תשוב:

If mankind would have remained as G-d intended, and lived peacefully according to His directives, all of the hardships of day to day existence could be eliminated. When people learn once again to truly cooperate, they will once again enjoy the world as intended and as described above.

כ ויקרא האדם שם אשתו חוה כי הוא היתה אם כל-חי: כא ויעש יהוה אלהים לאדם ולאשתו כתנות עור וילבשם:
  כב ויאמר | יהוה אלהים הן האדם היה כאחד ממנו לדעת טוב ורע ועתה | פן-ישלח ידו ולקח גם מעץ החיים ואכל וחי לעלם: כג וישלחהו יהוה אלהים מגן-עדן לעבד את-האדמה אשר לקח משם: כד ויגרש את-האדם וישכן מקדם לגן-עדן את-הכרבים ואת להט החרב המתהפכת לשמר את-דרך עץ החיים:

See the end of Deuteronomy. The Torah of Moses was placed in the Ark and guarded by the cherubim in order to be protected, because although Torah study can be  approached by one “who has eaten of all the trees of the garden,” it cannot be approached by those who have eaten of the Tree of knowledge. It was therefore necessary to start a new, pure people who could be free of that taint and merit to receive and utilize the Torah. Moses also warned us to choose the good and life over the bad and death, because even though the Garden has been opened to the Jewish people, the Tree of Knowledge is still there too!

The next chapter deals with Cain and his descendants. Cain, the first murderer, begets children who are the first musicians, metal smiths, and cattle herders. Lamech boasts of his perceived impunity. As others have pointed out, this chapter shows that corrupted man, although having the capacity to create culture and civilization, is still corrupt, and the ultimate result of his grand achievements, like its origin, is bloodshed. R’ Bronspigel liked to say that this describes early 20th century Germany, which arrogated herself as the peak of human development, yet then committed the greatest crime of history.

Cain’s line is in contrast to Adam’s third son, Seth, who is born in the first man’s image, i.e., he contained the potential to produce uncorrupted men who would potentially earn access to the Tree of Life.

The genealogical lists of Adam’s descendants are some sort of esoteric code. Note how every generation live for well over 900 years, including Noah, but that Noah’s father lives to be 777, and that Enoch, who is “taken” by G-d, is the seventh generation and lives for 365 years, the number of negative commandments, the gematriya of Abraham, and the number of days in a solar year.

Note also the steady decline in lifespans after the flood. Note how many of those generations give birth in their thirties, then live on for some 400 more years, and after Peleg, some 200 more years, and that Terah begets his children at the age of 70. This is more than mere coincidence.

As Rashi points out, the Torah begins with these stories to show that G-d created the world, and decides which parts of it to give to whom. The ensuing flood story is an ethical monotheistic interpretation of an ancient Mesopotamian tradition/legend of a flood that practically destroyed mesopotamian society. In the pagan versions, no real ethical or moral lessons are present, but this version does have a moral: that a society as a whole is responsible for its actions and subject to divine scrutiny and punishment. This foreshadows the story of the Sodomites, who, by being the first Canaanites to be eliminated from the promised land, themselves foreshadow the fate/judgment reserved for the rest of the Canaanites upon Israel’s entry to the land.

Once again, the numbers and dates associated with the Noah narrative are some esoteric code that has long since been obscured.

The story also includes a mosaic understanding of the uniqueness of man, the sanctity of life, and the obligation of the courts to rid society of murderers.

The genealogical lists that appear before the Tower of Babel story go into detail concerning the descendants of Ham and Canaan specifically because it was Canaan’s land that was to be given to the Chosen people and because Ham’s greatest descendants would found the empire which would dominate both the Chosen people during their formative years and the Land of Canaan for most of the historical period described by the Pentateuch from Abraham until the Exodus, while a specific Hamite, Nimrod, whose name means “we will rebel,” plays a fundamental role in the re-corruption of human society and provoking the activity of Abraham. No details are given about the activities or specific borders of the Semites or Japethites, although, for example, the Japethites would become the most numerous and build even bigger empires Semites were to, of course, produce the Jews.

As such, actual history begins with the story of Abraham, and it is at that point that the narrative deals with real life situations and actual historical figures, like the Pharaohs and Hammurabi (Amraphel).

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