Chavarah- Jewish Community Learning

A blog of Jewish study and traditions. Notes from classes: Torah Study with Rabbi Marder, Toledot and Shabbaton as well as other details found of interest.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Dvar Torah Presented at Asilomar on 7/26

PARASHAT Mattot Numbers 30:2-32:42

Studying Torah is like working on a difficult puzzle. So it is with this week’s portion, Mattot..

Mattot means “Tribes”. The leaders of the tribes are gathered. Moses speaks of the value of words. He describes the importance of oaths and vows that are sacred pledges. ( I could have stopped here and talked about the importance of keeping your word, but no, it goes on to even more troubling issues just before the part about Gad & Ruvin that Rabbi Sarah spoke of last night)

Mattot is full of anger, betrayal and even genocide. And this is the same Torah that teaches humanitarian ideals like “Welcome the stranger”, “Value life” and “Tzedek” Justice, our topic this weekend?

Mattot continues with God’s command to “Avenge the Israelites on the Midianites.”. (what does that mean?) We learned in Numbers Chapter 25 that some Midianites were responsible for Israelite transgressions and immorality. And we know that God’s biggest enemy is anything that tempts people to stray toward those really bad pagan practices and worshiping idols which was a major threat to their community and beliefs.

Moses tells the tribal leaders to “wreak the Lord’s vengeance on Midian”. This is something to question. Especially when you review the history and recall Moses’ previous connections to Midian. This was where he lived during those years between his flight from Egypt to his return to free the Israelites. Zipporah, his wife, was from Midian. And she was the daughter of Jethro, the same Jethro who advised Moses to delegate duties of judgment so he can better manage his responsibilities. And there is Balam who was the one who blessed the Israelites when he said, “How fair are your tents, O Jacob”.

Nevertheless, Moses raises an army, 1000 people from each tribe go off to battle. When they return to report the success of the mission without the loss of any Israelites, Moses is enraged, he says, “You have spared all the women”.(and of course it was the women’s fault they got in trouble.) He gives them new instructions to kill all the male children and every married woman.

It seems Moses, once again, needs some help in anger management. Perhaps he feels guilty or embarrassed about his connections to Midianites who caused the Israelites to get into trouble this time. In revenge, Moses has called for genocide.

I agree with Rabbi Marc Saperstein, in his commentary on Mattot, “this incitement to genocide should not be excused or overlooked; it is simply wrong.”

He says, “Our ethics tell us that genocide is wrong, and we may not suspend judgment on it: not for Moses, not for God. After all, what is Judaism for us? Many things, of course: ritual, a spiritual and social place, collective identity, but central to it all is the message of Justice! Tzedek, tzedek tirdof.” Justice, Justice shall you pursue.

Genocide is a crime against justice.

And there are other calls for Genocide in Torah. The Amalek in Exodus. And then the Canaanites.

So why call for genocide? What is the meaning? What is the message?
Possible interpretations of this has been responsible for terrible things in our history.

My research found that historically there is no evidence that this genocide happened. This massacre of the women and children never took place. And the Midianites show up again later in the Bible referenced in Joshua. Rabbi Marder explained, “this and similar passages, probably written centuries after the Israelites entered the land, express the Torah’s profound opposition to the abhorrent customs associated with pagan worship of that time, like child sacrifice, sexual orgies in the temple, etc.“

These practices were wrong.
But genocide is also wrong.
AND genocide is still very real in our world today.

Just last week Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, was formally charged with genocide in Darfur by the International Criminal Court. Persecution of people there has been going on since he came to power almost 10 years ago. About 3 million people have been killed or exiled from their homes and endure horrible atrocities. You many have seen the segment on 60 minutes about Darfur again this week. When will it end?

Throughout history on all continents there are examples of genocide:

In the Middle Ages the Christians persecuted those they deemed to be ‘heretics’

From the time of Columbus forward for centuries natives from the Canadian Artic to South America were murdered by those who immigrated from other places.

In the 1770’s a European invasion of Australia almost wiped out the Aboriginal people.

The 20th century saw genocide in so many places, just a few examples of these atrocities include: Mao Ze-Dong against Tibetans, Stalin’s purge of Ukrainians, The Armenian genocide in Turkey and of course Hitler’s reign in Europe.

And it continues. We hear the word genocide way too often in the news today.

Genocide isn’t an attack against an enemy like other wars, the victims are dehumanized and are seen as a detriment to society. In the case of the Midianites, they were seen as a threat to the Israelites faith, and to monotheism.

So, why is this call for genocide in Torah? There are no clear answers … only maybes:

  • Maybe it is a reminder that there will always be threats to our beliefs whether they are caused by other people, our own confusions or circumstances.
  • Maybe it is a message about the consequences of influencing others to do wrong or immoral acts.
  • Maybe it represents a call for annihilation of pagan practices.
  • Maybe this is a directive specifically to Moses to sever his ties with the Midianites and his own past connections with polytheism.
  • Maybe it is to remind us that genocide is real, even if this reference didn’t happen. We cannot ignore it, use it as a reminder to fight the injustice of it.

What do you think? What can we do? We DO need to take a stand against hate and the threat of genocide. To take action to help stop the atrocities in Darfur and other places where people are persecuted. I hope the ‘official’ charges against Bashir in the Sudan is a step toward ending the horror in Darfur.

The small things we do to protest CAN make a difference. Google Darfur. Learn more about what is happening there and, as Rabbi Sarah said last night, raise your moral consciousness and then share it and help others to see the need to help. Participate in political action events, write letters to our political leaders, donate to causes to help the victims. Work to end intolerances within ourselves. Teach tolerance to our children. Do something next week to remind the world that Genocide is wrong.

I want to end by reading a poem by Emtithal Mahmoud –
a 13 year old Darfur refugee now living in the US.

What Would You Do?

What would you do if
your town was bombed

And everything near it was gone?

What would you do if
you were cold and alone,

And cast to the streets without a home?

What would you do if
someone killed your mom and dad?

And you had lost everything you had?

What would you do if
you were shattered and broken

Because you have witnessed
the unspoken?

If you run, where would you go?

If you died, would anyone know?

I myself would pray
And hope for a better day.


R. Marder – email

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Inequality and Work! It started there...

7/19 Genesis:3 17-19

(notes are a bit sketchy this week – sorry)

Equal or Not

Originally there was equality between Adam and Eve – Man and Woman
Then woman was made to be submissive

“song of songs” refers to the return to equality.
Well put in this website:
“The Song celebrates their mutual attraction and satisfaction. The Song also celebrates and restores equality to the male / female relation.”

“Because you did as your wife said”...
interesting that this implies that Adam listened to Eve and not to God.

Book Reference:
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman

Noted that marriages are happier when the wife’s influence is accepted.
And when each takes responsibility for what they do.

God is also learning about Adam and Eve’s growing need for each other. The need for human connection is strong.

There is a professor in Chicago (missed the name) who wrote about how women were responsible for the elevation of human kind. Curiosity is a major factor in our growth of knowledge and progress.

(here is a very different scientific look at the situation:
The Mitochondrial Eve theory )

Adam’s Punishment

The punishment fit the crime...

The ground was cursed (not sure why Adam’s sin had to be taken out on the ground)
He had to toil to eat
Thorns and Thistles

Basically it is going to be harder to live in the world. You will have to learn agriculture!

The land will resist and often make it more difficult to grow food.

Land is connected to human behavior.

Hasidic story: “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread” . . . After heavy exertion it is not so good to eat too much!

Attitudes toward work:
From the very beginning Adam was to work to keep the world and improve on it.

After the episode with the fruit, however, work became a burden.

Work can improve upon what you have been given.

Psalm 128: When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you.

This is about the ability to take care of yourself and support yourself.

Work gives dignity to people’s lives.

Pirke Avot:
one should always teach his child a clean and easy trade – to leave time for study!

Note from Norm Martello (hope I got this right)

The tension between the way people re needing other rather than how they could be (totally independent)

16 - “Your craving...shall rule over you”
Your desire can rule over you, so how can you make a balance?

Give and Take: to sometimes lead and dominate, to sometimes being take care of in your subservience. This is how we deal together with ‘thorns and thistles and the sweat of your brow’ (G 3:18)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Snakes and Women - Both Punished!

Torah Study 7/12

So thanks to Howard for sharing his notes -

More on the snake, Genesis 3:14-15
o A Chassidic tale: snakes crawl on their belly. If people get too fat, their bellies grow, making walking more difficult and more like a snake. Moral: take frequent exercise walks.

o A snake’s head is at the same elevation as the rest of its body as it crawls. With its reptilian brain, there is little difference between body and intellect. Human heads – i.e., egos, are (usually) above the body. Stamping on a snake’s head symbolizes moderation of the ego, bringing it down to a lower level.

o Why is the snake, an animal, punished? The snake seems like another person; it has legs, a voice, and is sentient. It’s actually a metaphysical animal, a voice within people, helping to justify things we don’t need. It has a dual nature, both animal and human. The whole story, including the punishment, ties people to their animal nature.

o The order of punishment reflects the seriousness of the “sin.” The snake was the most egregious, then woman, then man.

· Genesis 3:16 on the woman’s punishment [she hasn’t been named “Eve” yet]

Who or what is Lilith? The only reference in the bible is in Isaiah 34:14 and it’s vague and undefined to people today. Perhaps that means that people knew Lilith then and didn’t need any explanation. Lilith became a flying demon after the first creation story. Although she was created equal to Adam, they…

o … never found peace together; for when he wished to lie with her, she took offence at the recumbent posture he demanded. 'Why must I lie beneath you?' she asked. 'I also was made from dust, and am therefore your equal.' Because Adam tried to compel her obedience by force, Lilith, in a rage, uttered the magic name of God, rose into the air and left him.

o Adam complained to God: 'I have been deserted by my helpmeet' God at once sent the angels Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof to fetch Lilith back. They found her beside the Red Sea, a region abounding in lascivious demons, to whom she bore lilim at the rate of more than one hundred a day. 'Return to Adam without delay,' the angels said, `or we will drown you!' Lilith asked: `How can I return to Adam and live like an honest housewife, after my stay beside the Red Sea?? 'It will be death to refuse!' they answered. `How can I die,' Lilith asked again, `when God has ordered me to take charge of all newborn children: boys up to the eighth day of life, that of circumcision; girls up to the twentieth day. None the less, if ever I see your three names or likenesses displayed in an amulet above a newborn child, I promise to spare it.' To this they agreed; but God punished Lilith by making one hundred of her demon children perish daily; and if she could not destroy a human infant, because of the angelic amulet, she would spitefully turn against her own.

NOTE: More about this at my “traditions” web page and the blog:
This picture is from Sefer Raziel, Amsterdam 1701

o [This is an excerpt from Chapter 10: “Adam's Helpmeets “ in The Hebrew Myths by Robert Graves and Raphael Patai, New York: Doubleday, 1964., Pages 65-69.]
The Kabbalistic version is that Lilith is the temptress of single men. His nocturnal emissions give birth to demons.

The Lilith legend reflects women’s fears in childbirth, how vulnerable she is.
Ellen Frankel’s version – “Lilith the Rebel”[The Five Books of Miriam, page xvii]:

o “I am the woman, crated at the same moment as the first man. Together we were Adam, a single creature, a being-formed-of-red-earth, the first human. But Adam resented our equal status in the garden, and so I left Paradise to fend for myself. I am the voice of protest. I challenge received wisdom, especially the truths taught by men who have not consulted their mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters. My goal is to upset the applecart, bite the serpent back, to look back and see the fire without turning to salt, to give the rabbis a piece of my mind. I seek the truth buried under the mountains of tradition. My spade is as sharp as my tongue and wit!”

o Take that, you men!
Another reference: Jewish Myths and Superstitions by Joshua Trachtenberg. Cleveland
and New York: World Publishing Co., and Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1939, 1961.
According to Rashi, there were three different punishments.

1. your sorrow This refers to the pain of child rearing. — [from Eruv. 109b]
On the “sorrow”, Aviva Zornberg [The Beginnings of Desire. Philadelphia, JPS, 1995] writes that the separation of the child from the mother forms the basis of this sorrow. Such separation is negotiated, like a teen leaving home for college or a child finally moving out of the house permanently. This phenomenon is similar to an artist creating a sculpture from raw materials – the piece has to be coaxed out the material.
2. and your pregnancy This refers to the pain of pregnancy. — [from above source] 3. in pain you shall bear children This refers to the pain of childbirth. — [from Gen. Rabbah 20:6]

Abravanel’s commentary – women are more sensitive to pain.

These plus Rashi represent a male perspective. Men were in awe of the dual nature of pregnancy and birth. Despite the creation of new life, there were many deaths in childbirth.

Others thought the menstruation cycle was the curse.

Radak believed long pregnancy was the punishment.

The Women’s Torah Commentary (page 16) has a different view.

  • Toil is separated from pain and sorrow. Toil refers to the labor or work required to survive in the Ancient Near East. Pain and sorrow is for the children…
  • “Neither imposes” – this is an explanation of what happens, not what should happen. Women are not subject to this punishment forever, like the serpent.
Elie Munk on pain
  • Doesn’t apply to a righteous woman such as Yocheved (Moses’ mother)
  • It’s permissible to lessen the pain of childbirth with human intervention, such as anesthetics and other drugs; it’s always been done.
Nahum Sarna – pain is associated with the enlarged head from human cerebral cortex which was acquired from the Tree of Knowledge. This brings up the issue of altritial vs precotial characteristics [Biologists – Help!]

o “Desire to rule over you”
• Rashi - And to your husband will be your desire for intimacy, but, nevertheless, you will not have the audacity to demand it of him with your mouth, but he will rule over you. Everything is from him and not from you. — [from Eruv. ad loc.]. In other words, there is a general subservience because of the disobedience; the woman is no longer in charge.

• Nachmanides (Ramban) – God punished the woman…

• “…that her desire for her husband be exceedingly great and that she should not be deterred by the pain of pregnancy and birth or that he keeps her as a maid-servant. Now it is not customary for a servant to desire to acquire a master over himself, rather his desire is to flee from him. Thus her punishment is measure for measure; she gave [the fruit of the tree of knowledge] also to her husband and heat at her command, and He [God] punished her that she should no longer command him, but instead he should command her entirely at his will. [Clavel translation, page 84]

o In other words, the man is in charge.

• The general Jewish view on sex is that man is responsible and it’s a woman’s prerogative. In Christianity, it’s vice versa. In Talmud Ketuvim, the amount of sex owed by the husband to the wife is specified based on the man’s profession and how often he is away from home on business.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Humans will Disobey

What it is to be human:

Humans Have Free Will
Humans Will Disobey
Disobedience Will Have Consequences

From analysis of individual words to micro and macro analysis of the meanings, this week’s Torah Study was full of details.

The word AYEKA: Where are you?
The same letters make the word Eicha which refers to an expression of woe and is the first word in the book of Lamemtations and sometimes translated as ‘wherefore’ in the sense of mourning or a feeling of loss.

I found that this parallel is often mentioned on Tisha b’Av in the dvar Torah here are two links I found:

Eicha - Ayeka

“Eicha yashava badad…?” “Eicha” speaks about the national trauma that befell the people when they cut themselves off from Hashem and found themselves alone amongst the nation. . .

“Ayeka” is our own individual “wake up call” to rebuild ourselves from the inside and give ourselves Spiritual workouts . . .

Adam’s answer:
“I heard your voice” This is also an idiom in Hebrew – In Biblical Hebrew it is more to Obey and in Modern Hebrew it is more to listen.

The same word is used when God speaks to Abraham and tells him to listen to what Sarah says when she urges him to expel Hagar: Shema b'kolah

(side note here is an interesting link to idioms in the Bible but it didn’t include this one)

There is irony in that Adam heard the sound and yet was afraid because he was naked. Even though it just said that they covered themselves with fig leaves.
Scholar’s Interpretations:

14th Century Portuguese philosopher
But it all centers around how Adam is being deceptive in his answer. His answer implies modesty rather than guilt.

- - -
Don’t Pray Naked (Unless you are in a Mikvah)

At face value this is the source that says you should not be in the presence of God naked
Don’t pray without clothes at least below the waist – in some Hasidic communities they wear a cloth belt, called a gartel, during prayer to divide the body. - found on internet that some take it as a symbol of "girding one's loins with strength"--a potent biblical image.

Another internet site:
Equates the gartel with a weightlifter’s belt! “wearing the right belt allows better posture and balance to lift a tremendous load of weight. The Jewish people wear another type of belt. They wear a belt that harnesses a spiritual strength and serves as a catalyst to utilize basic human drives and desires towards positive and productive accomplishments.”

This is further verified in Exodus 20:23 where is says not to ascend steps to the tabernacle and show nakedness. And again in Exodus 28 where priests were told to wear britches! (the first underwear)

This also, in part, is the source for the tradition that denigrates the body in thought which we are trying to overcome in modern culture.
- - -

Back to Adam’s recoil from responsibility

There is a chain of evasion – blame it on modesty, blame it on Eve, blame it on the snake... And worst of all blame it on God..

Rashi : Pay attention to goodness.

When Adam blames Eve he says: on the woman who You gave me.

Therefore it is blame on God too. Adam denied the goodness of God here – he is hiding from responsibility.

Nachmonidies: “You gave woman to me and therefore Adam is justified in following what she said to do.”
- - -

Spelling of ‘You gave’ (nun – tav – tav – hay) includes the name of God ne tah tah – unusual spelling in the feminine
“her who You gave”
- - -
God as the therapist – Ken suggested that Adam look at the view: “what would it take to make this right?”
- - -
This is the beginning of the process of teshuvah.
- - -

Comparison of Adam’s excuses to Abraham’s answer to the similar question: “Henane”
This would make a great dvar Torah! - found a few on line but not many!

Hasidic Teaching of misogyny from this passage:
Why was it Eve’s fault?
She beat Adam with a stick to make him eat.
This came from yet more etymology of min HaEtz – as the Etz part could be read as a ‘stick’.

Another interpretation I saw on the internet shows it as ‘Hamin HaEtz hazeh’ and shows that HAMIN was present and interjecting evil. (a bit far reaching but has been used in other places too)

Harve C notes that we should interpret the whole segment as a ‘change in human status’.

Jews do not believe in original sin but this is where Christianity finds that concept and thus needed Jesus to help take away that sin of Adam.

“Who told you that you were naked?” - good question – Was it the serpent? The woman? Who?

Etymology: Hebrew word (vav aleph haf lamed) - I WILL EAT – which acknowledges that he will continue to do this.

God turns to Eve: What have you done?

Was she even there when the commandment was given? Is it a rhetorical question?
Maybe she was there because she was made from Adam and therefore was part of him when he was commanded.

But she blames the serpent....

God punishes the serpent first: Genesis 3:14-15 – First punishment in accordance with the crime to the serpent who will crawl on his belly and eat dust.

It is important to know that it is important not to influence others to do wrong.

It is a punishment in accordance with the crime.

AND there is a natural fear of snakes by humans. This has been verified by scientific studies:

Book Reference: Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts
by Terry Burnham & Jay Phelan

We overcome fear of snakes by knowledge not instinct....

Think about it... Definitely relevant to the passage!

NEW Contemporary Jewish Museum

NEW Contemporary Jewish Museum – A MUST SEE!!!
We went to this over the weekend and it is AMAZING....
There are photos of some of the Beth Am Family too!!!! Go and see who is featured on the wall paper in the “Being Jewish: A Bay Area Portrait!”
(I was surprised to see myself on their wall!)

In the Beginning: Artists Respond to Genesis explores the continuing relevance of the story of creation in Genesis Chapter I.
The exhibit on Genesis displays art from the ancient to modern interpretations. When you go do take time to watch the video presentation which offers commentary by many Jewish leaders and educators with different points of view.

Also the exhibit tribute to William Steig is delightful. From his cartoons in the New Yorker to his introduction of the loveable Shrek! (Did you know that Shrek is a Yiddish word?)

You can learn more about William Steig here.

The Aleph Bet Sound Exhibit We have often heard that each letter of the Aleph Bet has multiple meanings and stories, but in this exhibit you learn the sound interpretation of the letters. It is in the most disorienting white room but definitely a different place to sit, listen and feel like you are in a different world.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Sound of God

Torah Study 6/28 with Rabbi Marder

Gen 3:8-9
They heard God in the garden.

May have been a breezy day in the evening.

Kol Adonai: the voice or sound of God ‘walking in the garden’.

Why did God ‘make a sound’? To warn Adam and Eve that God was there, to give them a chance to hide?

Midrash: Don’t look on a person in his moment of disgrace. Give him some privacy. Find a more sensitive way to approach this person. As God made a sound to give them notice of his presence before God spoke.

Don’t burst in on someone without warning.

It is like Derech Eretz – Good Manners, Respect, Decency. Sechel (yiddish) Good sense; common sense

Guide to good behavior – beyond the golden rule!

Rabbi Eli Munk had a different interpretation: That with Adam’s sin God began to withdraw. With each sin of man God withdrew more. It wasn’t until Moses and the Tabernacle that God returned to dwell with the people.

Midrash: There is time in history when God’s presence is closer to the people, but when men behave badly it pushes God away. This separation of God from man is not the normal state. When God and man are together things are in harmony.

A parallel to teenagers who push their parents away to become more independent but most often will re-connect after a time of separation.

Why Would Adam & Eve Hide? Where did they hide?

The man and woman hid among (betok) the tree – some say it is the same tree that they ate the fruit of. Possibly a fig tree.

They felt shame and no longer stood upright.

- -

Cannot silence the voice of their own consciousness: Like when you do something wrong and it just will not go away from your thoughts.

Parallel to Edgar Allan Poe’s Tell Tale Heart.
“The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct: --It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness --until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

No doubt I now grew very pale; --but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased --and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound --much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath --and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly --more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men --but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed --I raved --I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder --louder --louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! --no, no! They heard! --they suspected! --they knew! --they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now --again! --hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!"”

- -

General themes:
Estrangement is the heart of the message.
Birth of Adam and Eve and separation and independence from the creator.
Self Awareness and discomfort with oneself.
- -

“WHERE ARE YOU?” God asks Adam

Why would God ask this, God knows where he is.


God was only speaking to Adam because he was the one who received the commandment and disobeyed.

God ‘asked’ as a way to enter a conversation. It was not to suddenly punish him for disobedience. This is a technique to discover a sense of self understanding and reflection. It gives him a chance to admit what he had done first before being punished.

Rabbi Mark Gellman noted that this is similar to a parent calling their child by the first and middle name!
Link to great article:

“The shortest question in the Torah is, remarkably, God's first question in the Torah. It is a question asked in Genesis 3:9. Adam and Eve had just eaten some fruit from the forbidden tree and, sensing God's presence in the Garden of Eden, they hid among the trees. While they were hiding, God asked Adam a one-word question. In Hebrew that word is ayeka? In English it means, "Where are you?"”

Book Reference:
God: A Biography by Jack Miles :
About the relationship development between God and man.

Book Reference:
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes

Wikipedea reference to this philosophy:

“ At one time, human nature was split in two, an executive part called a god, and a follower part called a man. Neither part was Consciously aware. ”

According to Jaynes, ancient people in the bicameral state would function in a manner similar to that of a modern-day schizophrenic. Rather than making conscious evaluations in novel or unexpected situations, the person would hallucinate a voice or "god" giving admonitory advice or commands, and obey these voices without question. Others have argued that this state of mind is recreated in members of cults.

Our consciousness has changed over time. Before it was experienced as a voice outside ourselves. A change of response made it more integrated to within ourselves.

It was suggested that this may relate to literacy.

Adam hears a voice from somewhere else rather than from within himself. This initiates his awareness of his disobedience.

This is not as much about knowledge as it is about discipline.

Book Reference:
The Way of Man: According to the Teachings of Hasidism (Routledge Classics) by Martin Buber


Do you believe the Torah is eternal?

Is it about what happens all the time?

IF so, then God’s asking “where are you?” is asking all of us rather than just Adam.

And it is constantly asking where are we in our lives.

We might try to hide from the answer.

We try to overcome the requirement to answer for our actions.