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A gendered reading of the creation stories and understanding the roots of patriarchal thinking

by Tamir Ashman

In the book of Genesis there are two stories describing the creation of man, which are completely different from each other. The first story of creation, which appears in chapter 1, succinctly describes the process of the creation of the world and the creation of man, as well as the initial relationship between God and his human creatures. On the other hand, the second creation story, which appears in chapter 2, describes at relative length a process of hierarchical birth, in which the man was born as the firstborn of humanity, and from his rib the woman was created. The story is known as "The Original Sin" and continues until the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge leading to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden.

Reading these stories provides an important glimpse into the ancient relations between the sexes, which lay the foundations of patriarchal thinking and the perception of power relations between men and women even in today's gender reality. In the current article I will try to mention that alongside the familiar patriarchal reality, where relationships are based on the man's control over the woman, an alternative story is hidden in the book of Genesis, which presents the possibility of other relationships, based on cooperation, mutual recognition and an equal position. Throughout the article, to avoid gender characterization, I have chosen to use the word "deity" rather than the words "god" or "God".

For me, reading the stories of the Bible is an ancient and breathing love. The Bible provides me with deep insights into culture and society, into interpersonal and group behavior, and into the inner-psychic struggles of the biblical heroes. I hope I will be able to convey the curiosity and excitement I experience with the biblical verses as part of my ongoing dialogue with the roots of Jewish thinking.

For the past twenty years I have been treating men who behave violently in the intimate space of the couple, as part of a center for the prevention of domestic violence in Tel Aviv. During these years I have accompanied dozens of men who face a difficult reality of life, who without realizing it perpetuate the punishment of the first person in their lives, and condemn themselves to a life of controlling their emotional world and controlling their partner. The courageous sharing of these men in the therapeutic groups greatly influenced the writing of this article. The personal struggle of my male patients to break free from the shackles of patriarchal culture gives me a firm belief in our ability as a society to break free from this oppressive culture.

In his book "On Human Aggression" the anthropologist Ashley Montagu wrote: "The doctrine of original sin was one of the most powerful and influential principles of the Judeo-Christian faith" (Montagu, 1978). Indeed, most of us remember and know the story of the creation of man, according to which the man was created first, while the woman was created from his side. In light of the gender reality described in the Bible, which has taken root in culture and is reflected even today, it is no coincidence that the earlier version, which tells the story of the equal birth of the first man and woman, has been forgotten from the collective memory.

Personally, I have never connected with the perception of man as a sinner or evil from his youth. In all the decades that I have been treating men who behave violently, I have not met a single bad person. I met many men who felt bad inside the patriarchal cage. Evil is not the motive for acts of subjugation, control and violence, but the anxiety at the basis of human existence.

Pretentious as it may sound, in this article I seek to "exonerate" Adam and Eve from their actions that expand human boundaries, and describe the punishment as a narrative choice that aims to teach and perpetuate the patriarchal reality that will be born and rooted from those days to the present day; A reality from which we seek to wean ourselves. The article consists of two parts, in the first part I will present the story of original sin (Genesis chapters 2-3), and in the second part I will describe a different reality of relationships between men and women, ones that are based on faith in the other, on mutual relations and cooperation.

The Creation of Man: The Version of Original Sin

Genesis chapter 2 verses 7-9, 16:

And Jehovah God created man, dust from the ground, and breathed into his mouth, the breath of life; And man became a living soul. And Jehovah God erred, in the Garden of Eden--before; And he put there, the man he had created. And Jehovah God grew out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to look at, and good for food - and the tree of life, in the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

And Jehovah God commanded the man to say: Of every tree of the garden you may eat. And the tree, the knowledge of good and evil--you shall not eat from it: because, in the day you eat from it--you will die.

That's how it started. God created man from dust and put into his human lungs his breath that gave him life. In order to exist, man needs a physical space, and God created a habitat for him, where he is placed when his destiny is defined for him - to keep the garden. Only one limit is set for the first man: not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the patriarchal reality the covenant between God and humanity is made between God and the male. The woman will be born as his little sister later.

Genesis chapter 2 verses 18-2:

andJehovah God said, It is not good for man to be alone; I will help him, against him. And Jehovah God created from the ground, every animal of the field and every bird of the sky, and he came to the man to see what he would call him; And everything that man calls a living soul, that is his name. And the man called names, to every beast and to the bird of the sky, and to every beast of the field; And for Adam, he did not find help against him. And Jehovah God caused sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; And he took one of his ribs, and closed the flesh, and married. And Jehovah God built the rib that he took from the man into a woman; And he brought her to the man. And he said, Man, this time is bone of my flesh, and flesh of my flesh; That is why it is called a woman, because it is taken from a man. Therefore, a man will leave his father and his mother; And he clung to his wife, and they were of one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife; And no, they will be confused.

Not good for man to be alone

In the verse it is not good for man to be alone, God is attentive and empathetic to the needs of the first man. He seems to recognize the human dependence from which man "suffers". God recognizes that he created an animal whose soul is different from that of the rest of mankind; An animal that cannot be satisfied with relations with creation but needs an additional soul. Recognizing his plight, the Father-God observes the man he created, and notices that he suffers from loneliness and existential emptiness in the Garden of Eden and offers him help - a search for another soul that will complete him. 

I will help him, against him

The Father-God's search for the "helper against him" for the first man is fascinating, and has many interpretations in the Bible. I find in the therapy groups many men who use this verse to justify in their eyes the destructive power in the hands of the woman: "The woman was created against the man", "She only wants to fail me", "She tries to seduce me by force, and then when she gets what she wants she already You don't treat me", "Well, it's well known, the man is the sun and the woman is the moon".

In my eyes this is a flattening of the expression. In fact, the combination of the words "help against" embodies a deep paradox that always exists in interpersonal relationships - the "paradox of recognition", which is based on dual relationships between the need for recognition from the other and the need for independence and autonomy. The word "help" is opposed to the word "against", and the word "against" has different meanings - to oppose (Oppose to a man but also to be beside him (Beside), as a mirror for him. Between the male and the female there is a duality; the first person discovers that he can give validity to the animals, But he cannot validate himself and his existence; he needs his complement. He discovers that he is a social animal who depends on someone to recognize him, from whom he can create a definition of selfhood and separateness and at the same time surrender to her, stick to her and become one flesh with her.

From the meetings with my male patients and also in my personal life, I find that this position, which prefers independence over dependence, has a kind of perpetuation of the traditional gender roles: an independent and controlling man, a dependent and submissive woman. The concept held by men and women, according to which dependence on a woman is a negative situation, is a futile and illusory attempt to find a solution to a paradoxical situation, which by definition cannot be resolved. In healthy relationships there is constantly a flexible movement between dependence and independence.

The recognition paradox, formulated by Jessica Benjamin in her book "The Ropes of Love" (2005), describes a complex human tension in which the condition for our independent existence is the need for the recognition of the other. True independence means the existence of the essential tension between opposing needs, namely, on the one hand, the need for self-expression, and on the other hand, the need for the other's recognition of that independence. The control of the other stems from the refusal to accept the constant tension between these two forces and is a forceful solution that subordinates the needs of dependence to the unprovoked control of independence. The same goes for self-control.

The first man is placed in a complex situation, where on the one hand he receives the power of independent control over the animal and plant world, and also the control over the woman who was created from him, but on the other hand he depends on that woman, that she will recognize his independence, that she will give validity to his existence and that she will provide a balm for his loneliness. Thus the first man's desire for control and independence is in constant struggle with his need for recognition and validation. The recognition of duality is actually the recognition of mutual relations and dependent relations between the man and the woman. The most important point is that the patriarchal way of thinking tries to offer a hierarchical solution to a situation which by definition is paradoxical and unsolvable. Benjamin nicely formulated this paradoxical situation by saying "control is a distortion of love" (Benjamin, 2005).

andJehovah God created from the ground, every animal of the field and every bird of the sky, and he came to the man to see what he would call him; And whatever the man calls a living soul, that is his name.

Imagine how God takes the first man on a tour and shows him the entire animal kingdom, and together with him they unsuccessfully look for "help against him" for the first man. In fact, an important cognitive development is described here, which will continue throughout human history; Man learns to control creation through human language, a fact that is reflected in his ability to name everything that is created:And everything that man calls a living soul, that is his name.

The first man began his development by bringing order to his environment by sorting out the animal world. This is the first scientific reference to nature (Soloveitchik, 2001). Language gives man a kind of paradoxical blessing-curse: on the one hand, it provides him with the illusion of certainty, the ability to control and predict, but by the very act of speaking, we as if give birth within ourselves to the "viewer", the witness to reality. Thus in fact we are separated and divided from that reality to which we seek to devote ourselves and with which we seek to unite. "By the very fact that we speak in potential from the very beginning, we have always been divided and separated from nature" (Kristeva, 2009).

In my day-to-day meetings with my male patients, I can practically see the connection between the lack of language and the ability to communicate and the difficulty in giving verbal and mental validity to the inner world. Many men are as if trapped inside a mute inner world that expresses itself through body behavior (acting out) and psycho-physical symptoms. The well-known philosopher of language Ludwig Wittgenstein claimed that the limits of language and the "verbal play" of humans determine and define the limits of their world (Wittgenstein, 1956). It seems that since the book of Genesis, man, the male, the man, as if practiced giving names and language to his external space, but remained mute and powerless in his ability to name and define in words phenomena related to his bubbling inner world. Part of the traditional gender conditioning process (socialization) distances men from their ability to give language to emotional phenomena that occur within them. The other side of a reality lacking emotional language is the loss of many men's ability to give validation and compassionate listening to people close to them.

And Jehovah God caused sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; And he took one of his ribs, and closed the flesh, and married. And Jehovah God built the rib that he took from the man into a woman.

This verse describes the process of the birth of the first woman to humanity. She was born from the human body, flesh from his flesh, his genetic duplication, in the first surgical operation in human history. The term "woman" is a combination of man (the first person) with the addition of the letter "A". The patriarchal creation story offers a solution to the biological male inferiority - the man who does not have the biological ability to give birth is the one who actually "gives birth" to the woman. And so in a kind of patriarchal trick the man takes from the woman the Her unique power comes from her biological ability to give birth. God gives birth to man, man gives birth to woman, and woman gives birth to sons who perpetuate the rule of man.

And he said, Man, this time is bone of my flesh, and flesh of my flesh; That is why it is called a woman, because it is taken from a man.

This is how the ceremony of giving names to all that is created actually ends. In a process similar to the process in which the first man gave names to the entire animal kingdom and thus ensured his lordship and control over the material world, he gives the name to the first woman created from him. It is defined by a name that perpetuates the power relations between the sexes, through the man from whom it was created. Only at the end of the divine judgment on original sin, in which the first man actually receives legal validity from the divine authority to rule and govern his wife, he changes her name from wife to Eve - and the man called his wife's name Eve: for she was the mother of all living (chapter 3:20). The woman was born from the merciless man, but despite this he controls her identity and can change her name. From Genesis, the man is presented as a kind of small and tyrannical God of the family system.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil

The mental tension of the first man reaches its peak in the story of the tree of knowledge. And Jehovah God spoke to man, saying: Of every tree of the garden, you shall eat of it. And of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat from it: for in that day Depart from us--death, death ( Genesis 2:16). For the first time a limit is set for the first person. When he reaches the border, curiosity and the desire to expand and break it are born inside him. This is how we humans are built, and this is how we create our selves in the processes of separation (separation-individuation). The Book of Genesis presents to the first man a complex psychological situation, in which he is torn between the need to obey the authority of the Father-God, and the demand or the need to create separation from his parents and devote himself to his relationship with his partner: Therefore, a man will leave his parents and his mother ; And he clung to his wife, and they became one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

The first mental conflict that the first man faces is Eve's invitation to eat from the tree of knowledge. If he decides in favor of devoting himself to a woman, he will violate the divine commandment (not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge). Who will he be loyal to? Man's first heroic act is the beginning of human history, because it is the beginning of human freedom (Fromm, 1975). I am sure that many parents of teenage children know that the separation of boys and girls from their parents is done through moments and gestures of disobedience. Disobedience is a blessed human trait, which actually makes human society evolve.

According to Soloveitchik (2001) the first man was punished by expulsion from the Garden of Eden because he saw himself as an independent and separate being that did not need others. He attributes unlimited importance to himself and his actions; He rebels against every claim to submit to the law, both natural and moral; He was punished for establishing his own moral code, for trying to crack the secret of the universe, to appropriate all of God's power to himself without permission and to become the creator himself. His punishment is to be enslaved to the patriarchal need to provide financial security for a wealthy family, and instead of loving his wife, he will rule over her: And to Adam he said, because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and you have eaten from the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat from it--cursed The earth, because of you, will be eaten up in anger, All the days of your life.

And the man said: The woman who gave me my standing, she gave me from the tree and I will eat.

In these dramatic moments, the Father-God brings his Son to the first trial in the history of mankind, for "sin" or "betrayal" that occurred in the conflictual relationship triangle God-man-woman. How will the first person defend himself in that sentence?

In fact, this is the first dialogue between man and his God in the book of the Bible, a dialogue that will perpetuate what social psychology defines as an "external locus of control/attribution". In the "arguments for punishment" stage, the first man accuses God of being the one who created the woman (the woman who gave ), and immediately goes on to blame the seductive woman who led him to destroy his relationship with the Father-God (He gave me from the tree and I would eat). In simple words, the first man is described as someone who blames his environment and finds it difficult to take responsibility for his choices. This is where the narrative of the led man was born for the first time, The passive, subject to the fate of a strong and creative woman, who has the ability to build and destroy him. He, as it were, controls her in a tragic alliance of domination, in which the ruler is also the ruled, the jailer is also a prisoner, and the conqueror is also the conquered. The story of original sin created men's primal fear of surrender to the feminine energy.

And what about the woman, Hava Ameno?

Genesis chapter 3 verse 6:

And the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was pleasant for the wise, and she took of its fruit and ate; And he also gave it to the woman with it, and he ate.

The biblical story differentiates the punishing attitude towards man and towards woman. The sins of the man and the woman are different from each other. Contrary to the conventional view of the "tempting and treacherous woman" - who made an alliance with the serpent (Satan) and led man to sin - Eve's offer to man to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge can be seen as an offer that does not stem from the need to gain power and control over nature (for if this was her motivation she is not would offer the person the fruit). She is drawn to eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge due to the aesthetics of the experience; The fruit is "lust to the eyes", and "nice to the wise". After she eats, she enjoys it on a sensory-intrinsic level and chooses a cooperative position: she offers the fruit to her partner not because of a desire to harm him, but because of the fear of a deep gap in the mental-consciousness development between them. She seems to be aware that if she experiences the "growth spurt" alone, they will be doomed to marital loneliness.

Genesis 2:16:

To the woman he said, your anger is many, and your anger--in anger, give birth to sons; And to your husband, your longing, and he, will rule over you.

The punishment against the woman perpetuates the female role in the patriarchal society: to be controlled and to experience pain and sadness in the process of giving birth and raising sons. The woman wants to unite with the man but her punishment is to forever accept her subordination to him. This is how original sin created a social-political-gender reality that is seen as a divine decree, as a truth from heaven.

The sentence "Sadly, sons will be born" raises several questions: Why "Sadly, sons will be born" and not "Sadly, sons and daughters will be born?", Why in sadness and not in pain? And why does the birth of the boys and their upbringing involve such hellish suffering? The human society that arose after original sin created a painfully well-known reality in which the sons are sacrificed on the altar of their fathers' ideological wars of control and conquest. This can be understood as if the biblical writer is saying to Eve: From the moment you give birth to your sons, know that attachment to them involves the sorrow of parting from them, for the cursed day will come when they will be sacrificed on the altar of their fathers' wars.

Regarding the absence of the daughters from the verse, it seems that in general they are not recognized in the biblical texts, and it must be assumed that they were seen as an inseparable part of the mother. Throughout the book of Genesis we come across stories about pairs or groups of sons: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers. The boys and men are the main protagonists in this amazing human epic. They are the warriors, struggling against the forces of nature and divinity, competing, betraying, murdering, winning and losing. In contrast, the women receive recognition mainly for their maternal role. They are driven by the urge to be the only wives for their husbands, are in conflict with the other wives, fraudulently advance the firstborn of their sons, banish other wives who endanger their status, and their daughters are also mentioned mainly as victims of inos and sacrifice. This is how it is easy to understand how the male suspicion towards the seductive, exploitative and manipulative female power, and the view of women themselves as victims, arose.

The divine punishment perpetuates the gender roles forever: the man is punished in outer space; He is condemned to suffer all his life in attempts to cultivate the cursed and unyielding land for the existence of the Shikim family. On the other hand, the woman is punished in the inner-family space; Her natural inclination for sensual, exploratory and hedonistic freedom is trampled by the need to submit to the man's unquestionable rule. The fate of the patriarchal culture seems to be drained into the primordial punishment, which imposes on both sexes a sacrificial lifestyle wrapped in chronic bitterness and mutual accusations.

Soloveitchik did a good job of articulating the tragedy between the sexes in the post-original sin reality: "This is how the wonderful confrontation between Adam and Eve becomes an ugly attempt to erode personality. Today's man seeks to appear as a hero-governor and to subjugate Eve to his ideological, religious, economic, or political government. Curse Hava after her sin - "and he will rule over you" - is realized in contemporary society. The warm personal relationship between two people is pushed aside from a formal subject-object relationship that manifests itself in the desire for dominance and supremacy" (Elor, 1999).

So much for the story that perpetuates the roots of patriarchal culture and thinking. In chapter A, an alternative story is hidden in front of it, which presents a completely different possibility for the relations between the sexes. This can be understood as if the Torah says that before the gender power struggles there was a different reality, based on mutual relations between women and men and cooperation between different but equal forces.

The creation of the world and man: the egalitarian version

The reality described in chapters 2-3 paints a familiar picture of relationships between men and women to this day. On the other hand, the reality described in chapter 1 (in only six verses!) is unfamiliar, and it seems that a new language needs to be invented for it.

The book of Genesis opens with the story of the creation of the world, which ends on the sixth day with the creation of man. Below is the quote from verse 26-27, in which the creation of man is described, the relationship between the Creator and his human creatures, as well as the relationship between humans and creation itself. These verses announce the birth of humanity through a short, temporary covenant, which is about to be shattered in chapter 2 as described above.

(20) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; And they came down in the fish of the sea and in the fowl of the sky, and in the beast and in all the land, and in all the trampling, the trampling on the earth. (27) And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female, he created them. (20) And God blessed them, and God said to them be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; And come down in the fish of the sea, and in the fowl of the sky, and in every animal that moves on the earth. (90) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed: for you Let it be, to eat. (l) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every creeping thing upon the earth, in which there is a living soul, every green herb, to eat; And so it was. (no) And God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good; And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

In this case, the term "man" defines a unified human whole that splits into two, male and female (in the image of God he created him: male and female, he created them), and both are created in the image of God. In the verse "He created him [...] He created them" hides an ancient and universal truth, which appears both in the Chinese yin and yang symbol and in the Kabbalistic chariot act: the human whole is a type of mental androgyny, consisting of both masculine and feminine qualities. On the interpersonal level of the couple, this is a meeting between the man and the woman, which is called in Kabbalah in the Zohar book "the sacred marriage", that is, through the act of love and the union of the male and the female, the unity of the divine forces is realized.

The gender relationship is equal, and both sexes receive God's blessing (and bless them, God). In her book "Hava and Lilith" Nitza Abarbanal writes: "In order to understand the story of creation and the unity of Adam and Eve in the image of God, one must first of all deal with the meaning of the Shekinah in the Jewish concept. The concept of the Shekinah comes to form in human beings who are essentially of the female gender. That is, the Shekinah is the female representation of the divine whole. According The Kabbalah, the female Shekinah in reality that was created after the original sin moved to a state of "exile of the Shekinah", that is, a disconnection and separation of the Shekinah (the female/woman) from her constant union with the higher powers, and man has the duty to fulfill this deficiency and bear and give with the higher powers" (Abarbanal, 1994) ).

Genesis 1:16:

And God made the two great lights: the great light, for the government of the day, and the small light, for the government of the night, and the stars.

In the midrash and the biblical interpretation, the sun symbolizes the man while the moon symbolizes the woman. One of the issues that preoccupied rabbis for hundreds of years is regarding the essence of the difference. Why is the man's light the largest and the woman's light the smallest? Since many midrashim were influenced by the patriarchal concept, the prevailing opinion was in the direction of a hierarchy between men and women. The man was seen as the great light, and the woman was seen as receiving the male sunlight and being able to return it like a mirror towards the earth. The woman seems to support the abundant light of the man.

An example of this concept can be found in the "Great Midrash", the book of Genesis (from Abarbanal, 1994): "When the Holy One, blessed be He, came to create Eve, he was observing from where the Creator said: I will not create her from the head so that her head will not be proud, nor from the eye that will not Be curious, and not from the ear that you will not be obedient, and not from the mouth that you will not be talkative, and not from the throat that you will not be insolent, and not from the heart that you will not be spiteful, and not from the hand that you will not be seductive (seductive), and not from the foot that you will not be persnickety (outgoing), but from the house of his ribs, From a place where he is humble as a person."

But it is possible to find among the Sages, especially among the people of Kabbalah, also egalitarian views regarding gender - in the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Baba Batra it is written: "Everything that the Almighty God created in his world is male and female in Ram". In fact, Jewish Kabbalah brought back the emphasis of spiritual practice in the equal union between men and women. According to Kabbalah, the division into the great light (the sun, the man) and the small light (the moon, the woman) takes on a deep spiritual meaning. In her book "The Fall and Rise of the Shekinah" Sarah Yehudit Schneider claims that with the split into two (light and darkness) the fact of gender appeared - the division into male and female. That's why Jewish Kabbalah is often concerned with the discovery of the male and female face in creation and even in divinity itself (Schneider, 2008). According to Kabbalah, part of the messianic redemption process will take place in the return of the woman to her full greatness, that is, when there will be equality between the sexes.

The divine covenant is between God and his creatures, and the whole story is told in the plural (them, you, them). Rabbi Soloveitchik (2001) described the atmosphere of the initial situation very well: "Man, as he appears on that glorious and wonderful Friday, is not a stranger in the universe and is not a stranger to nature; he is not a stranger who invades the world, man is a child of Mother Nature, just like him As a beast and a beast".

In these verses there is a harmonious description of relationships based on mutual dependence between man and all that is created, and unlike the story of original sin, these verses do not describe relationships based on struggles for power and control. Soloveitchik continues to describe: "On the day of his creation, the first man was an inseparable part of nature. The Torah relied on the principle of the unity of organic life and its continuity [...] The divine plan of creation embraces both man and beast. Both belong to nature, both emerged from the dirt" (Soloveitchik, 2001).

The first covenant between God and his creatures describes the reality of equal relations between women and men. It can even be said that it reflects a triangle of egalitarian relationships between God and his creatures, because it is said that he created them in his own image, male and female - they are he. As Plato said: "Man is a god, but he has forgotten it" (Schwartz, 1999). Man and woman are equal, and they were made in the divine image and pattern, so that what is described here is not a hierarchical triangle but an equilateral triangle based on similarity between its vertices. Reinforcement for this concept can be found in Genesis chapter 3 verse 22: "And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man was as one of himself, to know good and bad; And now let him put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever." In other words, Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden not because they were punished for eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, but because of the fear of the Father-God that his children would equal him in their strength.

The initial state of man is an enlightened and divine state (anyone who has raised a baby may agree with me on this). God actually creates a pair that are both equal to each other but different from each other. Both were sculpted according to the divine pattern, and the relationship of the male and the female with the world in which they were created is a relationship of devotion. They are commanded in the commandment to make love and to multiply (be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth), and the earth returns her love to them with an abundance of food: "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb that sows seed that is on the face of all the trees and everything The tree on which is the fruit of the tree, the seed of the seed: it shall be for you to eat" (Genesis 1:19). In these verses there is also an emphasis that man is an animal that is at the top of the animal kingdom (descend in the fish of the sea, and in the fowl of the sky, and in every- animal), but he is described as an animal that feeds on eating grass and fruit. Humanity in the first covenant is a vegetarian humanity that lives in harmony and compassion with all creatures.

Leah Mazor, in her article "The Ideal of Equality in Genesis Chapter 1", wrote: "God created a fruit tree that makes its kind. The earth brought forth grass and grass of its kind, and a tree made of its kind. God created every soul of the trampling animal that the waters wanted according to its kind, and every winged bird of its kind. The earth brought forth A living soul is of a kind, a beast and a creeper and an animal of the earth are of a kind. God made the beast of the earth in a kind, and the beast and every creeping thing of the earth in their kind, but not man in his kind. Because there are no species of human beings. In the description of the creation of man in Genesis 1, there are no distinctions between human beings: between a king and a citizen , between a free man and a slave or between Israel and a foreigner" (Mazor, 2015). Mazor emphasizes in her article that the uniqueness of the relationship between God and man lies in the fact that humans are the only creation that God not only blesses but also speaks to them directly: "And God blessed them and God said to them" (ibid.).

The transition of the person's consciousness in chapter 1 to the state of mind in chapters 2 and 3 is a shocking experience of severe abandonment. This is an exile to the reality of a cruel existence that has no comforter and no consolation, to impossible relationships in which the male invests all his strength and energy in trying to provide financial security for his family, and the woman tears herself apart in difficult childbirths and is condemned to be controlled by the man for the rest of her life. What remains for human beings is a kind of longing for an elusive memory of the primal Yuli place where the male and female were found in the past, blessed and loved, different and equal before the divine authority of joy in her creation.

I often find in working with men the desire to surrender to the love of the partner, but our social habitat has taught us - the men - to control reality, to practice competitive games and power struggles from childhood. In Israeli society, which is in a state of lack of peace and continuous war, a significant part of gender education for boys is their training and adaptation to combat military service and preparing them for combat situations. During our growth, we, the boys, go through a long and continuous process of developing independence and neglecting and suppressing the needs of dependence. This is how we learn to stop sharing with close people what we experience emotionally, and this is how the wish to surrender to love meets us not equipped with the language of emotions, alienated from the need for dependence and mutual relations and ashamed to talk about our vulnerability with close people. We come to love armored with rigid defenses and emotional disconnections. We are asked to make peace with the duality (dependence/independence). A person who seeks to decide his loyalty to one side of the poles is likely to suffer from each pole. A person freed from patriarchal shackles reconciles with the paradox of recognition and with the complexity of the relationship between dependence and independence.

How can we give ourselves to a woman, who may risk us being seriously hurt by abandonment, betrayal, separation? For many of us it is much easier to devote ourselves with undying loyalty to the love of our children, friends from the reserves, and the football team, "which may lose but never betray".


The Judeo-Christian concept regarding original sin shaped humanity and the perception of the human soul in the most profound way as "evil from his youth" and as a sinner (Montague, 1978). A re-reading of the two stories of the creation of man gives us recognition of a complex and multidimensional reality, which is not satisfied with the two-dimensionality of the concept of original sin - which leads to relationships based on fear, control and obedience between two feared objects - but creates the possibility of a reality of relationships based on trust in the other, On meeting between vulnerable subjects, on recognizing the mutual relations between man and the rest of creation in an all-embracing compassion, which is not satisfied with the two-dimensionality of the concept of original sin, but offers a flexible and varied movement between the poles of paradoxical and dual situations.

In his book "Disobedience" Eric Fromm (2015) writes: "For hundreds of years, kings, priests, lords, feudal lords, industrialists and parents have insisted that obedience is a good measure and disobedience is a sin. To present a different point of view, we must confront this position with The following statement: Human history began with an act of disobedience, and it is not improbable that it will be destroyed by an act of obedience."

In this article I tried to flex the movement between obedience and disobedience, between fear and control and giving trust, between guilt and responsibility and between dependence and independence. As a therapist and a family man I find great importance in understanding   paradoxes and dual situations that occur in relationships. Acknowledging the existence of a paradox frees us from the need to solve the situation. Paradoxes by definition are situations that have no solutions. They do not ask for solutions but for flexible movement between the poles.

I find that the two relationship options presented in chapter 1 and chapters 2-3 reflect two states of mind that exist in humans. The first state is a state of mind that can be called "trust-devotion", and the second state is a state of "anxiety-control". The first situation reflects relationships based on cooperation, shared vulnerability and equality, while the second situation reflects relationships based on loneliness, power struggles and control. Although they appear to be opposite to each other and contradict each other, in the relationship between men and women and in the relationship of man with himself, they exist side by side and allow movement between them. Rather, the recognition of both situations may produce flexibility in the transitions between them and a wider range of relationship possibilities between men and women.

In his article "The Loneliness of the Believer" Rabbi Soloveitchik (1965) writes: "The first man with the glory, the power and the success, and the second man, the lonely man of faith, who submits and obeys, are not two different people standing against each other, as 'I' against You', but in each of us there are two people. Their way of thinking is separate and their methods are also different, but the greater this gap is, each of us must identify with the overall personality."

In this article, I tried to draw attention to a human possibility that has not yet been attempted: making peace between the sexes, which is hidden among the verses of the book of Genesis as an unrealized potential for human redemption through an integrative union between the inner and actual male and female in our lives. This union frees us from the shackles of patriarchal culture. It is not my intention to cancel the existence of the person born of "original sin", the lonely, alienated, living in a constant and excruciating struggle with his inner and outer life, but only to remind him, as in a loving whisper, that there is another possibility, that there is another identity, that knows how to cooperate , who knows how to live in mutual relations with woman, nature and divinity, an identity that seeks recollection and recognition.

Format for bibliographic citation (APA):

Ashman, T. (2015). New thoughts on an old book - to retell the story of creation. [electronic version]. Nadela on 10/24/2016, from the Hebrew psychology website:


Genesis chapters 1-3.

Abarbanal, N. (1994) Chava and Lilit. Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University.

Alor, T. (1999) The story of the creation of woman as an introduction to anthropology. Deleted from the website:


Benjamin, G. (2005). The bonds of love. Tzur Yigal: Lior Sharaf.

Wittgenstein, L. (1956). Philosophical investigations. Jerusalem: Magnes.

Montague, A. (1978). On human aggression. Tel Aviv: Ofakim Library/Am Oved.

Mazor, L. (2015) The ideal of equality between humans according to Genesis 1. Nadela from the website:

Fromm, A. (2015). Disobedience: thoughts on the liberation of man and society. Tel Aviv: Resling.

Fromm, A. (1975). And you were like God. Tel Aviv: A. Rubinstein.


Soloveitchik, YA (2001). Adam and His Home: Six Essays on Family Life. Jerusalem: Mautzer Rabbi.

Solivitchik, YA (1965). Loneliness of the believer. Retrieved from website:

Kristeva, Z. (2009). In the beginning there was love. Tel Aviv: Resling.


Schwartz, P. (1999). Heritage and ways of consciousness. Tel Aviv: The New Acropolis.

Schneider, Y.S. (2008) The Fall and Rise of the Shekinah. Jerusalem: Reuven Publishing No.

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