Rosh Hashanah has come to a close, so let me be among the first to say: Happy New Year!
We are passing through the days of the Jewish New Year, which will end on Yom Kippur. These are from the Jewish, Israelite, Aramaic speaking early people. They made up some of the most influential stories in our lives. These Holidays are a time to contemplate, atone, celebrate—and, finally, name those who died this past year so their names go in the Big Book.
Rosh Hashanah is meant to mark the anniversary of Adam and Eve’s creation—a story I rewrote through a play called “Eve 2” some years ago.
I find the messages emanating from the Garden of Eden destructive. Adam and Eve is full of admonitions about women seeking Wisdom. There are deadly consequences because Eve bit into an apple. The punishments – loss of immortality, loss of snakes with legs, pain during childbirth. The message? That women should butt out of the Knowledge Thing.
From reading—some Talmudic, some Wiki—here’s the whole myth of Adam and Eve. It starts with Adam’s first wife, Lilith: When g-d made all the creatures, male and female, he made them. There was Adam, and Lilith, appearing as “unnamed female companion.” She wanted sexual parity with her husband, wanted to sometimes be on top when they were making the Human Race. Adam went to g-d and whined that he couldn’t love a woman who was his equal… so g-d turned Lilith out of the Garden, and made a physical female in front of Adam. Here are her kidneys, now the ribs, gall bladder, you get the drift. Adam turned her away disgusted by having seen her created.
Finally, g-d put Adam to sleep, pulled out a rib, and made Eve. Surely Adam couldn’t reject a woman that was made of him. And g-d was right.
As writers, we can use stories to find new ways of seeing life. “Eve 2” let me take this sexist story in a new direction. This time, they both worked at a hospital morgue that lost power in a massive electrical outage. As I love to do in my writing, Time and Space collide—and Eve becomes determined to change the end of her story as told in the Bible.
As we use The Holidays for contemplation, atonement, deep thoughts about how to live life… I want to find new stories about women, men, even critters. Stories that extoll equality, curiosity, and freedom.