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This weekend it occurred to me that the authors of the midrashim depict God as making one mistake after another during the Six Days of Creation.

He makes light, but apparently miscalculates: the light its too bright and must be hidden away for the righteous. When He creates two giant lights for the heavens, He fails to consider that giant lights can be prima donnas: one light turns out to be something of a whiner. It needs to be cut down to size; afterwards – another adjustment – God compensates it with a retinue of stars. A Leviathan is created but God seems to have miscalculated again. The beast’s tremendous bulk makes its continued existence impractical, so it is slaughtered and put on ice for the righteous. God orders the earth to produce trees with bark and leaves that taste like their fruit, but the earth disobeys and God just goes along with it and lets himself be overruled. What kind of bumbler is this Creator?

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Though I am certain the clever speakers can tell us what all if this is “meant to teach us” and turn God’s difficulties into inspirational messages. I prefer to wonder at the audacity of the midrashic writers. How do such depictions communicate awe and fear of the Almighty? In their depictions, our all-knowing and perfect God is made to seem as if he is just making things up as He goes along. Perhaps this is possible because the God they imagine is less perfect and less powerful than the God we imagine.

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DovBear blogs at: DovBear. For lack of a better metaphor, please consider this blog a very large shabbos table, where we sit together and discuss the parsha, the news, and other events of the day. Sometimes we yell, often we gossip, and, once in a while, the talk turns salacious. Our arguments are lively, but at the end of the day, its all just talk. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press

5 COMMENTS

  1. The story of Leviathan is one of the strangest. I don't think you are apikorus at all. God gave us the power to think for ourselves, and many midrashic stories regarding the early chapters of Bereshit challenge us.

  2. The story of Leviathan is one of the strangest. I don't think you are apikorus at all. God gave us the power to think for ourselves, and many midrashic stories regarding the early chapters of Bereshit challenge us.

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