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Noah and the Vineyard
Video 2 of 21
So let's read this over again over here, on the left side of your screen, back to the world of creation, as it were. So these are the generations of the heavens and the earth - Eileh toldos ha'shamayim veha'aretz behibaram - as they were being created. B'yom asos Hashem Elokim eretz ve'shamayim - on the day that G-d had made the heavens and the earth. V'kol si'ach hasadeh terem yiheye ba'aretz - and before there was any vegetation; V'kol eisev hasadeh terem yitzmach - before there were any grasses; Ki lo himtir Hashem Elokim al ha'aretz - G-d had not yet made it rain. V'Adam ayin la'avod et ha'adamah - and mankind was not yet there to serve the land. At that point a mist came up from the ground; Vehishkah et kol pnei ha'adamah - and it turned into clouds and it rained and it watered the whole earth and that sort of made mud, making clay. Out of that; Vayitzhar Hashem Elokim et ha'adam aphar min ha'adamah vayipach b'apav nishmat chayim vayehi ha'Adam l'nefesh chayah - and G-d blew into the man the breath of life and made him into a living being.
By the way, something which I'm not going to get into right now, but what we're seeing over here, this is the sort of the famous second story of the creation of man. What's happening now in Chapter 2 is the Torah is sort of re-stating the idea of creation in a different way. In Chapter 1 we've gone through the first seven days of creation, we then talked about the creation of mankind. Then Chapter 2 relates the creation of mankind from a different perspective. If you're interested in how creation story 1 jives with creation story 2, how they kind of fit together, I recommend to you Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik's fantastic essay on this, in which he talks about Adam 1 and Adam 2. I believe the essay is titled Lonely Man of Faith, I think it's actually available now as a freestanding book. So you can look at that for that.
But over here we're comparing these two texts and I'm interested in what about these verses - really 4, 5 and 6 - resonate with you as you look at Chapter 9, verse 18, the story of Noah and his sons, or the children of Noah stepping out of the ark?
Okay, so let me share with you what I think about this and I wonder if it jives with any of the thoughts that you've had. So I'm going to take you to a little PowerPoint I put together, it's really to try to sort of graphically compare and contrast the two. What I'm just going to do over here is set up the text side by side, we'll have creation over here on the left side of your screen and re-creation over here on the right side of the screen, just like we had before. But instead of having the actual text what we're going to do is just draw out the themes that the text is talking about and match them up. I'm going to just color code them to try to make it as clear as possible.
So let's color code the first story over here, the story of creation and see what it is that we find. Okay so basically we were talking about these are the generations of heaven and earth as they were being created - that's how the text started. The next idea we had was, before vegetation was upon the earth, followed immediately by, because G-d had not yet made it rain. Followed by, and man yet was not upon the earth, there wasn't any man there who could actually work the earth to make everything come up and sprout up from the ground. At that point a mist came up from the earth to heavens to foster new life, and that is - again as we talked about - that which the rain that would come down from the ground, would make the mud from which G-d could fashion Adam - the body of Adam out of clay.
Okay so these are basically the ideas that we have, color-coded violet, blue, red idea, yellow idea, green idea. What we want to do is see, do they match up to anything over here in the world after the flood, specifically in those events back after the rainbow?
Okay so here is kind of how I see them matching up, I see them actually matching up in a very kind of [a cute/acute 4:29] way, and there's kind of a pattern how they much up. I think the pattern is a mirror. What you're really seeing is a mirror image, sort of chronologically and thematically, in the story of re-creation. So let's see how that's so.
Okay, what's the mirror of this; These are the generations of heavens and earth as they were being created? So over here we're concerned about generations - as I mentioned before - of inanimate objects, of heavens and earth, which then go and sort of beget everything else. Over here we're also talking about generations, as we mentioned before, but we're not talking about generations of the heaven and earth, we're talking about generations of the children of Noah. Well that's the first verse over there; These are the generations of the children of Noah. Where we have Shem, Cham and Yefet, the three sons of Noah, who are named after coming out of the ark.
What's interesting is that the Torah goes out of its way almost, to contrast these two. Because look at this phrase over here. The Torah didn't just say these are the generations of heaven and earth. These are the generations of heaven and earth as they were being created. That's really a mirror image of what just happened here. If we think about the context of; These are the generations of the children of Noah, even though the text doesn't say it, but the context is, this is right after heaven and earth were wiped out. Or more particularly, earth was wiped out through heaven. The rain came down from the heaven to destroy the earth. So this over here is really playing off of; These are the generations of heaven and earth as they were being created. It's actually a mirror image of them.
Let's continue a bit more. These are the generations of the heaven and earth as they were being created before vegetation was upon the earth. Before vegetation was upon the earth - what does that remind us of? What sort of mirror image does that conjure up in our minds? In the context of if you imagine Noah with his three children stepping out of the ark into this sort of new world, but what had just happened? Vegetation had just been destroyed upon the earth, was coming back and [unclear 6:30] again, and get another sort of mirror image. What had happened over here? Remember how the text went out of its way to tell you how come there wasn't any vegetation? Well because G-d had not yet made it rain. Rain benevolently in a way which would make vegetation grow. Well what had just happened over here in the story of the flood? G-d had just made it rain, except He had made it rain destructively.
So again, both chronologically and thematically, these two things are opposites, they're mirror images of each other. Chronologically they're opposites, over here we're talking about before, G-d had not yet made it rain. Over here we're talking about after, G-d had already made it rain. Also thematically, which is that the nature of the rain has changed dramatically. Over here it was benevolent rain, the kind of rain that's necessary to foster life. Over here it's the kind of rain that's destructive, the kind of rain that would destroy life. Again, rain has both of that power, water can have that power to create and water has that power to destroy. Over here they're the mirror images of each other.
Just going a little bit further into yellow. Man was not yet upon the earth, well yeah, man was not yet upon the earth, this is before. This over here is after. There's this period of time when man is not yet upon the earth. Over here that period of time is before, which is before creation there was no man upon the earth, but then there was another time when there was no man upon the earth and that is because there was a flood and in this flood mankind was destroyed and now man is on the earth once again. So again, mirror images over here.
Then this one again, another mirror image, and this mirror image is not just before and after and thematic, but it's also directional. A mist came up from the earth to the heavens - came up, what does that remind you of? Water vapor coming up from the earth to the heavens to water the earth sort of benevolently and foster new life. Again, both directional and thematic opposites. Well there was stuff coming down - there's heavens and earth in both of these, except over here there's this water vapor coming up from the earth very gently and over here there's torrential rain coming down not very gently at all, from the heavens to the earth, to flood the earth and destroy all life. So over here, whereas the idea is this is going to help foster a new life, this rain, over here this rain is destroying new life.
So we actually have the generations over here really do remind us very, very significantly of the generations over here, in a very mirror image kind of way.
Okay, so now what does this mean? What does this suggest to us? What I want to suggest is that if you think about what this does in the story - again, think about context, what's happening over here in the story of creation? Well what's happening is that these phrases over here, this first verse or two or three, is basically creating a setting. It is creating a context or a setting for a story that's going to happen. Any time you tell a story, first you set the setting, once upon a time in land far, far away, and then there's actually the action, there's what happens. Well we're about to get to the action, what's going to happen. What's going to happen actually is - well we're about to hear about the creation of man again, and then after that we're about to hear about the whole story of the Garden of Eden with the tree of knowledge.
So the really interesting thing is that if this is a setting for a story like the creation of man, and the tree of knowledge, is this also some kind of setting for a similar kind of story? In other words, do these parallels continue? Are we about to hear a story over here, after the rainbow, that we're now getting the setting for, that's going to remind us or be kind of a reflection of the story of creation of man and of the tree of knowledge? That would really be kind of interesting, wouldn't it?
So why don't you explore that? Keep on reading in the story of creation, keep on reading in the story of re-creation, see if you think that's so. Let's come back and explore that together.
1. The Generations of Heaven and Earth
2. Before the Rain and After the Flood
3. Splitting the Garden
4. Generations of What?
5. Of Rivers and Nations
6. The Vineyard, Introduced
7. God Begins; Noah Begins
8. The Vineyard and the Garden
9. Conflict of Interest
10. Two Hands at the Piano
11. What Cham Did
12. Why Cham Did It
13. The Vineyard's Center
14. What You Know Might Hurt You
15. Why the Drunk Walks the Line
16. The Big Picture
17. Chiasm in the Garden?
18. Chiasm in the Garden II
19. The Center of the Garden
20. The Mysteries of Imperfect Chiasms
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