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Noah and the Vineyard
Video 16 of 21
Basically we've been looking at two worlds, the world of creation and Noah's world. In the world of creation we've been looking at what I would call three milestones in that world. Milestone number 1, the sixth day. Milestone number 2, the Sabbath. Milestone number 3, the tree of knowledge. Huge things happen on each of these days. On the sixth day mankind is created, blessed, you're going to be of image of G-d. The whole speech of G-d to mankind. The Sabbath, we had that whole event, G-d rests, it becomes a milestone for the rest of time. Then this huge tree of knowledge story, kind of the root of all evil in the world comes to the world.
I want to look at these events now, not just as separate events, but ask ourselves what connects them? What are the arrows that connect them? What are the connecting pieces? What happens on these events? What's the flow between them? We began to touch on this about 20 videos, but I think we can have a fuller picture now based upon what we've seen. Ironically, kind of a Noah's world, the Noah's world, that sort of binocular vision will help us in coming back and piecing this together.
Let's look at the sixth day. What's really happening on the sixth day? Well on the sixth day, as I mentioned, man is created in the image of G-d, but what does that mean? As we talked about before, he's given a command to create just like G-d. We talked about two kinds of creativity if you remember. We talked about biological creativity; Pru u'revu u'mile'u et ha'aretz - be fruitful and multiply, and that's one way that we're created in the image of G-d. We are sentient beings just like G-d, we know what we're doing when we create, we control the process by which we can have children, and that's one kind of creativity. We create people just like G-d. Then the other kind, of course, is what we called technological creativity, our ability to master the animal world; Vekivshuha - which we only achieve through our use of tools. So we have creativity in two realms; technological creativity, biological creativity, and both of these we express this destiny of being created in the image of G-d. This is the sixth day.
Well how does connect to the Sabbath? Well the answer to that is evident, it comes down to this [world/word 3:32] over here create - that's really the link to the Sabbath. In the Sabbath G-d models what it means to be a disciplined creator. Having just told us to be little creator in the world, Big creator is now telling us how to do it, and that is that you can't become obsessed with creativity, you have to be able to pull back, you have to be able to stop. You cannot over identify with creativity to the extent that you become obsessed with it, because if you do that, creativity will ruin everything. It will collapse upon itself, it will become destructive.
How does that lead to our next story? The next story is the tree of knowledge. What did we see in the tree of knowledge? How do we do understand that? That story is what we might call the creativity challenge. You see this [world/word 4:23], right, create, that's the word that wends its way through all of these. The tree of knowledge, the creativity challenge, having modeled disciplined creativity it's as if G-d is saying, well are you up to it? Can you take a challenge on that respect? We talked about this tree dripping with desire, the desire to do what? The desire to be creative in all sorts of ways.
We talked about it's not a coincidence that after eating from the tree, Adam and Eve become uncomfortable with what - with nakedness. That's the role that nakedness plays in the story. Because when am I comfortable with nakedness? I'm at ease with nakedness, it doesn't make me nervous, if I don't feel it can crush me. Once I take desire into myself, once I become so identified - remember to ingest the fruit is to become with desire, to become one with desire, to take desire inside myself so that I can't always tell who it is that I really am. Is desire something I have or is it something I am? If I over identify with desire - and again that's the snake's argument, the snake is nothing but desire, G-d is talking to you through desire. That's your essential self. This is the snake's argument, are you really so different than me? We become uncomfortable with nakedness when we believe it can crush us, when we see it as an overpowering force, when we come too close to our creative drives and instincts in such a way that we start fearing what will happen.
Remember, mankind is not just aware of nakedness, is not just embarrassed of nakedness, but according to the text, fears - Va'irah ki erome onochi - I feared because I was naked.
To sum up what I'm saying, if you look at how the sixth day and how the Sabbath and the tree of knowledge all fit, what's really happening is in the beginning we have the imperative, the command of G-d, be a little creator just like Me. G-d then models, let Me show you what disciplined creativity looks like, I can pull back, I can stop, I can celebrate stopping, I'm not consumed by this desire to create. I can create a distance between myself and what I've created and stand back. The tree of knowledge is can you create that distance or will you give in to the urge to take it inside you and to not distinguish between yourself and your creative desire? Or can you create that distance, can you stand back?
This challenge or the failure in this challenge, is in many ways the root of all evil.
You can sort of see it as the root of all evil. To become overinvested in the desire to create and be blind, to live under the illusion, to be drunk, to not see the role that desire is playing in your life. If you don't channel it, if there's no steering wheel for the engine and the engine just goes, then it's a fearsome engine of death, and that really is the root of all evil. I don't even know that I'm evil, I'm just going and going and going; it's ambition, creativity, power without bounds.
Well that's all in the world of creation, but all of this - and I mean all of it - has its corresponding text in a different world. It's as if human beings always go through this challenge, but when we're in another world we'll go through another challenge, it will just look differently. The sixth day looks different because we're in a different world. The Sabbath looks different because we're in a different world. The tree of knowledge looks different, we're in a different world. That's what's happening in Noah's world. In Noah's world there's also the same things happened. There's a time when G-d gives an imperative to Noah and his children, become a creator. There's a time when G-d models disciplined creativity and then there's a moment of the creativity challenge. G-d blesses Noah, He says; Pru u'revu u'mile'u et ha'aretz - go forth, go and subdue the world, you are the little creator in the world. G-d also models disciplined creativity, the rainbow covenant, just like the Sabbath, a disciplined creator needs to be very, very careful with creativity and also very, very careful with destruction.
What's the next story? A story of creativity and destruction. The creativity challenge. The story of the vineyard. It's a story in which Noah faces a terrible question, will he be blinded by creativity? Here he is commanded by G-d to go and become a creator, have a fourth child. Noah sees it as his final destiny to make that happen, to be able to have a fourth child, to repopulate the world, and then he's frustrated in his ability to carry this out. The challenge of Noah is, will he be able to see things objectively or will he be so infused, so blinded by that - in many ways - godly drive to create, that he can't see the situation for what it is? He becomes confused. Becomes confused to whether he's in the G-d role or in the person role, and starts doing god-like things, destroying as only G-d can destroy, his own child. He curses Cham, curses Canaan. Only other person to destroy another human being's legacy in that kind of way, the Master of the Universe, the Creator of all has that fearsome power when He sees fit. But here is the one moment where a human being wields this power with consequences for millions of people throughout humanity.
That is the story of the vineyard. It is the next iteration of the tree of knowledge, it's what the tree of knowledge looks like in Noah's world, it's what failure looks like when it comes to creating distance between yourself and creativity. If you can't create that distance, if you become obsessed with seeing creativity through at all costs, you may well destroy what it is that you're trying to create, destroy your own children, in a misconceived act of vengeance.
We're almost ready to leave our dual look, our binocular look at the story of the vineyard and the story of the garden. We've seen that there's intertextual parallels between them, we've given an explanation perhaps about what might be going on between them. We've seen a chiasm here. We've related the center of the chiasm to an important point in this story. There's one last remaining question to really finish our view of this, and it's going to take us back to the garden, and it's that question we talked about before, the question that enquiring minds want to know. In three milestones over here, G-d's seventh day, the rainbow and Noah and the vineyard, we've seen a fascinating chiasm at the center of the story. The question we haven't considered yet is, might we have that same structure over here? If so, what further would that teach us? We're going to come back and explore that question in our next video, I'll see you then.
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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