Is Bereshit really the beginning of the Torah? Why does G-d use violence to punish humanity? Is there a Kabbalistic way of understanding all this? Alterna-Rebbe Michael says yes…
OK…what’s NOT Jewish about this? Four ways that True Blood is using images from the Torah to sell you vampire sex.
(1) They’re in the Garden of Eden. But obviously, if you look around, there’s some crazy stuff going down. The idea that human beings (I use the term ‘human’ loosely for some of the characters) can be in a state of perfection, and somehow screw it up, is about as Biblical as it gets. Humanity’s failure to be in co-existence with malevolent peace is a constant theme in the Hebrew Bible, whether you’re talking Adam and Eve, or even the Exodus, where G-d throws down miracle after miracle, but the Hebrews still won’t stop complaining.
(2) There’s a freakin’ snake. Enough said.
(3) The snake’s head is near Anna Paquin, who represents purity (hence the white dress). She’s in danger from all this, and is being sacrificed, hence the altar-like broken tree. But the snake’s tail is between the legs of Jessica Hamby/Deborah Ann Woll. This falls in line with “blame the victim”, that although the serpent is the tempter, the woman is the one that ate of the tree and is really the one to be at fault. The snake coming from her body shows that she, not the serpent, is at fault. Also, Anna Camp (Sara Newlin) is wearing red, like Woll. The two faces of the feminine are shown here. The woman who commits the sin (Eve) is shown in the submissive form (aka ‘spread eagle’), reflecting the idea that her curse is the pain of child birth. The woman with power, however, stands upright (Sara Newlin) and is the feminine power of Lilith, the woman who does not have pain because she did not submit in the first place.
(4) Two white characters, and two black characters. Notice the two guys standing together. Their legs are in the exact same position, one knee sticking out. But the legs are opposite: like the contrast of the color of their skin. The couple in the background are looking in the same direction, but their legs and arms are going in opposite ways. This is duality: another common theme in the Bible. Good versus evil, right versus wrong, G-d and Mankind, tree of knowledge and tree of life, the natural world and the supernatural world. Through their skin tones, the artist is making a nod to this overwhelmingly large issue.
Or maybe I’m over thinking this…
I just watched the Richard Dawkins movie, “The God Delusion”. I disagree with Dawkins who thinks that religion is poison (a little too Chairman Mao for me), but he did bring up an interesting point: In one scene, Dawkins confronts a British rabbi about the Genesis account of creationism. The rabbi says that he supports a literal interpretation of Genesis and believes that the world is only 6,000 years old. Dawkins tells the rabbi how stupid this is, because archeologists all agree that humans are millions of years old and that 6,000 years ago was the start of the Agricultural Revolution.
This got me thinking: is there a biblical connection between the agricultural revolution and the laws of Moses? Sure enough, there is…and it’s this week’s Parshat