One Shabbat, I was sitting around talking about how the Bible often tells conflicting stories about the same event, or just doesn’t give us any clues about anything at all. For example:
Which version of the Creation narrative is correct: version one (Genesis 1) or the story in Genesis 2?
What was the Urim and Thummim, magical dice? A forerunner to Pokemon?
And why are there so many censuses in the Bible, and why do the numbers not always add up?
Side note: can you believe that “censuses” is actually a correct word? You’d think it would be “censi”, but that just sounds like a cool karate master. I digress.
At a certain point a friend of mine had a completely bewildered look on her face. She said, “how can there be things in the Torah that we’re not 100% certain of?” I answered, “we just don’t know. Scholars and sages made educated guesses, but that’s just it.” She did a double take, “but we’re Jews! We’re brainy! How come we don’t know everything?”
How come we don’t know everything? Because the Hebrew Bible, just like life, is filled with uncertainty.
I’ll talk more about that in a minute. But first, let’s talk about not wasting time in Maryland.