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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3

Jerusalem

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GENESIS — 1:28 fruitful

Perpetuate your race.  Extend the thread of the generations and raise up descendants to carry on what you have started.  Plant in the garden of G-d new human shoots to whom you will mean everything and whom you will train to serve G-d.  There can be no higher activity than to bring into existence human beings, so that you may train them toward the perfecting of humanity.  And there is no greater blessing than to succeed in this endeavor.  In order to do so properly, G-d says: Make the world the right kind of dwelling place for man.  Begin with a family.  Form a circles around yourself, and into this circle draw the largest number of G-d’s creatures and gifts in order that you and yours may be able to flourish in it. This circle is the home and the gifts—your property.  [Samson Raphael Hirsch, Horeb] GOODSOC 95
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GENESIS — 1:28 rule

The starting point for a religious consideration of man’s relations with his natural environment is the divine blessing to man in [this verse].  [This] passage, mandating man’s conquest of nature, has recently come under attack by those concerned with protecting natural resources and environment from the excesses and abuses of man.  Some theologians have even seen in this verse sanction for man’s mindless rape of nature and an impediment to the search for knowledge and the advancement of science.  This charge, particularly as it is refuted by an analysis of the manner in which the same Biblical verse is interpreted in the tradition, is an empty one.  The Torah’s respect for non-human nature is evident in the restrictions that follow immediately upon the “subdue” commandment: man is permitted only to eat herbs and greens, not to abuse the resources of nature Genesis 1:29.  Furthermore, this mastery over nature is limited to vegetables for the first ten generations.  Vegetarianism yields to carnivorousness only after the Floor when, as a concession, G-d permits the eating of meat by the sons of Noah.  Even then the right to devour flesh is circumscribed with a number of protective prohibitions, such as the warnings against eating blood and taking human life Genesis 9:2-6.  The law of kashrut preserves the kernel of that primeval vegetarianism by placing selective restrictions on man’s appetite for meat.  His right to “subdue” nature is by no means unlimited.  GOODSOC 214-5
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GENESIS — 1:31 very

For man to be man he must maintain the delicate tension between self and society, between personal privacy and public relationships.  Mediating between them is the family. Judaism is concerned with all three aspects of man’s existence. It addresses itself to the question of his psychic and spiritual life, his dignity and destiny.  But its major concern is with the quality of man’s relationships to the world around him, and these are usually developed within the family.  This emphasis on family and community may best be understood in terms of the way Judaism treats the very beginnings of man.  The Bible offers two accounts of creation, each giving a complementary insight.  In the first, a rather general report, things are created day after day until we come to man, who is seen as part of the natural order.  True, he is singled out as created in the “image” and “form” of the Creator; but he is essentially accepted in his natural settings: his lust for power, his reproductive function, his hunger and his appetites. G-d commands him, “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and master it” and rule over its creatures.  Within this context not only is man’s creation good, but … very good.  [this verse].  GOODSOC 4  [Comments continued at 2:18 GOODSOC 4]
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GENESIS — 1:31 very

We, the people of the holy Torah, we believe that the Lord created everything as His wisdom directed, and that He created nothing that was ugly or shameful.  Were we to maintain that sex is obscene, we would have to say that organs of generation are obscene.  But this cannot be, for the Lord, may His Name be exalted, created them, as it is said, “Has He not made you and established you?” Deuteronomy 32:6. And the Sages said in the Talmud Hullin 56b that G- d created man so that only in this manner can he perpetuate himself and survive.  And the Midrash (to Koheleth 2:12) teaches that G- d and His heavenly court, as it were, considered each organ of man and had to approve it before creation.  Were the sex organs dishonorable, how would the Lord have created anything faulty or blemished or contemptible? Did not Moses say of Him that “the Rock—His work is perfect” Deuteronomy 32:4? And did we not learn that “and G-d saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good” [this verse]?  GOODSOC 105
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GENESIS — 2:7 soul

The power of words is everywhere acknowledged in the Jewish tradition.  G-d created the world by speech.  When Genesis says that G-d breathed into man and made him a “living soul” [this verse], the classic rabbinical translator, Onkelos, renders it as a “speaking soul.” G-d reveals Himself to man in words, the words of the Torah, and, in response, man approaches G-d with words.  Words are also the major instrument of contact between man and man – in all his transactions, whether intellectual, cultural, or mercantile. For men words are the means of creations, and also of destruction. They can clarify and they can confuse; they can stimulate and they can intoxicate. They may be a blessing; but they are often a curse. The heart of Jewish worship, the Amidah, opens with a prayer for pure speech: “O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.” And it concludes with a prayer for self-control in speech: “My G-d, keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking falsehood.” Since speech is the cement of society, loose tongues can weaken its structure subtly but critically. The dangers of gossip, slander, and tale bearing have been widely discussed in Jewish ethical writings.  GOODSOC 56
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GENESIS — 2:7 soul

The Talmudic sage Rava compressed his understanding of the human condition into four Hebrew [(sic) - Aramaic - AJL] words: O havruta o mituta, “Either companionship or death.”  Without the possibility of human relatedness, man is empty.  Without an outside world of human beings, there can be no inside world of meaningfulness. Personality, liberty, love, responsibility—all that makes life worth living—depend upon a community in which man can locate and realize himself.  But man is more than the sum of his connections with others. There must be a self in order for there to be communication; there must be an inner existence to relate to the outer world.  If man is not an island, neither is he a switchboard, a maze of wires that transmits the messages of others but has nothing of its own to say.  G-d created man from the dust of the earth and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, man became “a living soul” [this verse]. GOODSOC 3
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GENESIS — 2:15 watch

Man the yetzirah-creator, according to the teaching of Halakhic Judaism, is responsible to G-d the beriah-Creator not only for the raw material of the natural world into which he was placed, but is responsible as well for protecting and enhancing the civilizations which he himself created.  “Subdue it” is not only not an invitation to ecological irresponsibility; it is a charge to assume additional moral responsibility not only for the nature world as such but even for the man-made culture and civilization which we found when we were born into this world.  Perhaps the most succinct summary of the role of man and nature is given early in the Biblical narrative of G-d’s placing Adam in the Garden of Eden—which, from its description in Scripture, was a model of ecological well-being.  [this verse].  The undefiled world was given over to man “to work it,” to apply to it his creative resources in order that it yield up to him its riches.  But alongside the mandate to work and subdue it, he was appointed its watchman; to guard over it, to keep it safe, to protect it even from his own rapaciousness and greed.  Man is not only an oved, a worker and fabricator; his is also a shomer, a trustee who, according to Halakhah, is obligated to keep the world whole for its true Owner.  GOODSOC 221-2
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GENESIS — 2:18 not

[Continuation of comments from 1:31 GOODSOC 4] The second account of creation sees man in a very special light, as a truly human being, separate from the rest of nature.  Here the Bible no longer says what it had regularly said about the rest of creation, "Behold it was good.” Instead, it offers a judgment on man’s condition and terms it lo tov, “not good” [this verse]. What was “not good” was man’s lack of human companionship.  As man he could not be fully satisfied by communion with the rest of nature.  Elevated and thus alienated from the other creatures, he was placed in a position of exploitation and manipulation vis-à-vis nature.  With non-human nature he could not form genuine relationships.  Only society can satisfy man’s craving for relating to someone outside himself; thus woman was created.  The bond between husband and wife thus offers a model for all human relationships.  GOODSOC 4
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GENESIS — 2:25 shame

... the blessed Lord is “of eyes too pure to behold evil” Habakkuk 1:13, and did not make anything defective or shameful.  It is He who created man and woman and He created all their organs and prepared them according to their functions, and made nothing disgraceful.  The clearest evidence for this is that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve went about undressed and they were not ashamed [this verse]. All this took place before they sinned, while their minds were fixed on pure thoughts and their intentions were only for the sake of Heaven.  Therefore, their sex organs were, for them, no different from eyes or hands or other organs.  But when they strayed after physical pleasures and no longer intended their actions for the sake of Heaven, then “they knew they were naked” Genesis 3:7.  This should be understood as meaning that just as hands, when they write the scroll of Torah, are considered honorable and praiseworthy and exalted, but when they steal or otherwise indulge in dishonorable acts are regarded as ugly—so was it with the organs of generation of Adam and Eve: before they sinned it was one way, after they sinned quite different.  Just as we ascribe honor and praise to any organ when it serves to do good, and shame and ugliness when it is the instrument of evil, so was it with regard to the first man’s sexual apparatus. Accordingly, the ways of the Lord are all just and pure and clean. What is obscene is the result of man’s wrongful actions.  GOODSOC 105-6
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