Deleted Scenes: Genesis 1-2

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ps1_371309_fnt_dd_t10God created prior worlds

See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.

—Isaiah 65:17

The above verse from Isaiah along with a few others lead some rabbis to believe that our earth wasn’t the first God had created. This Jewish thought is expressed explicitly in the Zohar (14th century writings of Jewish mystical thought). Zohar Hadash identifies the prior worlds as totaling 1,000, as does Or ha-Hayim 1:12, which states that before God created this world, He created a thousand hidden worlds. These hidden worlds were created through the first letter, aleph. That is why the Torah, in the report of the Creation of this world, commences with the second letter, bet. This line of thinking was convincing to Rabbi Yitzhak Eizik Haver (1789-1853), who wrote, “The verse begins with the letter bet to hint that Creation was divided into two realms—that God created two beginnings.” The existence of the 1,000 worlds is linked to the verse “You may have the thousand, O Solomon” (Song of Sol. 8:12). Other sources, such as Midrash Tehillim 90:13, give the number as 974 worlds, which were said to have been created and destroyed over 2,000 years.[1] Other Zohar (1:262b) suggests that God thought about constructing worlds prior to ours but never went through with it.

Another verse that stood out is Psalm 90:5, interpreted as referring to the destruction of these prior worlds – suggesting that they were a mistake; the idea that God would regret a creation of his shouldn’t be too surprising, for even the Bible states that God “regretted that he had made human beings on the earth” (Gen. 6:6).

ou_chch_28_largeCreation and nature of the Angels

Of the many questions people are often left with after reading Genesis 1-2, one has to do with the noticeable absence of the creation of angels. How it isn’t explicitly in the six of creation? The first indication of their creation is in Gen. 2:1: “The heavens and the earth were finished, and all their hosts.” “Hosts” (“army” in Hebrew) is understood to refer to the angels, though that’s about all we get until 3:24 when God stations a type of angel known as cherubim to guard the east side of the Garden of Eden. So on what day were angels created and how? What were they made of? What were their roles? Later writers sought to answer these questions. [3]

In The Book of Jubilees (2nd century BCE) we are told how Moses is given a description of the six days of creation by an angel, who reveals that:

On the first day he created the heavens, which are above, and the earth, and the waters and all of the spirits which minister before him:

the angels of the presence, and the angels of the sanctification, and the angels of the spirit of fire, and the angels of the spirit of the winds, and the angels of the spirit of the clouds and darkness and snow and hail and frost, and the angels of resoundings and thunder and lightning, and the angels of the spirits of cold and heat and winter and springtime and harvest and summer, and all of the spirits of his creatures which are in heaven and on earth

—(Jubilees 2:2)

An interesting feature of the angels not seen in the Bible is that they are assigned control over natural phenomenon such as weather and seasons. This is seen in other Pseudepigrapha as well. For instance, In 2 Enoch Enoch is taken up into the multiple heavens where he witnesses the duties of the many bands of angels (2En. 19:1-3).

Other traditions believe the angels were created on the first day before anything else, citing Psalm 33:6 as evidence:

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.

Since breath comes before speech, it can be concluded that the angels were created first. Pretty clever argument if you ask me! Other possible supporting verses are Job 38:4-7 and Gen. 1:1, the latter of which is translated as “In the beginning He created Elohim.” Although Elohim is one of the names of God, here it is interpreted to refer to angels. Finally, there are the Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers: “God created before everything else the cherubim and the seraphim . . . the archangels and the angels” (Apostolic Constitutions 8:12:14).

How were the angels created? The Book of Psalms as quote above hints that an angel is created every time God utters. In the aggadic-midrashic work of Rabbi Eliezar, it is claimed that angels were made on the second day with “fire for flesh and blood,” and that “when they are sent (as messengers) by His word they are changed into winds, and when they minister before Him they are changed into fire.”[3]

Angels helped with creation

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Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

—Genesis 1:26

The persistent suggestion that angels were created on the first day with a multitude of responsibilities subsequently lead some writers to believe that they helped God with creation, especially that of man. It is said that before creating him God first consults with his heavenly hosts about the endeavor:

When God wished to create man, He first created a company of ministering angels and said to them: “Shall we make man in our image?”

They asked, “Master of the Universe, what will be his character?”

God replied, “Righteous descendants will come forth from him.” But He did not report to them that wicked descendants would come forth as well.

They answered, “Master of the Universe, what will his deeds be?”

God recounted their deeds, and the angels exclaimed, “What is man that You have been mindful of him, mortal man that You have taken note of him” (Ps. 8:5).

Thereupon, God stretched out His little finger among them and consumed them with fire. The same thing happened with the second group of angels.

When God consulted with the third company of angels, they replied, “Master of the Universe, what did the other angels accomplish when they spoke to You as they did? The whole world is Yours, and whatever You wish to do with your world, You can do it.”

Others say that the angels formed parties and sects over the question of whether man should be created. Some called for him to be created, others for him not to be created.

While the angels were engaged in contentious arguments with each other, God went ahead and created man. Then God said to the angels, “What good are you doing? Man has already been made!” [4]

Some midrashim claim that when it came time for man to be created God assigned the task to the archangel Michael (or Gabriel in some version), who shaped him into a clay figure in the image of god (Gen. 1:27) using dust he had gathered from the four corners of the earth. In other versions, such as Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer 12, it is said that God created Adam using dust he had taken from took the dust from the site of the Temple – the holiest and purest place. Other sources say that Adam’s body came from Babylon, his head from the Land of Israel, and his limbs from the other lands. [5]

It has also been written that angels helped not only with Adam but other aspects of creation as well. For instance, some fragmentary sources say that it was the highly exalted angel Anafiel who helped God create the world.[6]

The idea that God had help for his heavenly hosts in creation gained a lot of backlash in parts of the rabbinic community, especially around the 3rd century CE:

All agree that none of the angels were created on the first day. It should therefore not be said that Michael drew out the heaven at the south, and Gabriel drew it out at the north, while God arranged things in the middle. —Sefer ha-Bahir 22

Such denial is found in earlier sources as well. 4 Ezra states: “O Lord, did You not speak when You created earth, which You did without help, and command the dust, so that it gave You Adam?” The famous Jewish historian Josephus makes a similiar point in Against Apion 2:192: “God created the world and its contents not with hands, not with toil, and not with assistants, for He had no need of them. He willed it into existence.”

df075a45b9d998f52bd9c9718d779591Adam was created an androgynous

Male and Female he created them.

—Genesis 1:27

According to the first creation account in Genesis it is suggested that man and woman were created at the same time, contrasting with the second account in chapter two where Eve is created after Adam from his rib. To reconcile this seeming contradiction, some ancient Rabbis suggested that God originally created an androgynous or hermaphrodite being with two heads, one male and one female, attached to the back.[7] However, this made things understandably difficult and so God split them into two separate beings, which is what Eve’s splitting from Adam in Genesis 2 is actually referring to. Genesis Rabbah and Leviticus Rabbah are two collections of midrash which comment on it, the former using a passage from Psalms to justify the interpretation:

“’You have formed me before and behind’ (Psalms 139:5)… R. Jeremiah b. Leazar said: When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the first ‘adam, He created it with both male and female sexual organs, as it is written, ‘Male and female He created them, and He called their name ‘adam.’ (Genesis Rabbah 8:1)

Rabbi Samuel b. Nahman said: At the time that the Holy One, Blessed Be He created Man, He created him as an Androgynos.
Resh Lakish said that at the time that [Adam] was created, he was made with two faces, and [God] sliced him and gave him two backs, a female one and a male one, as it says And He took from his sides, as it says, And to the side of the Tabernacle. (Leviticus Rabbah 12:2)

Some rabbis objected to this interpretation, noting that Genesis 2:21 tells of how God took one of the man’s ribs to create the woman. To this, the following explanation is given:

“’He took one of his ribs (mi-tzalotav)’… [‘One of his ribs’ means] one of his sides, as you read [in an analogy from the similar use of the same word elsewhere], ‘And for the other side wall (tsela`) of the Tabernacle’ (Exodus 26:20).”

The rebuttal being made here, in other words, is that the phrase used to describe woman’s creation from man’s rib – mi-tzalotav – actually means an entire side of his body because the word “tsela`” in it is used in the book of Exodus to refer to one side of the holy Tabernacle. Pretty clever if you as me!

But what was it that caused rabbis and Jewish scholars such as these to support such a seemingly heretical interpretation? Why not adopt a simpler answer to the scriptural contradiction like the one accepted by Rashi which continues to be the leading explanation today – that the first chapter of Genesis was an overview of creation while the second chapter went into the details – ? It’s possible that their exegesis was influenced by Greek sources, namely Plato’s Symposium and the Speech of Aristophanes, which use the Greek word androgynos employed in Nahman’s Midrash.

The tradition of Adam and Eve’s androgynous nature appears to date all the way back to the first centuries CE, as it is also found in ancient pseudepigrapha such as The Apocalypse of Adam (1st-4th century CE) of the Nag Hammadi library. In the story, Adam tells Seth of how they came into existence:

When God had created me out of the earth, along with Eve, your mother, I went about with her in a glory which she had seen in the aeon from which we had come forth. She taught me a word of knowledge of the eternal God. And we resembled the great eternal angels, for we were higher than the god who had created us and the powers with him, whom we did not know. Then God, the ruler of the aeons and the powers, divided us in wrath. Then we became two aeons. And the glory in our heart(s) left us, me and your mother Eve, along with the first knowledge that breathed within us.

Aside from Adam and Eve originating together as an androgynous being, it’s also interesting to note the clear Gnostic teaching in this text, namely that they were created not from the biblical God of the Bible but rather the higher eternal God – making them more powerful than the evil, subcreator god who is ignorant of the deities that preceded him. In anger, the inferior god of the Bible divides Adam and Eve to make them two beings, thus removing the divine knowledge that had been breathed into them by the eternal God. The theme of God having to diminish Adam’s power shortly after creating him is also found in midrashic literature as discussed below.

Adam was created a powerful giant

God created man on earth, from one end of heaven to the other (Deut. 4:32)

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This verse from Deuteronomy lead some rabbinic writers to believe that God had originally created Adam as a giant, half man, half god; that he was more powerful and had more knowledge than the angels.[8] When the angels saw him, they trembled and asked God if there were now two powers in the universe, one in heaven and one on earth. Being the jealous god that he is, Yahweh placed his hand on Adam and reduced his height to one-hundred cubits and removed his divine knowledge. This shrinking of Adam is also said to be confirmed in scripture: “You hedge me before and behind; You lay Your hand upon me” (Ps. 139:5). Since Adam was formed from the dust of the earth, God placed his hand back upon Adam to reform him down to proper size.

Another version of the myth, according to Sefer Hasidim, is that the angels wanted to worship the giant Adam when they first saw him. But after he sinned, God diminished him and piled pieces of his limbs around him. Adam said to God, “Does it benefit You to defraud, to despise the toil of Your hands?” (Job 10:3). God told Adam to scatter the pieces of his limbs throughout the world and plant them, and his offspring will settle in those places. But no Jews would live in any of the places where he did not plant any pieces of his flesh. Scholars have noted that this closely resembles the Greek myth of Cadmus.

Adam was created an Angel

On the sixth day I commanded my wisdom to create man from seven consistencies: one, his flesh from the earth; two, his blood from the dew; three, his eyes from the sun; four, his bones from stone; five, his intelligence from the swiftness of the angels and from cloud; six, his veins and his hair from the grass of the earth; seven, his soul from my breath and from the wind.

And I gave him seven natures: to the flesh hearing, the eyes for sight, to the soul smell, the veins for touch, the blood for taste, the bones for endurance, to the intelligence sweetness [enjoyment].

I conceived a cunning saying to say, I created man from invisible (spiritual) and from visible (physical) nature, of both are his death and life and image, he knows speech like some created thing, small in greatness and again great in smallness, and I placed him on earth, a second angel, honorable, great and glorious, and I appointed him as ruler to rule on earth and to have my wisdom, and there was none like him of earth of all my existing creatures.

2 Enoch 30:10-12

According to the Second Book of Enoch, a pseudepigraphic Jewish text written near the end of the first century CE, God created an angel assigned to rule earth.[9] The author also elaborates on how and from what Adam is made, assigning seven of his attributes to natural and divine substances. Aside from Adam are traditions of Enoch and Jacob being enthroned as angels, Enoch becoming the angel Metatron and Jacob the angel Israel whom he had fought against (3 EnochPrayer of Joseph).

God created two Adams

In the image of God he created him; The Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth

—Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7

Some midrash report that God created two Adams: one who was not made from dust but stamped in the image of God, and the other made from the dust of the earth.[10] The former was placed in the garden of Paradise in heaven while the former, our Adam, was placed in the garden of Paradise on earth. The notion of two Adams derived from a seeming contradiction between the two creation accounts in Genesis where different things are said about man’s creation – an explanation reflected in the works of the first century Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria. It was Philo’s belief that something made in God’s image must be very much like its Creator, far transcendent to human beings. He concluded therefore that the figure created in Genesis 1:27 was not the same as the man created in Genesis 2:7. Philo identifies the transcendent figure as the Heavenly Man, as God’s invisible image, and as God’s Logos, identifying the Logos as the “eldest-born Image of God” (De Confusione Linguarum 62-63). Thus, for Philo, the earthly man was made after the image of the Heavenly Man.

But why two gardens? In rabbinic literature, the term Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) came to be equated with heavenly Paradise not necessarily on earth. By believing that God had created two Adams, one above and one below, it solved the debate for some rabbis as to whether Paradise was on earth or in heaven.

Other versions of the two Adam myth exist, such as the idea that the first Adam was created for this world while the second Adam was created for the world to come (Midrash Tanhuma). In other words, the second Adam is the Messiah whose arrival will spark the End of Days. This belief is reflected in the writings of the Apostle Paul who identified Jesus as the second Adam, the one who was sent to give us the eternal life that the first Adam took away (1 Corinthians 15:45). [7]

Adne Sadeh/Faduah: God’s first attempt at making Man

Scythian Vegetable LambLittle record remains of this myth, which says that prior to his creation of Adam, God constructed a human-like creature known as Adne Sadeh, or Faduah. While it resembled man, it was attached to the earth by its naval cord upon which its life depended. Therefore it was confined to the radius of the length of its cord which could grow as long as a mile, surviving by eating whatever grew or walked in its circle. While it could live a very long life, it would die immediately if its cord snapped.[11]

It is stated in the Jerusalem Talmud that this is a human being of the mountains; it lives by means of its naval; if its naval be cut it cannot live. I have heard in the name of Rabbi Meir, the son of Kallonymos of Speyer, that this is the animal called “Jeduah.” This is the “Fedoui” mentioned in Scripture (lit. wizard, Leviticus xix. 31); with its bones witchcraft is practiced. A kind of large stem issues from a root in the earth on which this animal, called “Fadua,” grows, just as gourds and melons. Only the “Fedua” has, in all respects, a human shape, in face, body, hands, and feet. By its naval it is joined to the stem that issues from the root. No creature can approach within the tether of the stem, for it seizes and kills them. Within the tether of the stem it devours the herbage all around. When they want to capture it no man dares approach it, but they tear at the stem until it is ruptured, whereupon the animal dies.”

The origin of this myth is based on the legendary Vegetable Lamb of Tartary illustrated above, called a Fedua in Jewish folklore as early as 436 CE (Talmud Ierosolimitanum). It would appear that the Faduah originally referred to a lamb that was attached to the ground by its naval cord, developing into a humanoid version in later centuries. [12]

Lilith by John Collier (1892) Adam had a wife before Eve named Lilith

To explain away this seeming contradiction, later writers of Jewish mysticism proposed that the first chapter is referring to a separate woman; that God had created a partner for Adam before Eve named Lilith who later rebels after refusing to mate with Adam in the missionary position, insisting that she be on top (it should come as no surprise why feminists love her). Never coming to an agreement, Lilith leaves the garden and becomes a demon. Her name appears once in the Bible, Isaiah 34:14, which is believed to refer to a demoness of the night. It is therefore more than likely that Lilith is based off of the Babylonian night demon Lilitu, a succubus who seduces men in their sleep. Her name is also listed among other monstrous creatures in a fragment of The Dead Sea Scrolls. While her demonic identity is known from such early sources, the first and primary source of her story as Adam’s fallen wife comes to us from a medieval text known as The Alphabet of Ben Sira (8th-10th century CE):

When God created Adam and saw that he was alone, He created a woman from dust, like him, and named her Lilith. But when God brought her to Adam, they immediately began to fight. Adam wanted her to lie beneath him, but Lilith insisted that he lie below her. When Lilith saw that they would never agree, she uttered God’s Name and flew into the air and fled from Adam. Then Adam prayed to his Creator, saying, “Master of the Universe, the woman you gave me has already left me.” So God called upon three angels, Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof, to bring her back. God said, “Go and fetch Lilith. If she agrees to go back, fine. If not, bring her back by force.”

The angels left at once and caught up with Lilith, who was living in a cave by the Red Sea, in the place where Pharaoh’s army would drown. They seized her and said, “Your maker has commanded you to return to your husband at once. If you agree to come with us, fine; if not, we’ll drown one hundred of your demonic offspring every day.”

Lilith said, “Go ahead. But don’t you know that I was created to strangle newborn infants, boys before the eighth day and girls before the twentieth? Let’s make a deal. Whenever I see your names on an amulet, I will have no power over that infant.” When the angels saw that was the best they would get from her, they agreed, so long as one hundred of her demon children perished every day.

That is why one hundred of Lilith’s demon offspring perish daily, and that is why the names of the three angels are written on the amulets hung above the beds of newborn children. And when Lilith sees the names of the angels, she remembers her oath, and she leaves those children alone.

—Alpha Beta de-Ben Sira 5.

This story of Lilith is one of my all time favorites in Jewish mythology, even if it does come from a period later than most others. It’s a prime example of a silly yet fascinating tale that originates from a biblical discrepancy that later theologians felt like they needed to mend.

Lilith returns to the garden as the serpent

lilith in paintings

Some, though often late sources, say say that Lilith returned to the garden after her fall in the guide of the serpent, causing Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.[9] What’s quite interesting is that this tradition appears (at first) to be supported by renaissance  artwork of the Fall of Man in which the serpent is clearly depicted as a female. Upon investigation I was surprised just how many artists followed this convention, including Michelangelo; click the image to see an expanded gallery.

While it is argued by some that these works are indeed of Lilith, I’m afraid to say that the evidence doesn’t hold up. The story of Lilith is a late Jewish tradition – where as nearly all of the works depicting a female serpent are by medieval Christians. There are no supplementary writings that I’m aware of to indicate that the Lilith story was widely known in Christian circles. It is the opinion of most art historians that artists depicted the serpent in female form to identify it with Eve, serving as a metaphor for woman’s sexuality and weakness. Artist Melissa Huang perhaps said it best in her article on the sexualization of Eve:

Renaissance artists, by depicting the serpent as a woman, were both revealing their opinions of female sexuality and decisively blaming womankind for the fall.  Women were perceived by Renaissance audiences to be weak, gullible, and inherently flawed; an ideal scapegoat. The only issue with casting Eve as a temptress is that she was originally tempted by the serpent. If Adam—a man—was tempted by Eve—a woman—who herself was tempted by the serpent—a man—then the blame ultimately falls upon the male sex. However, if the serpent becomes a woman, then woman is ultimately to blame.

So as fun as it may be to imagine these works illustrating Lilith due to the remarkable coincidence, it would seem that her tradition stayed within the confines of Jewish mysticism. It’s worth speculating however as to whether it was the paintings which inspired the idea among later writers that Lilith did return to the garden as the serpent.

“Bind Lilith in chains!” reads a warning in Hebrew on this 18th-19th century C.E. amulet intended to protect an infant from the demoness. Lilith appears at center. The small circles that outline her body represent a chain. Beneath is a prayer: “Protect this boy who is a newborn from all harm and evil. Amen.”

“Bind Lilith in chains!” reads a warning in Hebrew on this 18th-19th century C.E. amulet intended to protect an infant from the demoness. Lilith appears at center. The small circles that outline her body represent a chain. Beneath is a prayer: “Protect this boy who is a newborn from all harm and evil. Amen.”

Lilith in archaeology

Archaeological digs have revealed an abundant amount of amulets against Lilith, some dating back 1,500 years. The traditional use of such amulets against Lilith was widespread, and visitors to the ultra-Orthodox Mea She’arim section of Jerusalem will even today find protective amulets against Lilith available for purchase. Both the text and even the primitive drawings on the ancient amulet are still in use. [7]

Lilith also appears in incantation bowls of the middle ages. These were bowls inscribed with incantation spells and placed upside down in areas of a home above the floorboards to demons trying to get in. The bowl seen below is from the 6th century CE and was made by an occultist to protect a woman and her husband from Lilith.[6] If you click the image to enlarge you’ll see a faint drawing of Lilith in the center. The Aramaic inscription reads:

Untitled-1In the name of the Lord of salvations. Designated is this bowl for the sealing of the house of this Geyonai bar Mami, that there flee from him the evil Lilith, in the name of “Yahweh El has scattered”; the Lilith, the male Lilin and the female Liliths…Be informed herewith that Rabbi Joshua bar Perahai has sent a ban against you…You shall not again appear to them, either in a dream by night or in slumber by day, because you are sealed with the signet of El Shaddai….Amen, Amen, Selah, Halleluyah!

Untitled-2Such earlier inscriptions reveal that “lilith” was also a generic term for a female demon among a class of demons of the night called “liliths”, both male (“lilin”) and female (“lilith”). It has also been suggested that the plural term of both sexes refers to Lilith’s demonic offspring that she bore with the demon prince Samael and/or from the semen of men while they slept after instituting wet dreams. A clearer and arguably more entertaining depiction of Lilith is seen in the center of this larger incantation bowl to the right.

ps359811_lOne interesting image that commonly pops up in relevance to Lilith is the Babylonian “Queen of the Night Relief” (a.k.a “Burney Relief”) dating to the 19th-18th century BCE. I’ve noticed that many unscholarly websites will post this image identifying it – without a shadow of a doubt – as the Lilith of mystic tradition. Of course, this can’t be true as our Lilith, Adam’s first wife, doesn’t appear explicitly until the middle ages. It could be the Babylonian demoness Lilitu, however this claim is largely outdated, based originally on a misreading of an antagonist of the goddess Inanna (ki-sikil-lil) found in an obsolete translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. While the debate continues, most scholars today identify her as either Inanna (Ishtar in Akkadian) or her sister Ereshkigal. I personally find the former more convincing for a number of reasons. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I still find it fun to imagine the possibility of Lilith as Adam’s first wife originating early on, only to be edited out by later scribes.

Adam and Eve’s (arranged) marriage

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

—Genesis 1:28

Since Genesis never gives an account of the first couple’s wedding, a fair number of rabbinic writers give us their thoughts of how it went. Below is a condensed version by Howard Schwartz from the midrashic sources. The most entertaining aspects of this story, in my opinion, are the archangels Michael and Gabriel serving as Adam’s groomsmen (I bet the bachelor party was off the hook knowing those two), God’s role as best man and snazzy wedding planner, and the angelic dance party that followed.

Ms Fr 247 f.3 The Creation, God Introducing Adam and Eve, from 'Antiquites Judaiques', c.1470-76, Jean Fouquet, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, FranceWhen Adam awoke and saw Eve standing in front of him, their faces illuminating each other, he understood at once that he had found his true mate. God introduced Adam to Eve and explained how she had been created. Then Adam embraced her and kissed her and said, “This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called Woman, for from man was she taken” (Gen. 2:23).

Then God knew that the time had come for the world’s first wedding. God Himself prepared tables of precious pearls and filled them with delicacies.

God also created ten wedding canopies for them, all made of precious gems, pearls, and gold. So too did He attire Eve, the first bride, in a beautiful wedding dress, and braid her hair and adorn her with twenty-four different ornaments.

As the ceremony began, the ministering angels walked before Adam, leading him beneath the wedding canopies. Michael and Gabriel were Adam’s groomsmen. Then God Himself brought the bride to Adam and stood before them like a cantor, and took the cup of blessing and blessed them, as it is said, God blessed them (Gen. 1:28).

As soon as Adam and Eve were wed, still other angels descended to the Garden of Eden, playing music for the newlyweds, beating tambourines and dancing to pipes. So too did the sun, the moon and the stars dance for them, and all of creation joined in the celebration of the world’s first wedding.

This wedding would make Kim Kardashian jealous; dinner tables made of pearls, God decorating Eve with ornaments like the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and ten canopies made of gems, pearls, and gold. My only disappointment is that there isn’t a story about the first baby shower. The tradition of Adam and Eve’s wedding was so persistent that at least one Islamic version was composed,[12] though suffice to say Eve isn’t treated quite as well in this account – being referred to as God’s “slave” and given to Adam to be under his command.

Sources and Further Reading


[1] Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 71).

Primary sources: Genesis Rabbah 3:7, 9:2, 28:4, 33:3; Exodus Rabbah 1:2, 30:3; B. Hagigah 13b; Midrash Tehillim 90:13; Midrash Aleph Bet 5:5; Eliyahu Rabbah 2:9; Zohar 1:24, 1:154a, 1:262b, 3:135a-135b, Idra Rabbah; Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer 3; Sefer ha-’Iyyun Ms. Hebrew University 8330; Zohar Hadash; Sefer ha-Zikhronot 1:1; Rashi on Shabbat 88b; No’am Elimelekh, Bo 36b; Kedushat Levi; Or ha-Hayim 1:12; Esh Kadosh; Otzrot Rabbi Yitzhak Eizik Haver, p.1.

[2] Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 115).

Primary sources: Targum Pseudo-Yonathan on Genesis 1:26The Book of Jubilees 2:2; The Wisdom of Ben Sira 16:26-30; B. Hagigah 14b; Genesis Rabbah 1:3; 1 Enoch 71; 2 Enoch 29:3;Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer 4; Eliyahu Rabbah 1:3; Midrash Konen in Beit ha-Midrash 2:24-30; 4 Ezra8:22; 2 Baruch 21:6, 48:8.

[3] Pirḳe de R. Eliezer, chapter IV

[4] Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 132-133).

Primary sourcesB. Sanhedrin 38b; Genesis Rabbah 8:4, 8:5, 8-6, 8:8; Midrash ha-Ne’elamZohar Hadash 16a-b; Midrash ha-Gadol on Genesis 1:26.

[5] Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 131-132).

Primary sourcesGenesis Rabbah 14.8; Midrash Konen in Beit ha-Midrash 2:27; Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer 11, 12, 20; Midrash Tehillim 92:6; Y. Nazir 7.2, 56b; Seder Eliyahu Zuta 2; Sefer Zikhronot 15.

[6] Fragments of the Hekhalot and Merkavah literature

[7] Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 138-139).

Primary sources: B. Eruvin 18a; B. Berakhot 61a; B. Ketubot 8a; Genesis Rabbah. 8:1, 8:10;Leviticus Rabbah 14:1; Avot de-Rabbi Nathan 1:8; Midrash Tehillim 139:5; Shoher Tov 139:5;Maharsha on Genesis 1:27; Zohar 3:44b; Zohar Hadash 55c-d; Likutei Moharan 1:108.

[8] Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 128).

Primary sources: B. Hagigah 12a; B. Bava Batra 58a; Pesikta Rabbati 48:2; Philo, De Opificio Mundi 134-142; Philo, Legum Allegoriarum 1:31, 1:53, 1:88, 2:13, 2:4; Philo, De Confusione Linguarum 62-63; Midrash TanhumaTazri’a 2.

[9] Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 126-127).

Primary sources: 2 Enoch 30:10-12

[10] Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 124-126).

Primary sources: B. Hagigah 12a; B. Bava Batra 58a; Pesikta Rabbati 48:2; Philo, De Opificio Mundi 134-142; Philo, Legum Allegoriarum 1:31, 1:53, 1:88, 2:13, 2:4; Philo, De Confusione Linguarum 62-63; Midrash TanhumaTazri’a 2.

[11] Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 144).

Primary sources: Midrash Tanhuma, Introduction 125; Ma’aseh Buch 201; Magen Avot 35b.

[12] Lee, Henry. The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary (p. 6-7)

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