Before Bereishit: My Own Midrash

shechinah | Morning Meditations

Shechinah had already sent Her spark Chava to tend a garden; a beautiful success of collaboration and cooperation. It was not so easy to grow anything from tohu vavohu, but the loving and nurturing femininity of the duo had resulted in great progress. Shechinah knew that perfection required constant perfecting, so She designed a grand challenge. 

“Chava, we will start again from tohu vavohu, but this challenge will be uncomfortable and strenuous.” 

“I am ready, Shechinah.” replied Chava. 

Shechinah created a new Garden; one which would enable the Divine Source to continue perfecting, with some special focus on pain, suffering, and nonsense. There would also be beautiful lessons, and moments of wonder and joy sprinkled about! 

“What nonsense?” said Chava. “You will see,” replied Shechinah. “Now go Chava. You will enter the new Garden, but wear this suit.” 

Chava quickly found herself in the new Garden holding a suit called “ha-Adam.” She put it on. Chava instantly realized that this costume was unfamiliar. The body felt large and unwieldy. She used all of her might to control the large limbs and belly; piloting from her seat next to ha-Adam’s heart. This Adam was wild. 

“I cannot contain ha-Adam anymore, Shechinah! It is too untame. It desires chaos!” Shechinah answered, “I will cause a deep sleep to fall upon ha-Adam, and you will be freed from the suit. It will stand on its own as you shall.” 

The sleep fell upon ha-Adam, and Chava burst forth from its ribs, relieved, but with sore arms and legs from containing this cumbersome costume of flesh and primal flailing. 

“What is the challenge, Shechina?” asked Chava.

“Ha-Adam is man. As you can tell, man is difficult to reign in. Man is physically strong, but very prone to yetzer ha-ra and growling. You will exit the Garden with man, and I will go with you. Man will believe that his physical strength makes him powerful. He will believe himself a ruler. He will fancy himself a conqueror, a head of both nations and homes. Man will believe this nonsense to be true”

“What will woman do?” said a puzzled Chava.

Shechinah replied, “Woman will wield awesome power, but man will not see this. I will leave hints! Hints that will appear so obvious to you, but will elude man. Woman will create universes within her, as I create universes. She will literally wear creation as a sign on her belly. Woman will build life inside of her, bear the pain of creation, and this will all happen physically. Woman will also nurture many sparks, and tend to souls as man struggles in corporality. Woman will maintain intelligence and create ideas even if she does not physically build life.”

“This power will make it too obvious! Man will see and know!” exclaimed Chava. 

“Remember the nonsense I talked of? The pain and the suffering?” Replied Shechinah. “Man will still believe his superiority. He will rule nations via violence until another more violent man will come and replace him. All the while, woman will bide her time; learning ultimate patience and true power. Woman will sometimes struggle to remember her awesome power amidst man’s confident delusion and strong limbs.” 

“How will the challenge end?” asked Chava.

Shechinah replied, “You will know when ha-Adam is inside of your ribs; when you fuse. When he realizes that power is not his power, but that it resides in tandem with the energy that has been alongside him all along. This will take some doing, but we must challenge ourselves. Remember, bridging perceived polarities perfects us, Chava.” 

Chava smiled and sighed as she took her final step out of the garden with ha-Adam by her side. 

“Here we go.”

Published by Joshua Gray

I am Joshua Gray. I am a husband, father, not-for-profit-worker by day, and a former professional actor/singer. I am very active in the Jewish community in my area, helping to teach at religious school on Sundays, while also serving on the board of trustees at my local temple. My relationship with Judaism is a joy of mine, and I find great pleasure in studying texts and learning more and more Hebrew. I still enjoy warbling tunes, and I even got to sing the Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur, which was a definite highlight. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas for topics, conversations, or general inquiries. Shalom!

4 thoughts on “Before Bereishit: My Own Midrash

    1. Thanks! I am involved in a feminist “Creating Midrash” class. It is always nice to honor the women of the Torah who are so often allocated to one line or complete namelessness, even when they are so important!

      Liked by 1 person

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