Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jewish guilt--our son re Adam and Eve

I keep forgetting to post this at the right time (around Shabbat B'reshit, when the story of Adam and Eve is read). It's actually from an e-mail that I saved several years ago in Word.

Subject: Jewish guilt

Date: Sunday, March 09, 2003 3:16 AM

[Our son] and [his dear olde dad] had an interesting conversation tonight on the subject of western attitudes toward the human body. [Our son] insisted that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all uptight about the body because of the story of Adam and Eve. He finds it very noteworthy that the first thought that came to Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit was that they were naked and that that was bad, and wants to know why the fact that they were nude would make them feel guilty rather than the fact that they had disobeyed God. [Dear olde dad] attempted to explain to him that one had to look at the context, which is that Judaism was trying to get away from pagan practices. But [our son] insisted that those who take the Bible literally don't care about context--as far as they're concerned, if the Bible says that nudity is bad, then nudity is bad. I was going to chime in about the psychological explanation being that Adam and Eve had been "children," but had grown enough to develop sexual awareness, which would account for the more-rapidly-maturing female being the first to become curious, but I concluded that he would have said that the literalists would reject that explanation as well, which is probably true. (A little P'shat can be a dangerous thing. :) ) This discussion was the highlight of his time home between academic quarters, as far as I'm concerned.


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