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B'reishit

by David Bendory, Purim 5752

There is a custom on Purim to make satire of nearly everything. Here is a bit of Purim Torah I wrote back in 1992 while I was studying in Israel for the year.


I find it too easy to get stuck in a routine. Each week follows the same pattern, the same schedule. In Israel, it's even worse: winter depression sets in, leaving me mucking around in the sultry gumbo of my soul. It was only recently that I found an escape: I go through the week cognizant of the way each day of creation manifests itself in my life.

My Creation begins with the chaos of Saturday night. Ben Yehudah Street. The perfect end to shabbos. Bumped and jostled by Israeli teenagers who walk at me with a purpose, I random-walk down the midrechov marking out a formless void with my steps. The profusion of black clothing blends in with the vacuous darkness prevalent in the ether of Beginning. Yet somehow we flow together, these sabras and I. Perhaps they, like me, anticipate that Chaos cannot last long, that ha-kadosh baruch who? will bring order into the void.

Yom Rishon. I am surprised into wakefulness by the light blaring in through the window. It beams down from Heaven above, illuminating the surface of the deep, bringing a definitive end to the chaos of motzei shabbos. The light is so strong it inflitrates my being. Rejuvenated by shabbos, I eagerly rediscover forgotten surprises in the newly made world. The smell of mold growing on the ceiling. A crowded bus. Traffic. Sentence fragments.

Of course, by Monday, all of that is Olde and Boring again. But on this Second Day, the expanse of the Sky spreads out above, ending a clause with two prepositions in a row. Gazing Skiyward, I am reminded of just how puny and insignificant I am. I look up and breathe deeply, inhaling the majesty of the Heavens. I open my umbrella to prevent the rain from going up my nose and drowning me.

Tuesday. The water below the sky has gathered unto one area on my mirpeset; a firmament appears around the puddle. I rejoice in this new day by walking to school. On the way, I notice the vegetation: Seed-bearing plants that bear seed after their kind; fruit trees that bear fruit with the seed in it before their kind; thorn-bearing plants that bear thorns which are quite unkind. I wonder why Biblical style is so repetitive. I contemplate the Order of Linguistic Grammar, pondering the chicken-and-egg connundrum of whether our thoughts construct our grammar or our grammar constructs our throughts. The Lord to me a Shepherd is, want therefore shall not I; my mouth I brush with paste for teeth, and off to school go I. Of strive to I rules free be grammar of.

The Fourth Day. Lights in the Sky. The Great Light of Day. The Lesser Light of Night. And CAPITAL LETTERS. Lots of Them. CAPITAL LETTERS that serve no aPparenT funCtion. i am pleased with my newfound license of poetry.

Day Five. The Birds outside sing me to my senses. Blessed is HaShem who gave the rooster the understanding to distinguish between day and night. So why do the Birds wake me at 5:00 AM!? Aah, but it's Thursday. The Fifth Day. Day of Birds, Swarming Things, and Sea Monsters. And being fruitful. And multiplying. I take a calculator with me so that I can trade with confidence on the black market this afternoon.

Friday. And G-d made Adam in His image, in the image of G-d He created them, male and female... and G-d said: Behold!

After a brief and melodramatic pause that unnecessarily interrupts the flow of the narrative and makes it significantly more difficult to follow, G-d continues: "I have given to you all the seed-bearing plants on the land and all the trees that bear fruit with seed. They shall be to you for Food." The trees themselves weren't too tasty, so Adam protested and was granted permission to let the fruits be to him for Food instead. And Behold! Off I go to the shuk in search of seed-bearing plants and fruits with seed.

And then comes shabbos. Hark! On shabbos I envision the End of Creation, the End of Doing, the simply being Being which characterizes the one One. I sit for hours, probing the depths of our collective Jewish Unconciousness in search of Sparks of Creation to seed my next column with. In the spirit of Freedom of shabbos, I use prepositions to end all of my Sentences with. And I await the Coming of the Moshiach, whenupon we will have shabbat shalom after our Kind and will have the Wherewithal to. Theretofore let us rise and say, "Amen!".

And Behold! Saw G-d it was very Good, that.


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