And Lilith Knew Eve

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Written by Aviva Ariel. Aviva is a yoga therapist, Jewish educator and storyteller. She uses spoken word, dialogue, art, sound healing, ritual and yoga to bring out the best in people and communities. For more Jewrotica writing by Aviva, check out “And Adam Knew Eve“, Leah – Out Mother, and Illusion:Shame and Mirrors.

Rated PG

For a Sweet and Spicy New Year

I was asked recently, “If the pomegranate is believed by many to be the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, since apples are not indigenous to the Middle East, why do we give it such status on Rosh Hashanah? Why would we want to remind God of our original sin at this time of year when we are seeking forgiveness?”

I asked back, for every good Jewish question is answered with another good Jewish question: “What if eating from the Tree of Knowledge was neither a sin nor an accident?”

And Lilith Knew Eve

She sat there, crying, salt tears mixed with pomegranate seeds. The shade of the date palm blocking out the hot late-afternoon sun. She felt pity, regret and also exhilaration, she had listened to her heart and now her mind was alive with thoughts and stimulation it had not known before. Instinct now combined with consciousness.

From the distance, the seated creature bent over itself holding its knees and rocking gently looked like a red koala cradling something in its paws. Then she spotted the opposable thumb, hands! Could it be a young chimpanzee or a red orangutan?

She squinted her eyes. Human hands!

Lilith looked on with intrigue, she was not aware of there being any other creatures like her that had hands, except for Adam. Where did this creature come from? This human?

Eve felt the presence of something in the distance. In the garden she was never worried of a twig snapping, or the rustle of the bushes, all the animals loved her and recognized her as the embodiment of their earth mother; even though she had not created or given birth to them, her presence, her vibration was that of the earth. Outside the garden, here, she was not known, she was a foreigner.

Eve let out a “Coo, coo,” the sound of the morning dove, a bird of peace. Silence. The wind moved through the long fingered fronds of the date palm above her head. It whispered secrets, adventure and a new beginning. Her heart skipped a beat.

Behind her now, Lilith crept closer, the wind muddled her steps, yet even without the wind Lilith crept like the sly and mysterious fox, she had learned the secrets of the jungle since leaving the garden. She had become the jungle.

“A pomegranate!” Lilith caught herself too late as she said this out loud and Eve startled, leapt to her feet as the half-eaten fruit flew through the sky in an arc, with seeds and juice spilling behind it like a tail of a shooting star.

Lilith and Eve stood face to face. The Amazon woman and the recently fallen from her rank, Garden of Eden Princess. One was dark in complexion and eyes, like the night, the origin of her name, with features just as cutting and mysterious. The other was the color of clay, the earth, with soft features and red sand colored cheeks, the origin of her name, life-giving earth. They were of the same height, same age and the first female humans the other had ever seen.

Eve wore fig leaves to cover her private areas, for with awareness she became embarrassed of her nakedness. Lilith stood naked. Awareness had not challenged or shaken her femininity nor brought on shame for the way God had created her, only Adam had been shamed by his first wife’s brazen behavior. Brazen she was, she had created the first bow and arrow to hunt in the jungle, but found her right breast hindered her aim. On the following new moon, she chewed one root, and applied another to her right breast, she lifted up her sword and made a brit or covenant with God. She used the fig leaf to bandage her new identity.

Lilith had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge the first hours of her existence, she needed to know more, to be more, her cells inspired her to push the limits, she saw the boundaries of the Garden and the the restrictions to not eat from the Tree as God, winking at her, to decide between complacency or to embrace the unknown. She took the latter.

Eve had only eaten from the Tree after encouragement from the snake, she sensed his advice sinister, but she too felt this pull in her cells to be more than just a puppet and a princess in the Garden. At night the crickets played their legs as musical accompaniment to the whispers of the angels whom sang lullabies to her of the potential of the humans, her and Adam. The envied with joy these creatures made of clay and earth that had five senses and the ability for conciseness.

Conciseness allows for the complexity of emotions and thought beyond black and white, right and wrong, where things became messy, sophisticated. Where there would be good and good, bad but good, good but bad and also, for the first time ever evil. For with consciousness the human race can rise but also can sink. The ‘death’ of one-dimensional reality can bring out the shadow or light of the human race.

Lilith had left the Garden on her own after eating the pomegranate, Eve, too. Adam refused to leave on his own. He hid. He hid even after God had found Adam and Eve, and asked them why they had hid.

There in the jungle two women stood facing each other. Their eyes locked, each had been unaware of the other until moments before the present. There in the late afternoon, the sun beginning to set, in the wild jungle, they found each other beautiful.

Their hearts opened, their lips fluttered, something stirred within: Love.

*****

For more, the author recommends:

Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute

Wilderness Torah

Shahar Zahav in SF

Keshet SF

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