Truth Springs Up from the Earth

I am rereading the Sefer ha-Aggadah–the Book of Legends–and this is my 3rd time through the book. I am in Part 1 Chapter 2 and only read pages 11-27. Though there are many wonderful morsels of Truth that I have read today, I will stick to quoting one, and then discuss what it means to me:

R. Simon said: When the Holy One was about to create Adam, the ministering angels formed themselves into groups and companies, some of them saying, “Let him be created,” while others urged, “Let him not be created.” Love and truth fought together, righteousness and peace combatted each other” (Ps. 85:11). Love said, “Let him be created, for he will perform acts of love.” Truth said, “Let him not be created, because all of him will be falsehood.” Righteousness said, “Let him be created for he will do righteous deeds.” Peace said, “Let him not be created, because he will be all strife.” What did the Holy One do? He took truth and cast it to the ground. The ministering angels dared say to the Holy One, “Master of the Universe, why do you humiliate your seal? Hence it is written, “Let truth spring up from the earth” (Ps. 85:12).

The elder R. Huna of Sephoris said: While the ministering with one another and disputing with one another, the Holy One created Adam and then said, “What are you parleying about? Man is already made.”

All of it is arresting–that man will do actions of loving kindness yet be false to the core, that he will sometimes be righteous and sometimes do acts of strife–yet my favorite part is the part where God casts truth to the ground as contrary to the love he bears the as yet uncreated humankind and then that truth springing forth from the earth like a great vine of grapes, “Wisdom is the Tree of Life,” i.e. truth’s root is in this earth, but the seed came crashing down from Heaven. Yes, truth is cut down because God will not acknowledge humankind’s falseness to God…

In all of this God is like the faithful Hosea loving the adulterous Gomer. Though I will not quote the Book of Hosea, God resembles the gentle prophet in his heartache for the one he loves not being true to him in reality. Yet I have always wondered if Israel was truly as unfaithful as God and Hosea think: I always wonder if with each fresh sin she thinks back to her true love with ecstasy and abandon… and finally repentance…

In Cultures of the Jews, it is commented that the Song of Songs in the Middle Ages was represented as being about God as bridegroom and Israel as newly espoused wife–both blindfolded. There are secrets these two lovers keep from each other… and one of them is that the Jewish people could never really be unfaithful to their God. God, meanwhile… is it any accident that Abraham Joshua Heschel named his most famous book God in Search of Man. The great romance of human history, it is implied, is that between God and His People. And this is the Truth–cleansed of its opposition to humankind’s creation–which sprouts from the earth.

Published by hadassahalderson

I am a professional author who lives in Wichita, KS. I went to Friends University and spent one year at Claremont Graduate University. My published work includes: The Bible According to Eve I-IV and Faust in Love.

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