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Rabbi Adam In Eden
Take a look at this fascinating picture, of Adam in the Garden of Eden, that my middle daughter brought home from gan (those who are reading this via email subscription may have to visit www.rationalistjudaism.com in order to see it):
Now, there is a diverse readership here, but let's allow them a traditional reading of Genesis, that there was a man in the Garden of Eden. Let's not even ask why animals from central Africa are there. What struck me is the number of ways in which this picture contradicts traditional Jewish views on the matter, as well as explicit statements in the Torah! Let me count the ways:
1) Why is wearing clothes? He is supposed to be naked!
2) Why he is wearing a kippah? He wasn't Jewish!
3) Why does he have such a long beard? Isn't he supposed to be twenty years old?
I presume that the artist's mind works as follows: Adam=Biblical figure who was not evil=venerable rabbi.
(My daughter is clearly out of touch by coloring his clothing pink. Only Modern Orthodox males wear pink shirts.)
But I'm not in such a strong position from which to criticize. People often ask me how to teach Maaseh Bereishis to children. My reply: I have a hard enough time teaching it to adults! I really don't know how to successfully teach it to children. My feeling is that one has to adopt a gradual approach, while always making it clear to them that their understanding will still undergo further refinement.