Part 1: Torah - Chapter 1: Genesis (1)
"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sin" - Romans 5:12, ESV
It was a sunny day outside, as per usual in the city of Capernaum.
The streets were bustling and alive with people trading and standing in line to meet with Matthew, the tax collector.
My Father's blacksmith shop was on the edge of the square, and as I walked to him, carrying his lunch in one hand I looked around at the various types of people who had settled here.
Capernaum was filled with Roman soldiers today. Their red uniforms stood out like a sore thumb in the crowd of poor merchants.
They looked vicious with their swords constantly at the ready for whatever might happen.
The worst of it was Matthew's guard standing in front of the tax booth as if we were the enemy, trying to rob Rome of it's precious taxes.
My ima always said that we can trust Matthew the same amount we can trust the Romans, which isn't saying a lot because we had no trust for the Romans whatsoever.
Beastly eyes seemed to follow me everywhere I walked nowadays.
Adonai, please protect us. Send your Messiah to rescue us out of the hands of the enemy.
This has become a mantra for me in these days. I didn't know much about a life outside of our oppression, didn't know what freedom felt like. The only freedom I had was in my faith, in Adonai, in His Torah and the laws I have been taught to uphold.
Somedays I wondered if the Roman gods were anything like Adonai, if they were just and loving too. Maybe that was why the Romans were so stubborn to hold on to this false faith.
But in my heart, I knew, there is no god like El Shaddai. No god that could love as He does.
Blessed be the Lord our God for His mercies.
I walk until I reach my father's shop. It's quiet today, for a change. The usual clanging and shouting is limited to quiet talking and I wonder what's going on.
When I go inside I find my father standing and clanging on a sword fit for royalty by the hem of hilt.
I gasp immediately. "Who are you making this for, abba?"
"The Governor is stopping by later this week. He requested only the best. Apparently they will be heading to Jerusalem with it to present it to King Herod." He smiled in my direction, knowing I loved knowing my father was making a sword fit for royalty.
"Can you imagine, abba, the way it would look in his hands?" I said, a gleam in my eyes.
"I can, but I'd rather not, daughter. It will make it all the more difficult to part with." He jokes, the smile on his lips reaching his eyes that were the exact shade of light brown as mine. He puts down the sword and turns to me then. "So what brings you here, my beauty?"
"Oh. Straight to it, I see!" I laugh and hold out the basket I was carrying. "Ima thought you would like to actually eat for a change."
"Ha! Well, as always your ima is correct." He answers me and grabs the basket from my hand, quickly opening the piece of cloth we had thrown over to peek in. "Hm. Some fruits I see, a piece of bread. And what is this? Ale? Your mother spoils me too much."
I smile at him. "You know you love it."
"Yes, I really do." He takes the bread out of the basket and turns to me, breaking off half of it. "Would you like to join me?"
I take the bread in his hand he offers up and smiling broadly, sit down at his workshop table. My heart rose with excitement, knowing what was coming.
"So what will I be telling you about today?" He asks, his mouth half full of bread.
I smile wider. This was my favourite part of the day.
"How about when Adonai created the Earth?"
He laughs, taking a seat from across me. "Again? Haven't I told you this one five times before?"
I laugh, taking a bite of the bread in my hand. "Yes. But I love it more everytime I hear it."
My father shakes his head, smiling knowingly and then lets out a breath as he takes another bite of his bread.
"Very well." He says and shifts in his seat as he always does, getting ready for our story. "In the beginning Adonai created the Heavens and the Earth. And the Earth was filled with chaos and waste, darkness was on the face of the deep and the Spirit of El Shaddai flowed upon the waters.
"That was until Adonai said 'let there be light' and light flooded the whole of the Earth. And Adonai saw that the light was good and so he separated the light from the darkness.
"Adonai called the light Day and the darkness Night. And that was the first morning and the first evening.
"And then Adonai said 'let there be an expanse in the midst of the water! Let it separate the waters from the waters." My father indicated to the sky and then to the ground with one piece of bread still in his hand.
"And so He made the expanse and it separated the water that was below the expanse from the water that was over the expanse.
"Adonai called the expanse 'sky', and there was evening and there was morning on the second day.
"Then Adonai said 'let the water below the sky be gathered to one place. Let the dry ground appear.' and then it was so. Adonai called the dry ground 'land' and the collection of the water 'seas'. And Adonai saw that it was good."
This was always the part that got my imagination going wild. I used to imagine Adonai sitting on His throne, looking down at all He created and smiling in awe.
Abba went on until he came to our favourite part. "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness! Let them rule over the livestock, over the whole Earth, and over every crawling creature on the land."
"And that was when Adonai created Adam." I chip in, my mouth still full of bread.
"Hey. I'm supposed to tell the story, not you." He laughed, his eyes crinkling at the sides in that way that always comforts me. "Shall I go on, then?"
I nod, and take another bite of the bread.
"Then Adonai took the dust from the ground, and formed Adam, the first man. And then He breathed life into the the man's nostrils and he became a living person. And that was when Adonai planted a garden in the east, and He put Adam there to live. He sprouted forth trees that Adam could eat from and look at. The Tree of Life was right in the middle of the garden, and also the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden. And Adonai then instructed Adam 'from all of he trees in the garden you are most welcome to eat! But of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you must not eat. For when you eat from it, you will surely die!'
"Adam accepted this. But then Adonai saw that Adam was lonely, saying 'it is not good for man to be alone. Let Me make a well matched helper for him. And then, God called Adam to name every creature on the Earth. But for the man he did not find a well matched helper for him, so He caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh. Then Adonai built from the rib He had taken, a woman and brought her to the man.
"And Adam then said 'this one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one is called woman, for from man was taken this one'.
"And they were naked in the garden, but not ashamed. But the snake was shrewder than any animal of the field that Adonai had made. So it tempted the woman and said to her 'did God really say, you must not eat from all the trees of the garden?'"
"And that was when he convinced her to eat of the fruits of the trees!" I chipped in again, making Abba laugh again.
"Yes, daughter. He tempted her telling her tales of how she could be just like Adonai, knowing good and evil. And the woman lusted after the fruit of the tree, and lusted after the wisdom it could give her and she took a bite." Abba enunciated by taking a bite from the peach Ima had packed in for her. They were his favourite.
"And she told Adam to eat of the fruit as well!"
"Yes, daughter, she did."
This was always the part that saddened me and abba both. Why would she drag down her own husband with her?
"And so both of their eyes had opened, and they saw that they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. It was then that they heard the sound of Adonai going to and fro in the garden in the wind of the day. So they hid from Him.
"'Where are you?' Adonai asked the man.
"'Your sound-I heard it in the garden and I was afraid. Because I am naked, I hid myself.'"
A tear slipped down my cheek. I could never imagine having to hide from Adonai. I've never felt the need to. He has been my constant friend and ally since before I was born.
"'Who told you that you were naked?' Adonai asked the man. 'Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'
"The man answered, 'the woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I ate'
"Adonai then asked the woman what she had done and she placed the blame on the snake who had deceived her. Adonai then firstly cursed the snake above all other beasts of the field, consigning him to slither on the ground for the rest of his days. He cursed him to a life of division between man and snake and said 'he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel'.
"The woman he cursed with pain in childbearing, and her desire will be contrary to her husband, and he would rule over her.
"To the man he said '...cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.'"
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