Tuesday, July 13, 2010

RE-POSTED: Daughters of Eve: Part One (Delicate)

In checking the results of my poll question, I see that the majority of you are choosing the same topic I chose as the most interesting one in a book about women: spirituality and Torah. I don’t know yet exactly how I am going to expound upon that topic, but I thought it best to explore the women who are in the Torah and discover what we can learn from them. What better place to start than the beginning: Bereshit (Genesis) and with the first woman: Eve.

Our ancestor Eve has a pretty bad reputation, doesn’t she? For many (including Adam!), the entire blame for sin entering the world lies on her shoulders because she was first to eat the forbidden fruit. At best, she has been deemed a weak woman who was deceived by the serpent, added to G-d’s words in saying that they were never to touch the fruit (the first “fence” around the Torah, which was not necessarily a bad idea), and took her husband down with her by giving him the fruit to eat also. But how often do we get a glimpse of Eve as she was created to be, before the fall? If women are to understand what G-d’s purpose for creating women in the first place, shouldn’t we look to her? Well, I have found a couple of authors who have really opened my eyes to the reality that we do need to look at Eve as she was when G-d created her. Yes, she sinned (and so have we), but she was G-d’s first female. Her reputation needs to be redeemed, and in doing so, perhaps our view of womanhood will be also.

The first aspect of Eve we will explore is what she unveils about a woman’s heart and her design. “A woman’s struggle with her sense of worth points to something glorious she was designed to be” (quoted from the book Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. If you have not read this book, I recommend it!) Think carefully about that statement. Do you ever feel like you’re not living up to what you were created to be? Do you or have you ever struggled with low self worth or self-esteem? I don’t know many women who could honestly answer no to these questions. (I’ve seen an article in a parenting magazine that polled moms on which gender is harder to raise: boys or girls. The results were that girls were easier to raise on every subject except those pertaining to self-esteem. In that area, girls were harder.) It seems that women are queens and princesses somehow ripped away from their kingdoms and domains. We always feel like there is something we’re missing, something we desire but do not have. As the authors put it, “the desire of a woman’s heart and the realities of a woman’s life seem an ocean apart.” This would explain why little girls love fairy tales, love dressing up like princesses…why big girls daydream and keep diaries….why women read romance novels… There’s just something missing. Maybe Eve can help us find it…because she had it…

Something we overlook in the creation account is that Eve was the last creature created, not because she was an afterthought, but because she was the crescendo. She was needed to make the picture complete. Perhaps G-d had Adam wait for her creation so that he would appreciate her all the more when she appeared on the scene. Adam needed to understand that she was taken from him because he needed her. As the Scripture says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) We often take that to say that men should get married, but here it is saying that the world was not a good creation without a woman: it was incomplete. As we see here, a woman cannot complete (fulfill) a man and vice versa. It was G-d who did the completing, for Adam slept through the creation of Eve! Single women should not feel incomplete (as I will mention later) because G-d is the ultimate source of fulfillment. And He fulfilled His creation mission by creating Eve. I love this next quote (let’s do it!): “Step to a window, ladies, if you can. Better still, find some place with a view. Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, ‘The whole, vast world is incomplete without me. Creation reached its zenith in me.’”(Captivating, p.25) Did you do it? Good. Let’s continue.

We long to be better women, to do more, to love more, to ______ more (you fill in the blank), but we need to understand why we long. We long because we were created to be a holy, loving, beautiful, strong, delicate creature who had a deep and personal relationship with G-d, who walked with her Creator in a Paradise Garden, who had no shame to be naked with her husband, who was the Mother of all the living (hence her name, Chavah), who was co-ruling and subduing the earth, who was commissioned to be fruitful and multiply, who was the perfect image bearer of G-d’s “feminine” qualities…. and we’re not quite there right now, are we? We long because it is G-d’s way of reminding us that we will never be there until we are with Him and know Him as He is… as Eve knew Him…

All women should be able to relate to Eve, as she was the epitome of what a woman was designed to be. In being created in G-d’s image, she possessed His characteristics, especially those that are said to be “feminine” because they are oftentimes more evident in women: compassion, vulnerability, the ability to comfort, tenderness, affection, mercy, desire for relationship, etc. As I wrote about already in “Hide-n-Seek,” women desire to be pursued because G-d desires to be pursued. Women are often G-d’s helping hands, hugging arms, gentle words, and compassionate tears on earth. Writing this makes me want to know more about Eve, makes me love her for who she was…makes me love myself for who I am…I actually look forward to meeting her someday. I have many questions to ask her…but they won’t be accusatory or sarcastic, not anymore. As I will share in the next entry, she was actually trying to do the right thing…

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