Are you sitting down? If not, do. Good. I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you.
Right near the end of parashat Bereshit, we read:
Vayinachem Adnai ki-asa et-ha'adam ba'eretz vayit'atziv el-libo.
And Gd regretted that Gd had made humans on the earth, and Gd grieved in Gd's heart. (Gen 6:6)
Now stop for a minute, and think about that. Think about what it means to have your own Creator regret having made you. Stay in that place a minute before going on.
OK, let it go. Lighten up a second. Give Gd a break. Like anything turns out right the first time? Just ask the software engineers at Microsoft. And that's just software. Human beings are far more complex.
Nevertheless, it's a pretty sad thing to have your Creator regretting having made you. Yes, go back to that place again, and stay there a bit.
OK, now, walk around that place a bit, and try a different approach. Ask yourself how much we humans may regret having been made. Considering all we have been through as a species, perhaps it would have all turned out for the better if Gd had simply wiped us all out, and noticed this Noah fella.
Yep, still in that place, but I'll bet there was some spark at the mention of Noah. Don't get too smug. Remember, Your Creator regrets having created You. Not a nice feeling, is it.
OK, I'll be nice again. Remember that Gd grieved at these thoughts.
OK now, that's enough positive feelings. Sorry, back to that yucky place again. Your Creator regrets having made You. Yes, go back to that ugly place again. Stay there. Wallow in it. Wallow in self pity, if you must.
Or rail against Gd, if you must. "Hey, Gd, You made us, you're stuck with us. Regret all you want." (Be sure, however, before thinking those thoughts that your understanding of Gd is more limited, otherwise we might just get wiped out all over again.)
Or you argue "but it says Gd was grieved in Gd's heart" because of this regret. This certainly portrays a Gd not so entirely callous and whimsical with the things it creates.
OK, I'll let you have that. But I'm still making you stay in that place, that place where Your Creator regrets having created You.
Have things changed all that much? What is the earth like today? There's plenty of wickedness and evil to be found. Not so long ago, such a huge evil that it wiped out half of the remnant of Gd's covenanted people.
Did Gd do us any favors by not wiping it all out and starting again, I again ask? Maybe the system was more flawed than we realize. After all, Gd does say that Gd will wipe out all that Gd has created on earth--not just human, but birds, animals, and all, because, as Gd put it in the first person:
Ki nachamti ki asitim. Because I regret having made them.
Through the acts of mercy and favor that we will read about in next week's parasha, Gd allows this flawed creation to continue. Gee, thanks, Gd.
But I'm not here to give Gd a hard time. I'm here to give you a hard time. Remember, think what it must feel like to believe that Your Creator regrets having created you. Let the emotions wrapped up with those idea wash over you, envelop you, drag you down to depths of utter despair. It's like the devastation a child feels when Mommy or Daddy says "I wish you had never been born" or "I wish I had never given birth to you." It's not a happy place.
There's violence in Israel, Iraq, Bolivia, Bosnia and many other places. There are poverty and hunger everywhere. Racism. Cheating. CEOS with ridiculous salaries. "I'm not responsible for that," you may think. We all contribute. Most often by indifference. Don't let yourself off the hook so easily. You're part of a society that Gd could just as easily want to wipe out as Gd planned to do those millennia ago. Nothing to be proud of. Or is there? What is it gonna take to get noticed, to win Gd's approval, convince Gd that things really aren't so bad here on earth.
Keep those thoughts, but don't forget where we started. The utter despair of knowing your Creator regretted having created You.
Are you there? If not, get there. Stay there. Feel what that feels like. Sometime later, maybe even near the very end of Shabbat, come back and finish this musing. Maybe just a few minutes time will be enough for you. It's not for me to judge. Oh, who am I kidding. Most of you will just go on and finish this anyway. So wait just a while. Stay in that ugly place just a little bit longer.
Vayinachem Noach matza chein b'einei Adnai. But Noah had found favor in Gd's eyes.
Now think about it. And think about all we have to do to get Gd to that place again.
© 2003 by Adrian A. Durlester
Some other musings on this parasha:
Bereshit 5766-Kol D'mei
Bereshit 5765 (5760)-Failing to Understand-A Learning Experience
Bereshit 5764-Gd's Regrets
Bereshit 5762--The Essential Ingredient
Bereshit 5763--Striving to be Human
Bereshit 5761--Chava's Faith
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