Mysteries abound in B’reishit, the Book of Genesis and name for the Torah cycle’s first weekly portion. Where, for example, does Cain’s wife (4:17) come from? Midrash—a story or comment that fills in textual gaps—provides answers. Cain, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 58b) explains, marries his sister.
Okay, that’s cleared up. But questions remain. Like where did the water God uses to fashion the world (1:2) come from? The Sages take a pass. They have bigger fish to fry. But here’s one that puzzled me until recently: How do Adam and Eve respond to the garments of skins God fashions for them—founding the rag trade in the process—after they eat the forbidden fruit and find themselves naked (3:21)? Fortunately, I discovered a long-lost midrash.
Adam, it states, checks out his new clothes and offers the thumbs-up sign. “Cool, Lord. I can really kick back in these. Can you create beer now?”
Eve throws eye-darts at her contented husband. Of all the men in the world! At least, that could have been. “Lord,” she says, flipping her long, dark hair. (Blondes will come later.) “This outfit is very nice, but the color doesn’t do much for my eyes. And the hem… I know I have nothing to go on, but the length seems so last year. Not that I know what a year is.”
God shrugs. He hasn’t exactly anticipated this.
“And where,” Eve continues, “do I find shoes and a bag to match? And you don’t really expect me to wear the same outfit two days in a row!” She smiles. “The day-and-night thing. You’re so clever.” Her lips purse. Her eyes narrow. “It’s all about accessories. Lord, you have work to do.”
God’s face (the Garden of Eden scene presents an anthropomorphic Master of the Universe) reflects neither mirth nor bemusement. “Spare the rod,” He mutters. “Look, Eden isn’t the real world. There’s more to life than shopping. Or hoisting a cool one.”
“I was thinking,” Adam interrupts, “it would be nice to have a pocket. Something big enough to hold a brewski. Maybe two.” He looks away. “Is Eve putting on weight?”
“Don’t get me started about kids,” God counters. “Long story short… You want beer? I’ve given you barley, malt and hops. Plenty of clean water, too. You want a new outfit? Check out the sheep. I’d go wool this winter. Looks good and keeps you warm.” God comes closer. “I’m just saying, use your imagination and make good choices.”
“We’re empowered!” Eve responds. She glances past Adam scratching a now-private area and spots a pool of black shiny stuff near a date palm. “We can do anything, can’t we? Like learn chemistry and create plastic. Then discover money and use plastic.”
God rolls his figurative eyes and points eastward. “There. The real world. Go. Yala. Charge!”
And so they do. But that’s another story.