Adam and Eve relate directly to the principal owner of the San Francisco Giants and America’s upcoming midterm elections. Let’s start at the beginning. 

This week, we begin the annual Torah reading cycle. It commences with the initial portion of Genesis—B’reishit. “In the Beginning” is one of several translations of that first word. 

The portion offers two creation stories. In the second, God creates Eve to be Adam’s helpmate then places the first couple in the garden of Eden. Critically, God commands Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad (Gen. 2:16–17). The shrewd serpent tells them that’s foolish. It encourages Eve to take a bite (Gen. 3:1-5). She does then passes the fruit—likely a date or pomegranate—to Adam. He chows down.

Adios, Eden.

The key: God issues a commandment about the fruit yet no moat or electrified fence surrounds the tree of knowledge of good and bad. Adam and Eve have a choice to make. They make it. 

The lesson: People must make choices every day. (You’ve chosen to read this far.)

The Torah is consumed with choice. Through 40 years in the wilderness, following the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites make many bad choices. Witness the Golden Calf. Result: Only two adult males—Joshua and Caleb—enter the land of Canaan. 

Moses, who will die just outside the Promised Land at age 120, knows that the younger generation about to enter Canaan also will make mistakes. He instructs the Israelites: “I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life . . .” (Deuteronomy 30:19). In short, follow the Law. (No, this has nothing to do with abortion.)

After entering the land, bad choices dog the Israelites. The rest of the Hebrew Bible portrays an extended cycle of bad judgment and subsequent disasters.

Baseball? Giants principal owner Charles Johnson makes contributions—often big ones—to ultra-conservative candidates and organizations. According to the San Francisco Chronicle (10-17-22), they’ve included $100,000 to a super PAC (political action committee) promoting Republican Herschel Walker’s U.S. Senate campaign in Georgia. 

Periodically in San Francisco, a hue and cry erupts against Johnson. It’s misguided. Johnson’s politics certainly are not mine, but he has every right to choose his causes and candidates. In January 2021, he said, “My contributions are mine alone and are not associated in any way with the San Francisco Giants.” Agreed.

If fans associate Johnson’s politics with the Giants, they’re also free to make choices. They can stay away from Oracle Park and not watch Giants TV broadcasts. I suspect that few fans, unable to kick their baseball addiction, choose to do so. 

Hopefully, many fans acknowledge that Johnson has the right to make his own political choices even if they disagree with them.

That said, should Johnson’s candidates win, I’ll feel uneasy about the health of America’s democratic system. As I see it, a number of Republicans want to undermine it. Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake recently echoed Donald Trump by saying she would accept the outcome of the November 8 election if she won

The midterms near, I offer this advice: Vote your beliefs. Democrat? Republican? Other. Your choice.

But when you do, remember Adam and Eve—and choose life.

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  1. Tracy on October 21, 2022 at 11:06 am

    A verse by the Canadian band Rush comes to mind:

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
    I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose Freewill

    Always think of this verse while reading Bereshit.

    My choice: Aaron Judge in orange and black in 2023.

    Gut shabbos.

    • David Perlstein on October 21, 2022 at 11:08 am

      A lot to think about, Tracy.

  2. David Sperber on October 21, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    Johnson continues to shame political decency. I’ll watch the Giants in spite of my desire to see him disposed. He and his wife make privacy the the central focus. His shameful choices should not be swept under the rug. Maybe Buster can convince him to give up his majority share.

    • David Perlstein on October 21, 2022 at 4:45 pm

      It seems, David, that you can separate Johnson from Giants baseball. That’s as it should be. Will Buster Posey be able to convince Johnson to sell his lead interest in the team? Not likely.

  3. David Newman on October 22, 2022 at 8:32 am

    But enough about Johnson. What about Herschel Walker? He reminds me of Senator Hruska’s comment in the midst of a Supreme Court nomination battle that even mediocre people deserve representation. But Walker transcends even mediocrity (in the wrong direction). Really, Georgia? Do roughly half the people in that otherwise lovely state really think that a man who was tackled way too many times is qualified to represent them in the Senate? Pathetic.

    • David Perlstein on October 22, 2022 at 9:11 am

      That, David, is another story. Georgia’s voters will choose. Whether you and I like the result remains to be seen.

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