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Judaism Sacred Stories Including Parables

1098 words - 4 pages

JUDAISM - SACRED STORIES ...The Jewish people have always used stories in order to convey principles they wanted to impart.The Jews have retained a number of stories concerning the beginnings of the world and of humanity. Some of these stories have been borrowed and adapted from other peoples in the Near East, and given a distinctive Jewish colouring. In two separate stories, the Jewish people described Creation. The first told of a vast abyss of chaotic waters into which Yahweh (Jewish name for God) had brought order; he had fashioned a light-filled earth on which human beings could live. The he adorned the earth with vegetation, animals, and finally the pinnacle of all creation - the human person. The first human was both male and female. The second story was of a different type. It began not with watery chaos but with a desert, barren and trackless. Creation took place when Yahweh introduced water to the desert, so making clay. The Yahweh fashioned a human being, Adam, from the clay. The lone human being was set up to review all the animals that God has also fashioned from the earth, but in none of them did he find a soul mate. So God caused a sleep to come over Adam, and a rib was removed from him and was fashioned into a woman. This story is a beautiful image of what human beings should be - perfect and fulfilled. The Jews, however knew that people were not like that, so they handed on a series of other myths which explained why life was not so perfect as the creation stories would maintain. The first of these 'sin stories' was of Adam and Eve in the Garden. They had been forbidden to eat the fruit of one of the trees, but a serpent - typically an image of evil for the Jews - tempted Eve to eat it, she did so, and she enticed Adam to eat it also. They had disobeyed. Sin had entered the world and with it the disruption of the life style. Their punishment was to live from that time forward in what we know as the typical human condition. Adam was to struggle for existence against the hostile elements in the world; the earth, from which he was formed, became alien to him. Eve was to be subject to Adam, no longer his equal; she was to suffer in childbirth, and both of them would age and die. Other sin stories are about Cain and Abel, Noah and the Flood and the Tower of Babel. There are many legend associated with the early stages of the epic story of Israel. The patriarchs were the founding fathers of Israel. One of them, Abraham, was called by Yahweh and told to go on a journey into the land of Canaan; he did so and there he had a son, Isaac, who in turn had a son, Jacob. Each of these patriarchs has a cycle of legends attributed to hum, telling of his birth, his valour and his meeting with Yahweh. The most significant Jewish legend centres...

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