The Fall of Chavah

snake

© Kecia Sparlin

“I’ve always been given the blame, but it was really that woman and man. After all, I can’t make someone do something against their will. She ate of her own accord and the man, who should have known better, was standing right there, and not only did he not stop her, he ate too.”

“Why did you even talk to her in the first place? If not for you…”

“Judith, dear Judith, she would have done it sooner or later. Temptation is just like gravity. All it takes is a little push to help it along. After all, didn’t Hashem make me cunning beyond any beast of the field?”

“You’re very glib, serpent. I still think you set Chavah up to take the blame.”

“Face it, Judith. You’re no sort of woman to tend a garden. That’s why you sought me out. Walk on the wild side and that sort of thing?”

“You ruined my life, my engagement, everything.”

“The decisions you make are on you. I just revealed your options.”

Written for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of July 4, 2017 #2 (I wonder what #1 is?) hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 words being the ideal. My word count is 171.

Unfortunately, I saw the title of Iain Kelly’s story, though I haven’t read his tale yet, and it influenced my choice of topics, the serpent in the garden. I briefly quoted from the Stone Edition Tanakh, the words in italics above. I also “borrowed” the phrase about temptation and gravity from Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker from the 2008 film “The Dark Knight”.

Some people believe all of their problems are the result of an external tormentor or tempter, but in truth, tempted though we may be, our actions are on us. We can choose to say “no.”

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to Inlinkz.com.

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “The Fall of Chavah

  1. Great story James! I like the way it is written around “Adam and Eve” and the story of the original sin. That is so true, the decision is on us and we need to choose well. I had to send out #2 challenge because when my first challenge post came into my email, WordPress had garbled all the words and I needed a post that had all the words on it instead of garble. They are both the exact same thing.

    Like

    • Ah, I thought I’d missed another opportunity to write. Thanks for the clarification.

      I was actually trying to find a way to interpret the story through a more Jewish lens, though I don’t think I succeeded. From that perspective, people are inclined both to do good and to do evil, and it is the struggle that, if we’re successful, helps us refine our souls. In Judith’s case, she’s given in to the evil inclination so often, it’s now become second nature. Perhaps an actual encounter with the serpent will help her realize that the power to do good is also within her.

      In any event, my friend ProclaimLiberty will likely be along to clarify any misconceptions I may have introduced to my story. He sees things through a lens that often eludes me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I felt where you were going with this story, but due to my lack of knowledge about the Jewish religion I struggled somewhat. I will try to refresh my knowledge

    Like

    • In some ways, I too have difficulty wrapping my brain around the Jewish interpretation of this incident, especially its consequences, since it is very different from the “black and white” view of mainstream Christianity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One lens, comin’ up! [:)] Actually, no, I don’t have anything much to add to this discussion, except to point out that your serpent’s summary of the events wasn’t exactly accurate. But that’s nothing new for that character.

    True, the man really *should* have known better, and trusted that HaShem could redeem an already-damaged ‘Havah even when she approached him with the forbidden fruit. The text does indicate, though, that he *wasn’t* right there already, or able to stop her when she was initially tempted to eat, because she had to bring the fruit to him and relay the false counter-claim that it was a good means to become “wise” rather than a death sentence. A midrash suggests that he chose, because of his love for her, to eat and share ‘Havah’s fate rather than to be separated from her because of her sin. In hindsight, of course, his mistake is clear; but it is presented as one of those things that “seemed like the best available choice at the time”. It could be expecting *a lot* from Adam haRishon to expect that *he* could have already understood HaShem’s impending plan of redemption, and how it might be applied to ‘Havah’s new situation, even though HaShem had already known ahead of time that the Torah and the Covenant and the Messiah would all be needed.

    Nonetheless, regardless of anything that Adam *might* have known as a theory, he had no practical experience to guide him regarding how HaShem might possibly save ‘Havah. He is presented as having only the knowledge of HaShem’s statement that they would begin to die as soon as they ate from the fruit of that tree. ‘Havah had done so. What’s a fella to do in such a circumstance? The midrash suggests that we should pity and forgive him, despite the punishment that HaShem was required to apply. But it also requires of *us*, from our later vantage, to consider how we ourselves should behave *now* when faced with temptation to transgress the boundaries of the Torah we have been taught, regardless of whatever happened to Adam in *his* era.

    All these are things that we can glean from that ancient story, by which our own behavior and attitudes can be improved. They show us that we do not need to be deceived by any sneaky, slippery, serpent of surreptitious subversive suggestions-sssssssssssss…. .

    Liked by 1 person

    • As you’ve surmised PL, the serpent isn’t always truthful and tends to tell his tales to his advantage. I’ve wondered about this experience and what Hashem expected two people who were almost literally “born yesterday” to do in response to the situation. Adults have decades of experience to draw upon when making moral choices and we still sometimes (often) fail. How were Adam and Chavah (Eve) expected to pass the test with very limited life experience?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Trusting what HaShem had said, as being much more reliable than any claims the serpent or anyone else might make, would have prevented the problem; and it was certainly within the power of both the woman and the man to do so. Especially lacking their own experience upon which to base any deliberations, they ought to have resisted suggestions from other created beings like the serpent. He wasn’t much older than they were, so why should they expect him to be wiser than HaShem? They had been appointed to be the managers with dominion over the Garden. The serpent ought to have been subject to their dominion and to HaShem’s, not trying to subvert either one. The logic isn’t complex, so passing the test would have been as simple as trusting their “Father”. The “Keep it simple, Stupid” approach would have been sufficient, albeit as naïve as they were. It’s still a good principle for staying out of trouble.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A similar theme for a lot of us this week – the bad reputation that snakes have got, starting with this story. I’m not religious, but it must affect my consciousness in someway as I’m scared of snakes for no obvious reason, I’ve never had a bad incident with one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had guessed that most of the stories would feature the snake as the bad guy, whether referencing the Adam and Eve story or otherwise. So I deliberately sought out a tradition in Eneana that was the opposite, even though there, like here, most of snake references are evil. I don’t think we need racial memory to explain that — come on, they hide in the grass, then jump out and bite you! That seems pretty obviously “bad guy” behavior. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • To be fair Joy, it’s not like snakes hunt us. Most hide and even venomous snakes only strike when they feel threatened. I still think they’re creepy, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I totally agree. It’s not the snake’s fault we demonize them! But we have a natural fear of things that both hide and can attack — if we accidentally step on them, for instance. So the poor things get a bad reputation.

        Like

  5. Very interesting take. The Devil trying to rationalize temptation. I wonder if Adam and Eve, or the names you call them here, knew temptation before the devil, or considered it. They had free will so they likely could have. But I wonder if the had something enough to tempt them in original sin in Eden before?
    Also, referring back to my own piece based off of Milton’s Paradise Lost, your snake character makes me think of Milton’s description of the devil in that he was never able to be content and moderate as he should have been as the angel, Lucifer.

    Milton describes the devil as always moving between pride and despair, one or the other. While humans inherited this, they do know the moderate road because of God, and though they might not stay there long, but they know moderation or a medium between pride and despair, that it is the correct path. Yet, Satan doesn’t even know this rightness. His twisting of good makes him evil. Very fascinating for sure. Poor Judith, (Eve). Always the bad boys.

    Like

    • In Hebrew, their names are Adam (accent on the second syllable) and Chavah or Havah. I gave my modern heroine the name Judith. Also in the original Hebrew, the serpent or Lucifer if you prefer is actually named HaSatan which literally means “The Adversary”. I like digging into the Jewish perspectives on events in the Bible before the Christian overlay colored those perspectives, just to see if I can get any closer to the people involved.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s