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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Adamah for Adam

Today at mass, for the first Sunday of Lent, the readings began with excerpts from the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Genesis, explaining the fall of man (and woman) due to eating forbidden fruit in the center of the garden.  As you no doubt know, the rest of the fruit was not forbidden.  The story shows, upon careful reflection, not some much how much bad there was in the world, but how much good.  Adam and Eve could not even know evil until they ate from one and only one tree.  The rest could be eaten of.

Hidden in the story to the average reader are some meanings in the semitic languages the story comes from.  Adam means man, and therefore first man and Eve means woman, mother (and therefore mother of all the living) and mirror, a mirror of Adam, having been taken from him.  The breath God breathed into Adam was called Ruach, which also means spirit.  And Adam is derived from Adamah, which means soil, or clay.  It is the breath of God that makes Adam something more than soil or clay

This afternoon, as I did my job search (yes, I am still unemployed), I discovered a Craig's List advertisement for three month residential fellowships at what is called a "Jewish Urban Farm" in Berkeley, California. One need not be Jewish to apply.  What caught my attention the most was the name:  Urban Adamah.  While I don't imagine we can re-enter paradise simply by organic farming on urban lots in West Berkeley, I do believe that there is something noble, not only in providing good foods from this project to food banks and the like, but in putting people who have lived very abstract lives in touch with one half of what makes them human.  We are dust to dust, ashes to ashes and be are filled with the holy spirit.  As I go through my Lenten devotions I will be trying to grow more deeply in touch with that paradox.   For those who have an interest in this urban farm our Jewish brothers and sisters are running go to: http://urbanadamah.org/

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