I want you to know that the “Jewish Doctor” part is pure tongue-in-cheek. G-d is not Jewish. He’s for everyone!
That said, if you look into Genesis 2:7-8, you will see an amazing thing:
“And the LORD GOD formed the man, dust from the earth;
Va’yi-PACH beh’ah-PAV nish-MAT chayYIM va’ya-HEE ha’aDAM le’NEFESH chay-YAH
And He breathed into his mouth the Spirit of Life and the Man became a Living Being.”
I’ve transliterated the Hebrew here, because if you read it through a couple of times you will see that it has the actual rhythm of breathing!
What are we seeing here?
“And He breathed into his mouth the Spirit of Life…”
The very first CPR! Divine CPR! The Breath of Life!
In fact, in Hebrew, the word for soul is neSHAmah, and the word for breath is neshiMAH! It is the breath that keeps us alive, and it is the Divine Breath that gives life to the First Human.
Not that the world wasn’t populated with tons of living beings already. This Divine CPR happened on the Sixth Day of Creation, after everything else was ready and in place for the final touch: Man.
But whoops, there was something missing! In Gen. 13:18 G-d notices that the Man is lonely: every other creature has a mate, but not Adam. (Adam is one of the Hebrew words for “man” or “person”.) So G-d says, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I will make him a helper against him.”
Huh? Helper against him? What is that supposed to mean?
There are multiple ways to interpret this phrase. Marriage, as we know, is very complex. At best, the partners have each other’s backs: they are holding each other up, leaning on each other: they are against each other, giving support.
On another level, they challenge each other, ideally bringing out the best in each other, like good sparring partners. They are not out to hurt each other, but to energize one another. Have you ever had a partner who gave in to everything you pushed for, who buckled under adversity? Yech. I want a partner who is able to push back when I push, not to shove me away, but to challenge me to grow as a person. This is a helper against me.
So the very next thing G-d does, in verse 19, is to bring all the birds and beasts to Adam, and ask him to give them all names. Now, we Hebrews believe that names have very special powers: the name is the essence. So when parents name a baby, they are temporarily imbued with Divine Insight, to know the child’s soul and intuit the child’s real name.
So it says in the verse, “And the LORD GOD formed from the earth every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens, and He brought them to the Man to see what he [the Man] would call them; and what ever the Man called each living creature, that was its name.”
Now, the Jewish Bible has four levels of interpretation: 1)literal, 2)giving a hint that something is hidden there, 3) explication, 4)hidden knowledge. And for each level, there are miles and miles of commentaries. I am going to skim over two layers of commentary here, exploring what this business of naming might be about.
The juxtaposition of G-d musing over the idea of giving Adam a mate, with having Adam name all the creatures, is a hint that in order to name something, Adam had to know that creature intimately. But wait! Doesn’t intimate knowledge….knowledge in the Biblical sense, as in “Adam knew his wife and she conceived”….could it be that…..? Some Kabbalistic sources say yes! Adam was looking for his mate, as is supported by verse 20, “…he gave names to all the beasts, and the birds of the heavens, and all the creatures of the fields, but for the Man he didn’t find his helper against him.”
So some sources say that Adam “tried out” every creature in the literal sense, but did not find his mate among them.
But there is a higher (and more palatable) interpretation of the expression “to know intimately.” It is that in order to really know someone, you have to be so empathetic that you actually come to know their inner soul. In fact, it’s as if you are that person, for a time. You’re really “walking in their shoes.” And that, says the Zohar, which is the core text of all Kabbalistic knowledge, is what Adam was really doing. He was melding souls with every creature so that he could intimately know its essence, in order to know what its true name should be.
Now, having been one with all the creatures of the earth (kind of like a Vulcan mind-meld), and not finding his own mate, G-d had another solution, in verse 21-22: “And the LORD GOD cast a tar-DEH-mah** (deep sleep) over the Man and he slept, and He took one of his ribs, and he closed the flesh where it had been. And the LORD GOD built the Woman out of the rib that He took from the Man, and brought her to the Man. And the Man said, This One is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”
The first surgery.
What’s going on here? If G-d is all-powerful, etc, etc, why couldn’t He just create a First Woman for the First Man? Why did He have to take a chunk out of the Man? And why on Earth did He put the Man under general anesthesia first, when He could have just **whack** taken out the rib and closed the wound and that was that?
Did G-d just want to be the Primordial Anesthesiologist? He already knew CPR, so why not?
**The word “tardemah” is still in use in modern Hebrew. It means “anesthesia,” of course!