In the beginning....we were all mean.
Updated: Apr 20
Let's discuss our first notion of a couple. In the midrash, or ancient commentaries on the Torah, the Myth or Legend of Lilith claims she was God's initial attempt to create a female companion for Adam. Like him, she emerged directly from God's divine fiat, and not from her husband's rib.
This aspect of co-equalness soon caused trouble in Eden when Lilith blew-off her husband's sexual advances. She found Adam's prior habit of coupling with animals uncouth. Researcher and author, Barbara Walker, in her tome, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets finds an additional factor. Adam wanted Lilith to lie beneath him in the 'position favored by male-dominated societies'. Repulsed by his fetish, Lilith fled the garden. God heard about the marital breakup and sent two angels to convince her to return. She refused, now enjoying erotic sex with the 'heathen gods' who allowed her to sit atop them, while in the act of lovemaking. A position known to be more pleasurable for women.
From the ancient Rabbinic perspective, Lilith was the first truly 'mean girl'. They characterized her as bothersome to men for giving them nocturnal emissions and claimed she whisked off babies during the night and sucked their blood. One suave, womanizer I knew in law school referred to modern day, Lilith-like girls as, “Psycho bitches from hell”. He explained, “Men are drawn to the icy, aloofness and unpredictability, figuring their neurotic behavior suggested a highly charged sexual nature” He opined that out of sheer emotional exhaustion or to play it safe with a more docile female, these men eventually married ‘the girl next door types’. Eve, as it t’were.
Adam's second wife was cloned from his rib, rather then emerging directly through a divine utterance. God learned from the past mistake and created Eve a more temperate and demure female. That is until she bite the forbidden apple. Then she became a mean girl too. Punished for her tragic act, she was banished from the garden, along with her husband. Certain death awaited both of them. He would toil in the fields, while she looked forward to hard labor when giving birth.
In the kingdom of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve were destined to have two sons; one brother who murdered the other.
Our everyday world of lovemaking and suffering, mirrors some of the same duality of Lilith and Eve. Male and female alike, we can do acts of kindness for one another. But we can be mean spirited too. Back when I was six or seven years old, doing mean things to my otherwise good friends, meant knocking on the front door of their houses, then running away to hide before it was opened. Mean, maybe. Certainly it was a childish prank.
Admittedly there is scope and degrees of meanness. However, kindness is kindness. Even if it's just smiling at someone to boost their spirit, or giving flowers to someone you love.