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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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From Delight to Destruction: The Double-Faced Power of Sex

From Delight to Destruction: The Double-Faced Power of Sex

Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9–11:32)

(p.19) Two From Delight to Destruction: The Double-Faced Power of Sex
Torah Queeries

Steven Greenberg

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the two distinct portrayals of sex in Genesis. The first is the discovery of and the union with the opposite sex—when Adam first encountered Eve. This moment depicts the means by which two souls, searching for complementarity, join in intense pleasure and union like the whole, interrelated, creative, ecstatic, vitality of God. The second is the disharmony between two sexes in the post-Eden world when “humans had intercourse with [beast and animals].” This double evaluation of sexuality—its ability to express profound love, union, and care and its simultaneous capacity for degradation of self and other—marks the particular Jewish ethical stance on sex. Sex is fully wondrous in the first chapters of Genesis, but after its early spring awakening, its darker and more troubling sides appear.

Keywords:   Genesis, opposite sex, God, post-Eden world, sexuality

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