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The Jewish Myth Of Prometheus, Or The First Havdalah

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Chapter Summary

Through the story of the First Havdalah, a link is made between contemporary halakhic practice-differentiating the "holy from the profane"-and the gift of fire to the First Man. The author point outs that legends on the acquisition of fire most often entail a terrestrial hero stealing a flame or spark from the gods or another supernal creature. The most famous of all these myths is recounted by Greeks-the tale of Prometheus, the great benefactor of mankind, who stole fire from the Olympian gods, against the will of Zeus. The author compares this myth with the midrashim on the gift of fire to Adam following his banishment from the Garden of Eden. In a fascinating twist, the sin marking the violation of the boundary between Heaven and Earth, in the Greek myth, becomes the source of reparation in the Jewish myth.

Keywords: Havdalah; Jewish myth; Prometheus



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