|Excerpt from this day’s program:
…Indeed, as we approach misnamed Jewish New Year – misnamed because the birth of the Jewish people was Passover in the year 1313 before the Common Era, Rosh HaShana commemorates the birth of man as he is known today.
The Jewish mystical tradition teaches — long before Darwin — that Adam was not the first humanoid but generation No. 971. That there had been 970 generations of man prior to his birth but they all were more animal-like than human. The way sort of Ishmael was in his character and behavior a slave of his animal instincts, more like an untamed, undomesticated jackass than a man.
No, what the evolution of man, the successive generations may have accomplished is refining the good qualities of man away from his similarity to animals but always, never completely free of them — until Adam, the first man born with free will, the freedom to choose to surmount our animal-like drives, urges and appetites.
And what was the first thing the new version of man and woman learned after eating from the Tree of Knowledge? Their first knowledge of anything was that there is good and evil, and they are not the same. And G-d their Maker wants them to choose to do good and refrain from evil…