SELF STRUGGLE AND CHANGE
How do I find greater wholeness in my life and in my family s life? The stress of late-20th-century living only brings new variations to timeless personal struggles. The people described by the biblical writers of Genesis were in situations and relationships very much like our own, and their stories still speak to us because they are about the same basic problems we deal with every day. Learning from Adam and Eve , can we find the courage not only to face our other side, but to draw strength from it? Learning from Leah and Rachel, can we stop competing with our loved ones, and begin to accept them and find ourselves? Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers; these six stories are first retold and then explored, offering us new ways of understanding ourselves and our families and healing our lives.
Cohen, one of the panelists on Bill Moyers's PBS series on Genesis, has written an intriguing search for meaning in the Genesis stories. In his introduction, Cohen explains how he used the Jewish practice of midrash (close examination of and commentary on biblical texts) to read the Genesis stories with an eye toward extracting insight into contemporary family relationships. According to Cohen, the Genesis stories of sibling rivalry and family conflict embody our struggles with discord both within ourselves and with others. Thus, the story of Adam and Eve illustrates that we must unite the opposing elements within us to find our true selves, while the story of Cain and Abel questions our ability radically to change our lives for the good. Since Genesis ends with the unification of all the tribes of Israel, Cohen believes we will also be able to unify the conflicts within us and overcome our differences with others. Although somewhat simplistic, Cohen's interpretations will be of value to many people who use the Bible as a guidebook for their daily lives.