Transcript of an editorial meeting

YAH: Almost everything you’ve written here is wrong – or at least, seriously misleading and lacking essential elements of context. No one will read it.

MOSES: Can’t we just dispense with the text and go straight to the commentary?

YAH: The Oral Torah concept? Yeah, but remember: the devil is in the details. Basically, everything you think you know is wrong.

MOSES: Wrongness, then, would seem to be an existential attribute of – um, I mean, the unavoidable condition of Your creatures, correct me if I’m wrong.

YAH: I will, trust me. Generally speaking, to be wrong is to be consumed – by burning, say. Though just once, I would like to feel that myself. It’s hell to be right all the time.

MOSES: I think if we want to write a real bestseller here, we have to put in a lot more angels. Tell me about the seraphim.

YAH: Beetles! I never tire of them, their hard & shiny outer wings, the way those diaphanous inner wings unfold, their way with flowers, dung or carrion. Their almost infinite variety.

MOSES: O.K., maybe I’d better stick with violence and begetting, then. But something you just said made me wonder: philosophically speaking, would it be fair to say that Creation is the only escape from tautology?

YAH: Stop trying to pin me down! I ain’t no beetle! Despite what some Egyptians might have told you.

MOSES: But I heard that you gave Abraham something called Sefer Yetzirah, The Book of Creation – like the Chicago Manual of Style for the cosmos. Where can I get a copy?

YAH: That was just a test, like the Binding of Isaac – which he failed miserably, by the way. What a tool he turned out to be! A cog in search of cogma. Haven’t spoken to him since.

MOSES: “Teaching to the test” is wrong, though, isn’t it?

YAH: He was supposed to figure that out on his own. That was the test. This is not a test! I don’t play dice.

MOSES: But, I mean, is it really possible to create new life forms by combining and recombining the letters of Your name, over and over, in precise and non-intuitive sequences?

YAH: Genetic engineering? Yes, but it’s a waste of time – and leads, of course, to hubris and atheism.

MOSES: Suppose, however – just suppose! – there were a need…

YAH: Look at the way unrelated species come to resemble each other, so-called convergent evolution. What are they converging toward? Look at how species co-evolve – the flower and its pollinator, an intricate pas de deux for which it took billions of years and a couple supernovas to set the stage. Beautiful, yes? But let me tell you, Moe: It’s all in the smiting.

MOSES: O.K., but let’s think of our target audience. The priests are going to want to know: how can we be holy, as You are holy? I mean, that is what you said you wanted to communicate, right? In a nutshell?

YAH: As some German Christian heretic will say in the fullness of time: “If you want the kernel, you must break the shell!” Tell the priesthood to suck on your left nut.

MOSES: That’s not very constructive.

YAH: Then tell them to pay attention. That’s it!

MOSES: What is?

YAH: PAYING ATTENTION! What Adam and Eve had such a hard time with. You know, “the only escape from tautology.” Or solipsism, to look at it from My point-of-view, for once.

MOSES: Come again?

YAH: Bugger off, tablet boy!

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