Adam and Eve—you know this one. God decides that Adam needs a wife, so God yoinks a rib from Adam's side. Hocus pocus, presto, women exist. Adam and Eve then live together in the garden as husband and wife, and no complicated stuff between men and women happened ever again. THE END.
There is, however, more to it. At least according to a certain Rabbi Elazar, a scholar whose obscure take on the story has been preserved for nearly two thousand years in the Talmud. And in true rabbinic style, it’s the tiniest textual irregularity that snowballs into the weirdest possible interpretation of the original text.
The Torah says that, after Adam and Eve get together, Adam recites a poem to his wife. "This is now bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh," he says. Notice anything strange there? Of course you didn’t. But that’s why you didn’t make it into the Talmud, and Rabbi Elazar did.
Imagine the rabbis in the study hall, reviewing these verses. Rabbi Elazar holds up a hand, and the room goes silent. “Fellas,” he says, “did it say ‘now’? It did, didn't it?”
“Awwww yeah,” the other rabbis say, grinning. “Interpret, bro.” “It’s Elazar Time.”
“This is NOW bone of my bones, says Adam,” Rabbi E. says, eyes glinting. “NOW, but not earlier. But was not Eve the first woman, Adam the first man? And doesn't NOW imply that there was someone before Eve? Impossible. Unless...
“Unless…?” The other rabbis are on the edge of their seats.
Elazar slams his fist on the study table. “Unless she wasn't Adam's first!” he says.
The other rabbis hoot, and gather close as Rabbi Elazar tells his twisted version of When Adam Met Eve.
This story begins when God takes a clump of dirt, pushes it around until it’s got a torso, head, legs, arms, nipples, and blows the breath of life into it. A human being, one-of-a-kind, fresh out of the box. God plants a garden in Eden and places Adam in it.
God says to Adam, this is where I drop you off, buddy. I’m going back to Heaven for a little bit, and you’ve got this whole garden to keep you company. Basically it takes care of itself—but keep an eye out for snakes. You going to be OK, champ?
God gives Adam a kiss goodbye, and flies away to Mount Jewlympus, leaving Adam in the garden, alone.
Adam looks around the garden with his newborn brain but grownup eyes. He sees apples, olives, pineapples, every fruit you can imagine. He tries to eat a branch. He licks some dirt. He samples everything, finally becoming the first man to bite into a crunchy grape. Delicious, though he almost chokes on it.
Fruit, Adam says, pointing at the grape, and he continues wandering through the garden.
Adam walks and walks. He passes by streams and hills, licking things every so often, naming them after he does.
Then an animal waltzes into view and picks a leaf from a high branch. Adam is captivated by the creature. The beast stretches its long neck and climbs up on its hind legs, straining to reach the choicest leaf. As it does, its backside comes clearly into view.
Giraffe, Adam says. I call you giraffe. Then Adam has an idea.
(And this is where we learn a little bit about Rabbi Elazar.)
Adam walks over to the giraffe, all casual-like. Then in one swift, surprisingly confident motion, Adam whips out his perfect, God-given phallus, and begins shtupping the giraffe. The giraffe, I assume, shrugs. (Lucky for Adam.)
Adam, in this telling, thus becomes the first human to have sex with an animal—though certainly not the last.
Temporarily satiated and undoubtedly feeling pretty good about himself, Adam smokes a Kent (created on Day 4) and takes a dip in a crystalline river flowing with temperate, delicious water.
As Adam is scrubbing his left armpit, he sees a dolphin swimming by. Hmm, Adam thinks, animated by Rabbi Elazar’s mind. Is that a…blowhole?
Dolphin, Adam names it. And then, right in the middle of a river, Adam fucks a dolphin.
Now, Adam’s hitting his stride. After the dolphin, he fucks a manatee. Adam fucks a bear. Adam fucks an ox. Adam fucks a unicorn. Adam fucks a peacock. Adam has a threeway with a chimp and a sheep. Adam fucks a condor. Yes, certainly, Adam fucks a duck. He fucks, and fucks, and fucks. No chafing, no refractory period, nothing.
And so, Rabbi Elazar says, Adam had intercourse with each animal and beast in the garden, and you’d better believe that Rabbi Elazar means each and every one of God's beautiful creatures. Male, female, mammal, fowl, dinosaur, chicken—gotta catch ‘em all.
I bet you’ve got the same question the other Rabbis had. “Great story,” they say, “but what about Eve?”
Well, here’s the thing: eventually Adam runs out of creatures to fuck.
Adam takes a walk around the garden.
And Adam realizes that he is lonely.
Why hadn’t God created a second human for Adam? We’re on our own; Rabbi Elazar and the Bible are silent on this point. One God, one human—you can see the appeal, but it didn’t work out. It is not good for man to be alone.
God passes by and sees that Adam is miserable. God realizes that Adam, like the animals, should have his own partner. And then God created chloroform, and when Adam came too he had a big scar on his left side and a nice naked lady waking up beside him. Madam, I’m Adam.
And at last, after Adam makes love to Eve, his weird creepy rib-clone wife, he is driven to song. He says:
This one at last
is bone of my bones
flesh of my flesh.
She will be called isha
for from ish she was taken.
And in celebration of their love, and with no small amount of relief, all the creatures of the garden celebrate as Adam and Eve embrace.
Thanks for reading. Issue 25 of The American Bystander is a wrap. To order a PDF of the magazine and to have forever-access to conversations about National Lampoon and the history of comedy like these, become a paid supporter of our Substack.
If you are my high-school Talmud teacher…I’m so sorry about all this.
I wish you were my Talmud teacher. Actually, you are.
This is now the second time I've seen someone joke about Adam butt fucking everything in existence. Is it maybe not a joke? Lol.