I would like to credit and thank author and playwright Glen Merzer as the source of inspiration for this imagined dialogue.
After Rosh Hashanah services this year, I was resting at home when I heard a knock on the door.
Not expecting any visitors, I peered through the peephole – and my jaw dropped. Standing there, on my front stoop, was God.
“Oh my God!” I exclaimed reflexively, relieved that I hadn’t blurted out “WTF!” reflexively instead.
“That would be Me,” came The Voice from the other side of the door. “Are you going to let Me in?”
I opened the door, as if I had a choice.
“Shanah Tovah,” God said.
“Uh, what are You doing here? I mean, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“It being Rosh Hashanah and all, I thought I would drop by to see how things are going down here. Just wanna check in to see if you all are taking good care of My Creation,” God replied.
“Your creation? Like, could You be more specific?
“Sure,” God said. “As you know, I gave you an owner’s manual, which you call the Torah. Are you following my directions?”
“Oh, I see what You mean. Well, the be-fruitful-and-multiply thing, we’ve got that down. Just in the past 100 years, we’ve quadrupled the human population, from about 2 billion to 7.8 billion.”
“Hmmm, it seems you’ve gotten a little carried away,” God responded. “But OK, I did say ‘be fruitful and multiply.’ My bad. I should have worded that a bit more carefully.
“Let’s move on. What about my second instruction, to take care of the animals?”
“You mean dominion? So, You haven’t heard?”
“Heard what?” God demanded.
“Look, I’m vegan, so don’t blame me. Here’s the unvarnished truth: Humanity has screwed this up royally.”
“Explain,” God ordered, looking a little agitated.
“Where to begin?” I said, partly to myself. “Just in the past 50 years, the number of wild animals has declined 70 percent. More species are becoming extinct all the time.
“On the other hand, we have more farmed animals than ever before. There are an estimated 31 billion farmed animals on land alive at any given time, and about the same amount of farmed fish.”
“Farmed animals?” God asked. “You mean like oxen, to plow fields?”
“No, I mean cows and chickens, to be slaughtered for food.”
“For food?” Now God was really getting hot under the collar. Not that God wears a collar. “For food? Did you even read the owner’s manual? Could I have made it any clearer? I put it right there in the first chapter: Eat plants and only plants. And in the second chapter, I explained that I created animals to be your companions. You mean to tell me you’re killing them and eating them?”
“Not me God. I actually read the owner’s manual. That’s why I’m vegan. Not to blame You or anything, but You did eventually give people the right to eat meat, in Genesis 9.”
“Give me a break!” God said, almost shouting now. “Yes, I gave people limited permission to eat meat – after they had sunk to such a low spiritual state, I had to drown almost everyone in a flood. But I never dreamed that humanity would remain in such a low state, all these thousands of years later. Besides, when I retook control of the menu, when the Israelites were in the desert, I put them back on a vegan diet. Manna, you’ve heard of it?”
“Manna? Yes. You’re preaching to the choir.”
“Choir, schmeyer. Don’t just stand there. Do something!” God ordered.
“I’ll have You know that I work for an organization that is trying to educate Jews about their owner’s manual and help them comply with it.”
“Then get busy!” God thundered. (God likes to do that.)
“I will, soon as Rosh Hashanah is over.”