Taking a story literally or not, when I read a story in Chumash - again, believing everything is coming from God - whether or not that story actually happened has nothing to do with its message. Do you understand my point? If someone believes, it's like the flood story, so there's an argument - it happened or didn't happen - or the story of creation. It's not a question of when you study it, it's not coming to tell you this happened. Chumash is using that story to give you a message. Now it could be the story did happen. But even if it didn't happen, that only makes the story even more meaningful. It's a tricky point, but it's really important. Meaning, if you believe in God, if you believe in nevuah, if you believe this work is coming from God, if God makes up a story to teach you a lesson that doesn't make the story any less meaningful. In fact, it makes it more meaningful...Of course, Rabbi Leibtag starts with the belief that God wrote the Torah in its entirety, so I guess with this a priori assumption his point is valid. But at the same time, it seems to be nothing more than clever stretchin' and kvetchin'. His assertion can be used for apologists when encountering any piece of evidence - no matter how compelling - that the Torah may be a compilation of multiple source documents.
Do we keep Shabbat because God created in seven days, or does God create a creation story so that we would keep Shabbat in a meaningful way. Do you follow? The second approach is much more meaningful, it makes much more sense. It could be that it did take 7 days, but even if it didn't it wouldn't make any difference. The message you get from Sefer Bereshit, the meaning that you gain from studying the creation story in depth, and looking at schematics and the way it's setup, it's said so beautifully and so much depth to the story and this deep message with man's relationship with God. That message has nothing do with what happened in physics. Big bang, small bang, middle bang. It has nothing to do with it. That message is eternal. And if someone can prove to you that it didn't take six or seven days, so what? It doesn't mean a thing. And if God gives you that story to teach you a message, then it's only more meaningful if it didn't happen. Understand? So therefore that whole argument of whether something happened or not is trivial.
Now, the danger of that approach is where do you draw the line? You get fundamental fundamentalism where maybe that didn't happen, or maybe the avot didn't exist, maybe yetzias mitzrayim didn't happen, maybe I don't exist. Do you follow? You go on and on and you can't draw the line and therefore what usually happens is because I don't know where to draw the line you don't draw it at all. That's also dangerous.
So whaddya think?