© 2020 by Rabbi Dr. Zvi Aviner
Giving Adam the Six Commandments
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
1: The Primordial Sin is a prototype of all Sins
We are studying Noah’s Second Commandment, ADULTERY.
For that, we’ve moved from Genesis Chapter One (which introduces both the CREATOR and IDOLATRY) to Genesis Chapter Two, where the Story of Eden introduces the PRIMORIDAL SIN.
To Most people, the PRIMORDIAL SIN is – SEX, of course, Has not Eve been enticed by the cunning Serpent?
But tradition says that “The Woman” (she wasn’t yet called Eve) was MARRIED to Adam in Eden. f she cohabited with the Serpent, her sin was, rather, ADULTERY.
Moreover, the PRIMORDIAL SIN in Eden is the prototype of all sins. The CREATOR wishes to teach Adam all forms of sin, in case he would be driven out to live on Earth. In today’s class we’ll follow the text to see how was it I done,
Last class we followed the text and learned When and Where was Eden FORMED. It was FORMED on a Day that had no grass, shrub, or tree on Earth, not even rain. There could be only one such a Day- the THIRD Day, before ELKM seeded Life on Earth. Hence Eden was a virtual Garden, ‘FORMED’ rather than CREATED or MADE. We would have said that Eden was on the Blue Print of the World, or on the computer screen. Hence both Adam and his Wife were also FORMED there for a trial.
If they won it, they would have stayed in Eden forever under the protecting Tree of Life. In that case they would have been spared the Angel of Death on Earth. They would have been allowed to enter the next Day, the Eternal Sabbath, without ever living on Earth. On the other hand, if they failed the trial of Eden, they would lose the Tree of Life and be driven out to live on real Earth.
After the introduction to the Story, the Torah continues to tell us about the FORMING of Adam.
Let’s read the text:
2: Forming Adam in Eden
”And YHVH ELoKiM FORMED the Adam from the dust of the ground,
And He blew into his nostrils a breath of life – Neshama,
And Adam became a Living Soul – Nefesh Chayah (Genesis 2: 7)
The verse states that the two Attributes- YHVH ELKM – FORMED Adam as they “flew” together Side by Side, like two Cherubs in Love, “Wing touching Wing” – like they would never appear again in the Torah.
As they flew from “Earth to Heavens,” in the reversed order than in Chapter One, the Attributes FORMED Adam In Oneness (“He” Blew “His” Breath, singular verb). They acted as Adam’s Heavenly PARENT
3: Three Levels of Our Soul
The verse says that the CREATOR “Blew His Breath into Adam’s nostrils and Adam became a Living, Breathing Soul.”
This, the rabbis said, resembles a glassblower blowing his breath into a glass tube, forming a vessel.
Another metaphor- if Eden is like Adam’s Heavenly Uterus, G-d’s Breath is like a Spiritual Umbilical Cord that connects our souls to Him.
Using the glassblower metaphor, the verse mentions three levels of our soul inside the glass tube-
The part farther down the tube– chayah (Life) – controls the basic elements of every living cell
The part in the middle of the tube– nefesh (Breath) – controls our bodies and our organs that we share with all the animals
The part closer to His Lips– neshama (soul) – is the holiest part of our soul that we do not share with the animals
Sin damages our Spiritual (Umbilical) Cord
By introducing the Cord, the Torah also introduced the way Sin can damage it.
Sin can stain it,
Or sever it from G-d’s lips.
This is the most primordial notion of Sin.
What is sin? An act that damages our own souls, that connects us to our CREATOR’S lips.
That damage to our Spiritual Cord can be repaired by repentance, and by staying away from more sinning.
4: Forming the Garden
“And YHVH ELKM planted a Garden in Eden
And He placed there the Adam that He had FORMED
out of the ground, YHVH ELoKiM made to grow
Every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food
And the TREE OF LIFE also in the midst of the garden
And the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL…” (Genesis 2:9)
At the time when there were no grass, shrub or trees on real Earth, YHVH ELKM formed a Garden in Eden that was full of lovely trees and animals.
Two Trees are noticed:
The Tree of Life – protecting Adam from the Angel of Death or any other sickness or sorrows
The Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil – which had one feature; Whoever eats of it would be aware of Evil and Death.
The Torah will explain the Tree in the next verses.
5: For a Trial
“And YHVH ELKM took the Adam,
“And He Placed him in Eden to work it and watch it”
This miraculous virtual Garden needed no physical work. Adam was placed there to work it and watch it, meaning for a trial –
If he wins, he keeps it.
If he loses, he is driven out
6: What was Adam’s trial in Eden?
“And YHVH ELoKiM Commanded on the Adam, saying,
Of every tree of the Garden you may freely eat,
But of the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil you shall not eat of it,
For on the Day that you eat of it you shall DIE.” (Genesis 2:16-1
It sounds an easy trial, much easier than our trial on Earth. All that Adam had to do is to abide by one Command- or Advice-avoid eating from the Forbidden Tree.
It was an easy test, yet with severe consequences: One mistake, one sin, and Adam has lost his world.
7: Sin is Disregarding our
FATHER IN HEAVENS’ ADVICE
But let’s analyze Adam’s level. Having been formed in Eden, living there under the Tree of Life, Adam has never seen Death. When the PARENT warns him- that he might die, Adam had no real clue what Death means.
It resembles a PARENT who advices his child- “Our Child, don’t touch that poison ivy out there, for the moment you touch it you’d get an allergic reaction that might kill you!”
The Child may have never seen what an allergic reaction is, or what death means, yet he listens and trust his parent since he feels they want his best.
So does Adam: he listens to YHVH ELKM telling him never to eat the Forbidden Tree.
And here the Torah builds the next, still basic, primordial notion of sin
Sin is disregarding our FATHER IN HEAVES’s Advice
The Name of the Tree
The Tree is called “The Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil”
The world selected here for Knowledge – daat -refers to a special kind of knowledge: To intimate awareness of the issue, acquired only by personal experience
Like in the verse: “And Adam knew his wife and she became pregnant and bore him Cain.” Here knowledge refers to an intimate, sexual relationship.
This, opposed to “theoretical” forms of knowledge, Chochma and Binah, that are mental.
Hence the name “Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil” refers to the fact that by eating of it Adam would KNOW Evil first hand, intimately, by experience rather than by theory.
It means that by eating it, Adam would lose the Protection of the Tree of Life, be driven out of Eden to live on Earth, where he would certainly meet the Angel of Death first hand. On Earth he would also meet all sorts of evil and pains and maladies and sorrows and sicknesses and natural catastrophes, something he has never seen in Eden.
Yes, at that stage Adam is unaware of Death – not first hand. He resembles a toddler playing in the backyard, warned by the Parents not to touch that tree. Adam is a good toddler and would refrain from eating the Forbidden Fruits, but by this he acquired in Eden the most primordial notion of sin- disregarding our FATEHR IN HEANVENS Advice.
So far so good, but the Parent wishes to teach Adam higher forms of Sins.
8: Giving Adam the Six Commandments
The Parent, YHVH ELKM, increased the meaning of Sin.
And YHVH ELoKiM Commanded on the Adam, saying,
Of every tree of the Garden you may freely eat,
The word “Commanded” is too strong. It could have said “warned” or “said” or “told.” Tradition says that indeed, He gave Adam the Six Commandments:
From all of these Commandments, Adam could violate in Eden only the first, IDOLATRY, by disobeying the CREATOR’S Command not to eat from the Forbidden Tree. (Adam would not bow to wood and stone idols in Eden) . The rest of the Commandments were, at that point, potential.
As long as Adam lived alone, there could not be ADULTERY.
As long he lived under the Tree of Life, there could not be BLOODSHED,
As long there was no private ownership in Eden, he could not violate THEFT
As long there was no society, he could not violate INJUSTICE
As long he lived so close to the CREATOR, Adam would not do any BLASPHEMY .
Adam could violate, at that point, only one Command – IDOLATRY.
But with this, the PARENT introduced to Adam a new level of sin- Disobeying the KING’s Command.
Adam at that point is like a child growing in his parent’s home. His parent’s advice does not affect him anymore. In fact, a warning by his parent would incite in him the drive to do the opposite.
Adam needs now a higher level of authority- a teacher, a principle at school, a king. He might respond positively to their Command.
Hence Sin is (1) Disregarding our FATHER in HEAVENS’ Advice (2) Disobeying our KING’S Command.
In short- disobeying our FATHER-KING’S advice and command.
In Hebrew, OUR FATHER KING is avinu malkenu, a term we use only on Rosh Hashana, the anniversary of Adam creation
Since these Six Primordial Commandments were given to Adam in Eden, they are entrenched in any human being soul. They look to us, therefore, as Natural Moral Laws that all Mankind share. Indeed, there is almost no human society that would not respect ADULTERY, BLOODSHED, THEFT and INJUSTICE in one form or another.
From Adam’s Six to Noah’s Seven
These Primordial Six of Adam would later become the core of Noah’s Seven Commandments.
Noah, after the Flood, added the Seventh: The Prohibition to Consume Blood and a Limb Torn From a Living Animal. The Seventh focuses on CRUELTY,
9: Sin is Illogical
The PARENT, YHVH ELKM, wishes however to teach Adam even a higher form of Sn. At that point, the verse says, Adam’s mind has become very smart. The PARETN, YHVH ELKM, brings him all the animals to see what sorts of name Adam would give them.
“And out of the ground YHVH ELoKiM FORMED
Every beast of the field and every bird of the air,
And He brought it to Adam to see what he would call it.
And whatever Adam called every living creature, this was its name…” (Genesis 2:19)
As the verse attests, Adam is so smart that he can name all the species on Earth. Moreover, every name he gave was the right one, the very name that the CREATOR had intended for it. Indeed, in Hebrew, the names express the essence.
Adam therefore exhibited a perfect, scientific mind, since naming species is the most basis foundation of any science, especially biology. But naming and categorizing is the first faculty of any decent science.
And by this, the PARENT introduced to Adam a new level of Sin.
Sin is also illogical, something that damages the sinner and his society. No human society can survive for long without them
In addition of disregarding our FATHER’s advice, and disobeying our KING’s Command, Sin is a foolish action, casing damages.
To the ancient Greeks, for instance, sin is foolish, something a wise philosopher would stay away from.
Adam at that stage is like the teenager whose mind would not accept anymore a blind order or a command. You need to add some logic to the law for him to accept. Driving faster than 65 m per hour is not only a sheer transgression of the law, but something foolish that would have bad consequences.
Naming the CREATOR
Tradition says that Adam’s mind was so smart, that the CREATOR asked him: “Mt son, what name would you give me?”
Adam said: “You are the All Mighty JUDGE, therefore I shall call you EeLoHiM. Indeed,ELKM in Hebrew is a judge, even a human judge.
Hearing the conversation, the Attribute of MERCY intervened: “Our son, what name would you give me?”
Adam said: “Though you appear in Genesis at the end of the story, I know that You were here before anything, that You are here and now, and that at the end You will still be. I want to express the notion that You were, You are and You will be- in short the acronym YHVH.“
And as the verse attests, YHVH was pleased, since every name that Adam gave was the right one, the very Name that the CREATOR had intended for Himself.
Forming the Woman
It seems that Adam was ready for his trial, having acquired so many notions of sin. But for the PARENT, this wasn’t enough. Adam had to be taught one more level of Sin.
And for that he needed a Woman besides him.
END OF ADULTERY CLASS 2