Noahide Seven Commandments Torah classes
We are about to study the Primordial Sin. When you ask the average person on the street what was the Primordial Sin? You’d get the answer: Sex, of course.
We have to be careful when we interpret Biblical texts and messages. The words we say may affect people’s life style and outlook on life.
Generations upon generations have been raised to believe that sex itself is a sin, despicable. Celibacy is the preferred relationship with our CREATOR. The Psalm verse “in sin my mother gave birth to me,” has received the wrong interpretation that sex itself is sin.
But the Primordial Sin is something else.
Let’s remember that Eden is a virtual Garden where everything is FORMED as a ‘shape’ or a prototype of everything on Earth. Thus, the Adam FORMED there is a ‘shape’ or a prototype of all Mankind. His Sin, likewise, is the prototype of all sins. It can’t be just sex which is a natural feature.
In fact, the story of Eden introduces Sin in a gradual fashion, step by step. Sin is more than a transgression of the law. Sin depends on age, our libido, our attractions and our personalities. A child’s sin is different from the sin of a teenager; and the latter is different than the sin of an adult. As we grow and change, so does our son grow and changes.
The story of Eden, we’ll soon see, presents Sin as if Adam is born, raised and matures in the Garden. As he grows, so does the notion of his sin grows. At the end of the story we’ll be able to identify at least seven ‘levels’ of Sin, encompassing our entire life, from our birth till we return our soul to our CREATOR in Eden.
After describing ‘when and where’ was Eden formed, the Torah moves on to the ‘forming’ of Adam. As we’ve seen, Eden is like a Heavenly Womb where the two ‘Cherubs’ YHVH ELKM fly in Love, Side by Side, to ‘form’ their child Adam. They would never again appear, throughout the Torah, so close to each other.
Let’s recall that Eden was formed on the THIRD Day of CREATION, before there was any shrub or grass on Earth, not even rain. It was formed after the separation of Dry Land from the Ocean, before the Heavenly Court seeded any life on real Earth.
You can say that Eden was formed with the advent of the Merciful YHVH in the Heavenly Court, that made Eden possible. When ELKM invited Her, on the Sixth Day, to ‘come over’ from the Sabbath, share the world with Him, and MAKE an Adam, ‘She’ agreed and joined Him in the Heavenly Court. But She said to Her GROOM: ‘I know how hard it will be for him to live in your world, so full of Evil and Death and hardship, trials and tribulations. Let us therefore give him a CHANCE to live in a place bereaved of Evil. Let us form him in a formed Garden, not quite Earth, where he and is spouse could stay without ever being exposed to the Evil and Death on Earth.’
ELKM, so to speak, agreed and together the Cherubs flew over CREATION backwards, Wing against Wing, as YHVH ELKM. They flew from the Sixth Day to the Third, ‘rewinding’ CREATION and ‘consolidating’ it by their Love and Oneness (as the Psalm song for the Sixth Day says.) When they reached the Third Day, they formed the Garden with Adam in it, before they would seed any life on real Earth. Adam could stay in Eden, pending on his winning his relatively simple trial. Yes, there was no escape even from a small trial, even in Eden. After all, everything that ELKM the JUDGEE does, even in Eden, is for a trial.
Thus, Eden is a place not quite Earth, a virtual Garden formed by the input of the Merciful YHVH in the new Heavenly Court. It was formed as offering Adam a chance to escape Evil and Death on Earth.
Like a mother saying to her groom: let’s keep our child at home as long as possible, under our protection, to save him from the bad environment outside.
The Torah now describes the forming of Adam as follows:
”AndYHVH ELoKiM FRORMED the Adam from the dust of the ground,
And He blew (singular form of the verb) in his nostrils a breath of life, Neshama,
And Adam became a Nefesh Chayah (a living soul)” (Genesis 2: 7)
Adam is formed by a Heavenly Kiss. The Parent(s) YHVH ELKM blew His (In Oneness) Breath into the Adam’s nostrils, his ‘dummy’ that was made of dirt (Midrash.)
Our body is made of staff that Stars are made of, yet our soul is a DIRECT breath from the CREATOR’S lips.
The text above uses three Hebrew terms for Adam’s soul : Chayah, Nefesh, Neshamah.
To comprehend this, think of a glass maker blowing his breath into a tube to form a glass vessel at its end. This way YHVH ELKM blew His Breath into Adam’s body (Midrash) creating three segments:
The Chayah (‘alive’) is the air farther down the tube
The Nefesh (‘breath’) is the air occupying the middle of the tube
The Neshama (‘breathing,’ soul) is the air closer to the blower’s lips
Each of these segments ‘controls’ a particular part of our body:
The lowest part, Chayah, controls the basic element of life, like the cellular organelles, the nucleus, the DNA and the Chromosomes. We share this part with all living creatures, including bacteria, viruses and vegetation.
The middle part, Nefesh, controls our bodily functions, like our heart, kidney, bloodstream, etc. We share the Nefesh with the animal kingdom.
The upper part, Neshama, connects our soul directly to the CREATOR’s Lips. It is uniquely ours and we do not share it with the animals.
You can say that
The Chayah controls the basic elements of life introduced on the THIRD Day
The Nefesh controls the animals created on the FORTH, FIFTH and SIXTH Days
The Neshama controls the soul of Adam, created before the Sabbath.
These three souls’ levels form a spiritual ‘Umbilical Cord’ that connects us to our CREATOR’s Lips. We take this invisible cord with us wherever we go.
With this description, the Torah introduces the most basic effect of a Sin:
Sin stains, damages or even severs the connection of our soul to our CREATOR’s lips.
We need to think about this before we commit any Sin, not just sex.
Moreover, the Torah hints that
Some sins stain or damage the Chayah,
Some stain or damage the Nefesh,
some stain or damage the Neshama.
The Torah wants us to regard Sin as a malady that needs healing and repair. Like a doctor that prescribes specific medication to a specific disease, so does the Torah prescribe repairs to our Chayah, Nefesh or Neshamah. For that, She prescribes different offerings: Guilt, Sin, Peace, Burnt, and more.
But these offerings are worthless unless associated with intense soul searching, identifying the specific type of sin. Was is done our voluntarily? Erroneously? Were we aware of the Law at the time of the sin? Have we known the law and forgot it? All these would affect our repentance and forgiveness, as shown in the Yom Kippur service.
Because if you do not perform a thorough soul searching, how would you prevent the sin form happening again?
Now the Torah proceeds to develop the next level of Sin. For that She introduces the Garden with its Forbidden Trees.
Remember, these Trees were formed in Eden at the time when there was no shrub, no grass, not even rain on Earth!
There were many trees in the Garden, some good for consumption and some poisonous.
The Torah does not elaborate how many trees there were in Eden, but today we can discover them with the help of the Biblical Computer Code. To our complete amazement, the code uncovers the name of score of trees hidden in the text. These are trees known to grow in the Holy Land, such as pomegranate, olive, vine, fig, palm, and others.
Now since we are the first generation capable of discovering these hidden trees in the text, it seems as if the writer, Moses, wrote them WITH US ON HIS MIND.
Think of this: No one before us has had any tool to discover the Trees in the text. Not Rabbi Akiva, not Maimonides and not any other giant of Torah scholars. It was left for us, the first generation equipped with computers, the first generation to comprehend what a virtual world is!
Two Trees stood out:
“And 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)
The “Tree of Life,” as you know, protects Eden’s inhabitants from the Angel of Death.
The “Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil” endows whoever eats of it with KNOWLEDGE of ‘Good and EVIL.’
Let’s pay attention to these terms: Knowledge, and Evil.
EVIL in the Torah, as we’ve already learned, is anything that YHVH hates.
KNOWLEDGE, ‘Daat’ in Hebrew, refers to specific type of Wisdom: AN INTIMATE AWERENESS of something.
Like in the verse:“And Adam knew (daat) his wife and she conceived.” He knew her intimately, passionately, not theoretically.
Hence the name of the Tree, “Knowledge of good and evil” refers to intimate, first hand, practical awareness of Evil and Death, something that Adam COULD NOT perceive in Eden, living under the Tree of Life.
The key is the three different terms for Wisdom in Hebrew:
Chokhma: is a theoretical, general grasp f a concept
Binah: is a detailed, theoretical, awareness of the Chokhma
Daat: is the practical, technical implication of the above. </font size=2>
Hence prior to eating from the forbidden “Tree of Knowledge (daat) Good and evil,” Adam (and his woman) could have no practical ‘KNOWLEDGE” of Evil, sorrow, pains and death. Evil did not exist in Eden, under the Tree of Life.
Adam, at that point in the story, could KNOW Evil only if he would be driven out to live on Earth.
The trees in the Garden were beautiful and “good for eating,” but they needed ‘cultivation.’ Adam was placed there to ‘till it and preserve it’ (Genesis 2: 15)
Since the trees were virtual and miraculous, they did not require manual labor to survive. Adam needed to till the ground and preserve the Garden FOR HIMSELF. He had to invest ‘spiritual work’ to ‘till the ground and ‘preserve’ the Garden.
Hence there was no free lunch in Eden. Adam was placed there for a trial.
And the trial comes soon:
Soon as Adam is placed in the Garden, the ‘Parent’ YHVH ELKM (in Oneness) warns him:
“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 2:16-17)
Now the ‘tilling’ and the ‘preserving’ of the Garden takes a shape.
Like toddler left to play in his parent’s garden, the parent warns their child Adam: ‘Feel free to play everywhere in the Garden, and you may even eat of its tasty fruits. But please, our son, stay away from this one! For the moment you eat of it, something bad would happen to you! You may die!”
Like parents who warn their toddler son: “Johnny, you may play everywhere in the backyard, but please do not touch this poison ivy, lest you get an allergic reaction or even die!”
Jonny can’t tell what allergy is, or what death is, yet he stays away from the poison ivy because he trusts his parents. He would certainly would not like to hurt them by disobeying their advice
Similarly, Adam at that stage could not KNOW what ‘Die’ is, ON AN INTIMATE, PRACTICAL level. He had never seen it in Eden. Yet he trusts his Heavenly PARENT(S) and would not eat the forbidden fruit. Because his love for his Parents, he wouldn’t hurt them by disobeying their advice.
And by this warning, the Torah introduces a basic notion of Sin as violation of our FATHER IN HEAVENS’ ADVISE.
Our FATHER in Heavens
From here comes the notion of YHVH ELoKiM as our FATHER (and MOTHER) in HEAVENS, “aba and ima” in Kabala.
You do not need to be a Messiah to consider yourself a Child of G-d. Every human being can claim that title.
How much could Adam comprehend of the Merciful YHVH in Eden?
We should realize that in a world bereaved of any sorrow, sickness or death, there is no real meaning for MERCY and COMPASSION. If so, what features of YHVH could Adam KNOW intimately, in Eden?
From all of YHVH ‘features’, Adam could comprehend in Eden were (1) YHVH Forgiveness (2) YHVH Holiness. This consideration will play a role later in the story.
As Adam ‘grows’ in Eden, he wouldn’t listen to the parent’s advice anymore. His ‘self-consciousness’ and ‘free will’ would prompt him to say ‘no’ to his Parents. He needs a greater AUTHORITY to scare him away from danger.
The Heavenly Parent now COMMANDS him not to eat it from the forbidden fruit as it says:
“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 surely die!” (Genesis 2:16-17)
The rabbis noted that the word “commanded” here, followed by “saying,” is superfluous. Hence YHVH ELKM added a Command.
Giving a Command infers AUTHORITY. It can be the authority of the Parent, or the KING.
Johnny, no more a toddler, wouldn’t listen to his parent’s warning about the poison ivy. The Parent try to use a fierce tone of authority, yet they know that Johnny would not be really scare of them, being aware of how much they love him.
The Parents therefore send Johnny to a school outside home, where he would meet a greater authority, like that of the teacher, the principle, or the KING.
Now Adam stays away from eating the fruit because he listens to the advice of his FATHER in Heavens, as well as the Command of his KING, in short: his FATHER-KING, avinu malkeinu.
A new level of Sin
With this, the Torah introduced another level of the concept of Sin.
Sin is not only something that damages our connection to our CREATOR’ lips
Not only a dismissal of our FATHER’S advice,
But also a transgression of our KING’S Command.
There is a name for such a transgression of our KING In Heaven’s Command. It is called IDOLATRY. As you recall from our IDOLATRY class, violating G-d’s KINGSHIP is a rebellion, IDOLATROUS act.
Thus the order about the forbidden fruit is only a specific case of a larger issue: IDOLATRY. Adam would not bow to idols of stone and wood in Eden, not would he worship the celestial bodies in Eden. Such foolishness is beyond him. But he can, and would commit IDOLATRY by disregarding his FATHER-KING’S Command.
Thus, throughout the year we refer to our CREATOR in our prayers and blessings as “The KING Of The Universe,” melech haolam. But once a year, on the annual anniversary of Adam creation, the Rosh Hashanah, we change our prayers and refer to Him as our FATHER-KING in Heavens (avinu-malkeinu.) Now you know why. </font size>
Facing the KING, there is no wonder that Adam would receive the Laws of the Land, besides IDOLATRY. This is why tradition holds that in the word “Commanded on the Adam” hides the entire set of the Commandments that Adam received in Eden:
Johnny at school learns not only about the poison ivy and the obligation to listen to authority. He learns some rules and laws of the country, as a preparation to the time that he would exit school and join the outside real world.
In fact, out of the Six given in Eden, only ONE was relevant to Adam at that point. He COULD commit IDOLATRY by disobeying his FATHER-KING.
The rest of the Six were given to him only as potential.
Adam could not transgress ADULTERY in Eden, as long he lived alone.
Adam could not commit BLOODSHED in Eden, under the Tree of Life.
Adam could not commit THEFT in Eden, where there was no private ownership.
Adam could not commit INJUSTICE in Eden, where there was no society.
Adam would certainly not commit BLASPHEMY in Eden, living so close to the FATHER-KING.
Thus out of the Six Commandments, Adam could violate at that stage only IDOLATRY. He would be able to transgress also ADULTERY, when the woman would be born to live by his side.
The rest of the Commandments would become meaningful ON A PRACTICAL LEVEL only on Earth.
This throws a new light on the Commandments.
Adam’s growing in Eden is repeated by each one of us on earth.
- When we are young, living in our parent’s home, the only Commandment we can violate is IDOLATRY, by disobeying our parent’s advices.
- At puberty our libido changes and love, fidelity, sexual perversions and ADULTERY become central to our lives.
- At manhood the issue of BLOODSHED surfaces.
- At maturity, the issue of THEFT to its kinds surfaces.
- And with it, INJUSTICE and CIVIL ORDER surface too.
- Then BLASPHAMY and SANCTIFICATION of God’s Name becomes meaningful. Yes, like Adam in Eden, we too grow on Earth along with the basic Six Commandments. </font size>
END OF ADULTERY CLASS 2