© 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 PRIMORDIAL 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. If 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 levels of sin, in case Adam 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- 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 of the Architect. Hence both Adam and his Wife were also FORMED there for a trial.
Had they won their trial, they would have stayed in Eden forever, protected from death by the Tree of Life. In that case they would have spared encountering the Angel of Death on Earth. They would have been allowed to go on and enter the Eternal Sabbath straight from Eden, without ever living on real Earth. On the other hand, once they have failed their trial, they would be driven out to be exposed to Evil and Death on Earth.
The Torah now continues to tell us about FORMING 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 while they were “flying” Side by Side, “Wing touching Wing”, like two Cherubs in Love. They would never again appear like that inn the entire Torah (There would always be a word separating between YHVH and ELKM, like in “YHVH , our ELKM” ).
The verse says that they re-created “Earth and Heavens,” in the reversed order of Genesis Chapter One. Then, the verse says, “He” – the One CREATOR- FORMED Adam. “He” Blew “His” Breath, a singular form of the verb. The Attributes FORMED Adam as One, Heavenly PARENT. We’ll soon see how important this metaphor is.
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.” The verse uses three terms in Hebrew: Neshahma, Nefesh, Chays. These are the three classical levels of our souls.
The rabbis said: Imagine a glassblower blowing his breath into a glass tube, forming a glass vessel.
The part of His Breath farther down the tube is the hayah (Life) – which controls the most basic elements of life, that all living creatures share. We would say today that the Chaya controls the basic part of any cell, like the DNA, RNA, an d so on ,
The part in the middle of the tube– the nefesh (Breath) – controls our body and its organs, which we share with the animals
The part closer to the CREATOR’S Lips– The neshama (soul) – is the holiest part of our soul, which we do not share with any animals
Sin damages our Spiritual (Umbilical) Cord
Another metaphor sees Eden as Adam’s Heavenly Uterus. G-d’s Breath is likened to a Spiritual Umbilical Cord that connects our souls to His Lips.
The basic level of Sin
Hence we have the most basic notion of Sin, as an act which damages our connection to the CREATOR’S Lips, or our Spiritual Umbilical Cord that connect is to Him. Thus Sin can
or sever it all together from G-d’s lips.
Sin is therefore an act that damages our own souls. We need to – Repair the damage by repentance
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, not even rain,
YHVH ELKM formed a Garden in Eden that was full of lovely trees and animals.
Hence the Garden was virtual, in the Wold Of Forming.
Two Trees are noticed:
The Tree of Life – that protects Adam from the Angel of Death
The Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil – which makes whoever eats of it a bit “smarter,” able to distingush between Good and Evil. The Torah will explain the meaning of this Tree’s name later in the story.
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 he was there for a trial –
If he wins that trial, he keeps it.
If he loses that trial, he would be driven out
6: An Easy Trial
“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 win it was to refrain from eating the Forbidden Fruit. All he had to do was to listen and obey His FATHER IN HEAVENS Advice. .It was an easy test, yet with severe consequences: Only one mistake, one sin, and Adam would loose his world.
7: Sin is to Disregard our
FATHER IN HEAVENS’ Advice
At first it seems weird, Adam was warned not to eat the fruit, lest he dies! But having been formed in Eden, Adam had never seen Death. Adam had no real clue what Death means. Yet Adam is expected to obey.
You can think about a PARENT who warns his little child, a toddler: “Johnny, you can play in our backyard, but be careful: never touch the poison ivy out there! For the moment you touch it you’d get an allergic reaction and even die! “
Johnny the toddler does not comprehend what an allergy is or what “to die” means, yet he would respect his PARENT and TRUST their warning because he knows they love him and would do anything to keep him safe.
So is Adam at that stage in Eden. As a toddler, he does not know what death manes, yet he would trust his FATHER IN HEAVENS’ Advice and stay away from the Fruit.
And by this, the Torah introduces the next meaning of sin:
- Sin is an act that damages our soul’s connection to the CREATOR’S Lips
- Sin is to disregard our FATHER IN HEAVES’s Advice
Few words about the name of the Forbidden 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: an intimate awareness of the issue, acquired by personal experience
Like in the verse: “And Adam knew his wife and she became pregnant and bore him Cain.” Here Adam knew his wife- sexually, intimately. .
A “theoretical” knowledge is called hochma and Binah. They are not the intimate awareness of daat. .
Hence “The Tree of Knowledge – daat- Good and Evil” refers intimate awareness of Good and Evil that would be acquired by eating the Fruit. Such an intimate, personal awareness of Evil and Death can be sensed ONLY ON EARTH. Adam would have to be driven out of Eden to live on Earth, to encounter Death first hand, on a personal, intimate level, .
But Adam continues to “grow up” in Eden, and the PARENT wants to teach Adam a higher level of Sin.
8: Giving Adam the Six Commandments
Let’s read again the warning verse-
And YHVH ELoKiM Commanded on the Adam, saying,
Of every tree of the Garden you may freely eat….
The word “Commanded” here seems superfluous. It could have simply said “warned” or “told.” Tradition says that, indeed, YHVH ELKM gave Adam here the Primordial Six Commandments of Adam :
N Hebrew, you can see in the verse may hints to those Primordial Six Commandments, shared by all Mankind.
Glancing at the Six, you can easily see that of all these Commandments, only the first – IDOLATRY- had any relevance to Adam’s life in Eden. He could have violated it- and he later did – by not listening to his FATHER IN HEAVENS’ Advice
The rest of the Six, though, were POTENTIAL.
As long as Adam lived alone, he could not violate ADULTERY.
As long as Adam live under the Tree of Life, he could not commit BLOODSHED,
As long as Adam had no sense of private ownership in Eden, he could not have violated THEFT
As long there was no society in Eden, he could not have committed INJUSTICE
As long he lived so close to the CREATOR, Adam would not commit BLASPHEMY .
The only Commandment he could violate at that point, was IDOLATRY. Not by bowing to the Sun and the Moon- he wasn’t that fool -by by eating the Forbidden Fruit.
A new notion of Sin
And with the ward “Commanded on Adam” the Torah introduced a new, higher level of sin-
Sin is to disobey the KING’s Command
As Adam g”rows” in His PARENT’S Home, there is a stage where their advice would not stop him. A young child would often to the exact opposite of what he/she is told by the parent. The child needs a higher authority- that of a teacher, a principle at school or the king. The growing child follows ORDERS, without understanding the logic behind them.
Henceforth, sin for Adam is
1. Something that damages of spiritual umbilical cord to our CREATOR’S lips
2. Sin is to disregard our FATHER IN HEAVENS’ Advice
3. Sin is to disobey our KING OF THE UNIVERSE’S Command.
In short- disobeying our FATHER-KING’S advice and Command. In Hebrew, the term OUR FATHER-KING is avinu malkenu, a term we use to refer to the CREATOR only on Rosh-Hashannah Holiday, the annual anniversary of Adam creation
The Natural Moral Code of Mankind
Since these Six Primordial Commandments were given to Adam in Eden, they are embedded in every human soul. These Commandments constitute our “Natural Moral Code” – shared by all Mankind, seen in every civilization.
From Adam’s Six to Noah’s Seven
Noah, after the Flood, added one more Commandment- the Seventh- the Prohibition to Consume Blood and a Limb Torn From a Living Animal. Noah’s Seventh fights against Man’s CRUELTY,
9: Sin is also Illogical
But as Adam continues his ‘growth’ in Eden, the Heavenly PARENT, YHVH ELKM, teaches him still a higher meaning of Sin.
According to the text, YHVH ELKM Brings to Adam all the animals in the Garden to see what name he 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)
The Scientifically smart Adam
So smart is Adam now, that he names the animals with the right name, the one that the CREATOR had intended for it. Indeed, a name given in Hebrew usually carried the “essence” of that creature. .
Adam has grown into a new stage, where he exhibits a perfect, scientific mind, capable of calling all the species by name. We know that categorizing is the most basic feature of science. Adam is likened to a young lad whose libido is directed to the outside world, focusing on science, swallowing encyclopedias. Adam is a logical creature.
A new level of sin .
By this, Adam learned a new meaning of Sin.
1 Sin damages or connection to the CREATOR’S lips
2. Sin is to disregard our FATHER IN HEAVENS Advice
3. Sin is to disobey our KING’S Command
4. Sin is illogical, foolish, carrying bad consequences
Transgressing IDOLATRY, ADULTERY, THEFT, INJUSTICE and BLASPHEMY, would be detrimental to the individual and society,
Adam has grown enough to demand explanation to the CREATOR’S advises and commands.
To the ancient Greeks, sin seemed foolish, unwise, something that a philosopher would stay away from.
Naming the CREATOR
Tradition says that so smart was Adam’s mind a that point, that the CREATOR turned to him and asked: “My son, what name would you give me?”
Adam said: “You are the All Mighty JUDGE, therefore I shall call you EeLoHiM.” As we’ve said, ELKM in Hebrew means a JUDGE, even ahuman judge.
Then the Attribute of MERCY asked: “Our son Adam, what name would you give me?”
Adam said: “Though you appear in Genesis at the end of the story, I want to tell everyone that You were here before, that You are hear now, and that You will be forever. In short, I will call you YHVH- the acronym for He was, He is, He will be.”
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
Adam has grown in Eden, yet there was one more meaning of Sin that he needed to learn. For that, the PARENT YHVH ELKM made for him – a Woman.
END OF ADULTERY CLASS 2