© 2022 by Rabbi Dr. Zvi Aviner
ADULTERY-4The Woman and the Serpent
Let’s recall that by Forming the Garden of Eden
G-d offered Adam an alternative path to be Very Good
and reach the Sabbath without ever living on real Earth
being exposed to sorrow and death
That was a big concession to Adam.
Another concession was the fact that in Eden,
all that Adam had to do to win his trial was
to comply with a ‘simple’ G-d’s Command
and refrain from eating from the Tree of
Knowledge Good and Evil
Eating it, would be tantamount to violating
the KING’s Commandment which is a type of IDOLATRY
Then, we’ve learned, with the birth of the Woman,
G-d added a second Commandment that they could violate:
However, between the two Commandments
only eating the Forbidden Fruit and violating IDOLATRY
Would incur death and loosing Eden.
We’ve also seen that in Eden, Adam learned different levels of Sin.
At first, Sin to him was breaching his FATHER-In-HEAVENS’ Advice.
Then, as he grew up in Eden, so to speak,
Sin became a violation of the King’s Command
Then, as he became smarter, able to name the animals,
even naming G-d, Sin became also a foolish act
something that defies logic, detrimental to his well being
And then, as Adam entered ‘puberty’ and he felt lonely
YHVH ELHM formed for him a bride, the Woman
And with her, Sin would take a higher,
more meaningful aspect than ever before
1 The spiritual level of Adam and his wife
before the Sin
After introducing Marriage and ADULTERY (in the same verse!)
The Torah describes the couple’s spiritual level:
“And they were both naked, Adam and his wife,
And they were not ashamed…” (Genesis 2: 25)
Why were they naked and unashamed?
Some say that they resembled innocent children
(but they were, rather, young adults!)
“They were naked and unashamed – they did not yet know modesty,
Which is a way of “Good and Evil.”
They had already a smart mind capable of giving names,
But they did not yet have an Evil Drive, until they eat
from the Forbidden Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil“
Here, Rashi implies that the sense of modesty
and a shame from nakedness would come to them
only after eating the Forbidden Fruit of Good and Evil
Rabeinu Bahyee concurs:
“Adam had already a mind that could know
Right from Wrong, Truth from a Lie, which
are features of our Logical mind.
Otherwise, without that smart mind
ELHM wouldn’t put Adam on a trial
Thus, knowing Good from Evil is not a feature of our Logic,
but rather an expression of our heart, of our emotional reaction
to something we consider ugly and repulsive.
Thus, prior to their sin, Adam and the Woman were “Divinely Rational.”
To them, at that stage, nakedness did not seem ugly or repulsive,
not different from nakedness of other parts of our body.
The RMBM and other major commentaries
Hold the same explanation.
Soforno also says:
“To them, at that stage, the act of sexual coupling
was natural as eating and drinking
And the sexual organs seen not different
That their faces or hands .”
In short, before the Sin, they knew
Right and Wrong, Truth from a lie,
which are features associated with ELHM
But not yet Good and Evil,
which are features associated with YHVH
Now that they were ready for their trial
What exactly could they violate in Eden?
First, as we’ve l earned, eating from the Forbidden Fruit,
would violate their Father-King’s Command
which is a type of IDOLATRY
Secondly, as a married couple, they could violate ADULTERY
once another sexual partner becomes available in Eden
Such as the Serpent
2 The Serpent
“Now the Serpent was the most ‘aa-room’ (naked, or cunning)
Of all the beasts of the field
which YHVH ELoKiM had made,
“And it said to the woman:
Has not ELoKiM told you
that ‘you shall not eat of
any tree of the Garden?” (Genesis 2:25, 3:1)
The Serpent, like the humans, walked naked yet unashamed
And it was smarter than any previous creature on Earth
The verse describes it as a Beast of the Field which was “aa-room,”
- ‘Aa-room’,naked and unashamed, like all “the beasts of the field.,”
- ‘Aa-room,’smart, cunning. It could speak, walk on two legs,
and it was sexually appealing to the human female.
The Serpent lacked the perception of YHVH
You see that in the text. As it speaks to the Woman
it mentions ELKM, never YHVH
This makes sense, since as a beast, even a sophisticated one
The Serpent could not be aware of the Merciful Attribute YHVH
because all creatures created before Adam, were created by ELHM alone
Even if the Serpent ate from the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil
It would not acquire any awareness of YHVH
Adam, in contrast, having been created with a room in his heart
ready to receive the Merciful YHVH in it
could understand Good and Evil once he eats the Fruit
So, what was the Serpent? What was its motif?
Some say it was Satan, created to allure the humans into sin
But that can’t be true, since the Serpent was finally punished by G-d
And Satan is never punished, since it does exactly what G-d tells it to do
The Midrash says that the Serpent was the
“Camel on which Satan took a ride”
Hence, Satan, appointed by G-d
as our Prosecutor in the Heavenly Court,
uses the Serpent as a Vehicle to allure us to sin
So again, what was the Serpent itself?
There are many interpretations,
the best one is to see it in the context of CREATION,
as a direct continuation to Genesis Chapter One
So, if the Serpent wasn’t Satan, what was it?
For that, let’s go back to the story of CREATION
Told in Genesis Chapter One. The Serpent is just
An extension of that story. As we recall,
When the Six Day dawned, ELHM created
Cattle, Beasts, and smart Crawling creatures.
Hence, before creating Adam, ELHM created
Socially smart creatures like Ants, Bees, Spiders and Snakes
that create colonies of their own
Moses says that at that point of CREATION
just before creating Adam, ELHM conducted
a crucial, Midday Judgment to see whether or not
Earth would see Adam on it
As we’ve learned, ELHM’s trial meant that
some creatures were deemed “not good” and were eliminated
while those who were deemed “good” were allowed to continue
Hence at the middle of the Sixth Day of CREATION, our Day,
ELHM eliminated the giant pre- historical creatures
and passed a judgment if to create Adam or not.
On that Midday judgment, ELHM weighted – so to speak –
two options: to continue creating like ever before,
introducing to the world new creatures as an
extension of the previous line, such as a smart spider or a serpent
Or introducing a new smart creature like Adam.
The Scientists agree that after the demise of the dinosaurs
A race took place in Nature to develop a smart mind
That could comprehend Nature and its law.
The question was: Which creature would win?
Would it be an extension of the line before Adam,
Another smart Crawling creature like a Serpent
or would it be Adam?
The difference between these two options was great and crucial.
A smart Serpent could have won the race,
Yet it would never be Very Good in G-d’s eyes
Since it lacks any perspective of the Merciful YHVH.
If such a Serpent wins, ELHM would terminate our world
And would not proceed to the Sabbath
But if Adam wins by becoming Very Good,
by accepting YHVH into his heart
ELHM would cease His Work, abstain from more work
And enter the Sabbath, along with the entire CREATION
The Serpent in the Virtual Garden of Eden, therefore,
presents that smart Serpent that could have developed o Earth
given enough time.
As the verse attests,
it was smarter than any previous beasts or creature on Earth,
it could walk on two legs and talk, it had a wise, cunning mind
yet it lacked any awareness of the Merciful YHVH
The Serpent, like the humans at that stage before the sin,
knew Right from Wrong, Truth from a Lie
And like the humans, it stood before G-d on a trial
What was the goal of the cunning Serpent?
The midrash says that it lusted the married woman.
It figured out that by eating the Forbidden Fruit
G-d would depart from them and from their marriage
leaving her more vulnerable to its charm
Why did it approach the woman and not Adam?
Not because women in general are weaker and more fragile than man,
Not because women are lightheaded than man,
but only because only with her the Serpent could commit ADULTERY
The Midrash says that Adam too was tested.
G-d created, along with the Serpent, a female counterpart
Whose name is Lilith. This beautiful Lilith attracted Adam
No different than the Serpent attracted the Woman.
So why the Torah emphasizes only the Woman and the Serpent?
For committing sexual promiscuity with Lilith
Does not carry the same moral weigh as
The Serpent committing ADULTERY with the married Woman
3 The Primordial Sin
“And it said to the woman:
Has not ELoKiM said You shall not eat
of any tree of the Garden?” (Genesis 2:25, 3:1)
“And the woman said to the Serpent,
we may eat from the fruits of the Trees of the Garden,
but of the fruits of the Tree which is in the midst of the Garden,
ELoKiM has said, you shall not eat of it.” (Genesis 3:2-3)
“And the Serpent said to the woman,
you shall not surely die, for ELoKiM knows
that on the day you eat of it then
your eyes shall be opened and you shall be
like ELoKiM knowing Good and Evil…” (Genesis 3: 4-5)
The lying Serpent
The cunning Serpent clearly lied to the woman. As it said:
1 “Has not ELoKiM said..” You can’t see that in the English translation
but in Hebrew it sounds like: How COULD ELoKiM say this to you!”
The Serpent sounded as if ELoKiM had deprived them from something
Good which is not the case
2: Has not ELoKiM said…” It was unaware of YHVH.
- “You shall NOT die…’ The Serpent clearly lied.
4 “You shall be like ELoKiM knowing Good and Evil
Here the Serpent exhibited its ignorance of YHVH.
It associates Good and Evil in the eyes of ELHM
Rather than in the eyes of YHVH
5: The Serpent depicted ‘Knowing Evil’ as a REWARD,
rather than a BURDEN.
It is hard to live on Earth facing sorrow and death,
while YHVH’s prisms is on your eyes.
The whole purpose of Eden, after all,
was to spare them the hardship of facing Evil
6: The Serpent twisted ELKM’s intention, as if ELKM feared competition.
7: The Serpent took advantage of the fact that the woman
had not heard G-d’s warning directly by herself.
The Serpent therefore lied to her,saying that ELHM
had warned them not to touch the Tree.
When she hesitated, it pushed her to the Tree.
seeing that nothing bad happened to her
she believed its words and she ate the Fruit
As it says:
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food
And that it was a delight to the eyes,
and a tree to be desired to make one wise,
She took of its fruits and did eat it,
and gave also to her husband with her,
and he did eat it.” (Genesis 3: 6)
Sin always comes gradually.
She first looked at the fruit, then ate of it, then enjoyed it.
then she enticed her husband to do the same.
Being a Serpent is infectious.
A sinner usually entices others to join, to spread the guilt.
Now that they eat the Forbidden Fruit,
How did it affect their spiritual level?
On that we’ll learn next.