© 2022 by Rabbi Dr. Zvi Aviner

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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:

ADULTERY

 

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?

Several explanations:

 

Some say that they resembled innocent children

(but they were, rather, young adults!)

 

Rashi says:

“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

 

Let’s ask,

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,”

meaning –

  1. ‘Aa-room’,naked and unashamed, like all “the beasts of the field.,”
  2. ‘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.

 

  1. “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.