Copy Right 2022

Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner


What Did They Gain by Sin?


Rabbi Bachye asks, what could they gain by sin?
To understand the story of Eden, let’s recall that it does not stand on its own.
It is, rather, a direct continuation of the story oof CREATION in Chapter One.

Let’s recall that for Six long Days, six stages, ELKM created the world awesomely alone, as a sole dictator, creating and judging each Day, each creature, along the

Absolute Justice, with no mercy, following the rule of measure for measure. You eat and are eaten, with no escape, in justice.

And for Six Days He was pleased and said that it was good. He built the world as a six floors house, one floor over the older one, getting increasingly more complex. Then, on the last part of the Sixth Day, He decided to make a smart creature who has a Free will, called Adam.  But ELKM knew that such a creature would not withstand His harsh scrutiny, and would therefore be terminated, along with the entire endeavor, the whole world, as He had done to numerous other worlds before.

In His Kindness, ELKM therefore turned to another Attribute of the infinite CREATOR, the Attribute of MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS called YHVH, and “asked” Her to come over and participate in ruling the world through the Heavenly Court, and in making Adam together, “in Our Form and Our Image.” Her Advent in the Court would offer Adam a chance to repent, ask forgiveness and start all over again.  This way Adam would have a better chance to become “very good”, win the “end of Days Trial” and enter the Eternal Sabbath to Come. If that happens, ELKM would abstain His work (abstain in Hebrew is shabath) and YHVH would rule over alone.

YHVH who rules over Her Domain, the Eternal Sabbath, did come over as shown in the text at the end of the Sixth Day. But YHVH would not rule our world unless She has a Place to “rest” here, either in time – our Sabbath, or in a Tempe, or in a heart that can host Her. Such a heart must recognize Her and Her values, and invite Her inside.

She is here, therefore on a contingency: if there is no such heart, or if She is rejected from that heart, She would “escape” back to where She had come form, leaving our world in the Hand of ELKM,. Who would not hesitate to terminate it to nothingness, Khalah.

But could any creature of this world of ELKM ever recognize Her? They were created along His criteria, knowing no mercy.  Even if they become very sophisticated and smart, none would comprehend YHVH and Her values.

Hence Adam would be an anomaly in ELKM’s world. Living in ELKM’s world while harboring MERCY and COMPASSION in his heart would be extremely overwhelming.

Moreover, ELKM would not create Adam ready to perceive the Merciful YHVH. He would not install Mercy in Adam’s heart as a natural reflex, or as a continuation of the line oof Evolution, for that would be beyond what ELKM would ever do.

ELKM might carve out a room in Adam’s heart and mind, capable of perceiving YHVH, but even that   is beyond what He would do. So how could Adam be made with a room in his heart capable of hosting YHVH?

The Story oof Eden is the story of the carving out a room for YHVH in Adam’s heart. It tells us how and when that room was formed in Adam’s heart and mind – capable of recognizing and hosting YHVH and Her values

Hence the story of Eden is the first step in the Shechinah’s path into our heart. Once the room was established in Adam’s heart, back in Eden, the Shechinah would gradually increase Her presence there until one day She would fill it completely, so that we could enter the Eternal Sabbath.


The Story of Eden happened on the Third Day, before there was any life on Earth, not even vegetation, not even rain. YHVH ELKM formed it for Adam, as an alternative potential path to the Sabbath.  Adam and his wife could have reached the Sabbath directly. From there, without ever experiencing death and evil on real Earth.  You can say that it was the input of the Merciful YHVH in the Court that offered Adam that alternative course.

Eden offered Adam a trial, an easy to win one, only two Commandments to observe and be tested by.  This was the input of the Judge ELKM, who creates things to stand a trial.

He “insisted” on at least two Commanded for Adam’s trial.

On the other hands, the stakes of that trial were high – violating only two Commandments would cause them to lose Eden for good.

These two Commandments – IDOLATRY and ADULTERY – were given to Adam to help him overcome the most primordial drives in our soul – our Sex Drive and the Drive for Power.  Overcoming these drives would strengthen Adam’s soul, as we’ve discussed last class.


IDOLATRY and ADULTERY were also meaningful in Eden, since Adam and his wife could – and did – violate then even there, in Eden.


The Talmud says that in fact, when “YHVH ELKM Commanded Adam” on the Forbidden Tree, all the Six Commandments of Adam were included. Only that besides IDOLATRY and ADULTERY, the other four – BLOODSHED, THEFT, JUSTICE and BLASPHAMY,

had no relevance to Eden and were given to Adam as potential, in case he would live on Earth.

 It means that on Earth, where Adam would develop a real body (“skin coat,”) other desires and drives would be “activated” and rule his life.  These four Commandments would help him to tame those earthly desires and strengthen his divine sou

 Hence looking at Noah’s seven Commandments we can distinguish three layers:

1.    IDOLATRY and ADULTERY Which address our strong, innermost Drives,

2.    BLOODSHED, THEFT, INJUSTICE and BLASPHEMY that address our more superficial drives,

3.    The Seventh Commandment of Noah – Prohibition to consume blood and a limb torn from a living animal – that was added to Mankind at  the Rainbow Covenant



 Now, what was the spiritual level of Adam and his Wife in Eden prior to the  sin?

We can derive the answer from the name of the Forbidden Tree.

It is called “The tree: of knowledge of good and evil.”

Since Evil is something bad in YHVH’s eye, this implies that before the sin

they lacked the perspectives of YHVH.

They knew Right from Wrong, which are perspectives of ELKM,

yet they were unaware of Good and Evil, the perspectives of YHVH.

To show how smart and logical Adam was before the Sin,

the Torah says that YHVH ELKM passed all the creatures in the Garden before Adam,

and he was able to name them by the very name that the CREATOR had intended for it. He even named the Attribute of JUDGMENT as ELKM, and the Attribute of MERCY as YHVH.

Hence Adam knew YHVH, but on theoretical level, as a CREATOR. Yet before the sin, he and his wife did not KNOW YHVH intimately, practically, on a personal level.  Here the Hebrew word for knowledge, daat, refers to an intimate, loving relationship as in the verse “Adam knew his wife and she bore him Cain.”

Thus, they knew that committing IDOLATRY and ADULTERY is wrong, illogical, detrimental to their lives. Violation of any Commandment given by YHVH ELKM would be wrong, something “foolish” as the Greek believed.

But they did not yet have in the the perspective of YHVH on those two sins.

Moreover, the Torah emphasizes that prior to the Sin, “they were both naked, Adam and his wife, and they were not ashamed.” (2: 24) Indeed, there is nothing wrong or illogical in walking around naked.  If you believe in Truth, being naked is the ultimate truth.


Immediately after describing the nakedness of Adam and his wife the Torah  describes the Snake as follows:

Now the Snake was naked (cunning) beyond any beast of the field

that YHVH ELKM had made. And it said to the woman:

 “Did ELKM really say you shall not eat of   all the Trees of the Garden?”

The Snake was “arom” which means both naked and smart, a good counterpart of the humans. It walked on two legs, could speak and it was aware of ELKM yet unaware of YHVH.  It knew Right from Wrong, but not Good from Evil.  As a beast of the field, it would never have YHVH perspectives on its eyes, regardless how smart and cunning it could be.

You see in its words how smart it was. Aspiring to enter a conversation with the woman, it exaggerated on purpose, saying “Had not ELKM forbade on you to eat from all the frees in the Garden?” It knew that the woman would respond with denial.

 Indeed, he was right, since the woman responded:

“The woman said to the Snake:

Of the fruit of any tree of the Garden we may eat,

of the fruit tree which is in the center of the Garden

ELKM has said You shall neither eat of it nor touch it, lest you die.”

 The woman hid the true name of the Tree. She would not reveal it to a stranger.

She also did not mention YHVH.  Was it because she knew that the Snake did not have a clue of YHVH, or because she herself did not think much about YHVH at that stage

As careful as she was, she mentioned that ELKM had warned them not to touch the Tree.  The Midrash says that this was Adam’s words to her, trying to scare her away from the Tree.

At any rate, the Snake took advantage of that exaggeration and it pushed the woman to the Tree. Seeing that nothing bad happened, she was overwhelmed.

The Snake then attacked her openly –

“You shall not die! For ELKM knows that

on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened

 and you will be like ELKM, knowing Good and Evil.”

Again, the Snake confused the issues and related the knowledge of good and evil to ELKM, rather than to YHVH.  Now trusting the Snake, the woman eat of it and also gave it to her husband who eat it too.

Then something very dramatic happened


And the eyes of both of them opened

and they knew that they were naked

And they sewed together a fig leaf

and made themselves aprons.  (3: 7)

What did they see now after eating from the Forbidden Tree?


The first thing that the Torah mentions is that they covered their nakedness.

Well, being ashamed by our nakedness comes only from the perception of


When you stand before YHVH, either at the holy Temple, or at the synagogue, or even praying at home, you cover your nakedness. On the verse in Leviticus – You shall be holy” says Rashi – separate yourself from nakedness.

Hence the Fruit caused them, by its magic in the world of forming – to perceive YHVH first hand.  Here is the moment when a room was carved out in the humans heart capable of perceiving YHVH, and perceiving HOLINESS.

Secondly, their hide in shame in the bush.  A sense of a shame from sinning is typical for YHVH’s perception in our heart. You are not ashamed standing before a judge, but you are ashamed standing before your Heavenly Mother who loves you so much and expects from you so much.

 Thirdly, another feature of YHVH was revealed to them.  In fact, eating from the Tree should have caused them to “die” right way, meaning loosing Eden to live on Earth. Instead, they were able to hid in the bush while YHVH ELKM went “back and forth” before them, as if expecting something from them.

Seeing that the humans remained silent, YHVH ELKM called: “Adam where are you?”

As if He did not know. In fact, YHVH ELKM expected them to come forwards on their own, confess and ask forgiveness.   Had they done that, they would have been forgiven and could stay in Eden.

Thus, here YHVH revealed Herself the first time ever in Her capacity as the Attribute of FORGIVENESS, MERCY, COMPASSION and HOLINESS.  After all, for that purpose She had come from the Sabbath to join the Heavenly Court.
As we know, Adam and his wife did not take the opportunity and did not repent. Instead, each one blamed the other for the sin.  As a result, they were driven out to live on Earth.

Since that trial took place on the Third Day, YHVH ELKM now seeded the first life form on Earth, the Vegetation, and on the Forth Day they fixed the Earth axis so that we have fix seasons and calendars, and on the Fifth Day they made the Fish, Birds, Crocodiles Lizards and swamps.  Then on the Sixth Day they made the Cattle like, Beast like, and the social creatures that crawls on the ground. All that through the natural Evolution.  Then on the Sixth Day, our Day in which we live, YHVH ELKM made the Adam.

But this time, after the Trial of Eden, Adam appears on Earth with a room for YHVH carved out in his heart, ready to host YHVH in – pending on the Adam, on us.

So, what did we gain by the Sin in Eden? A room carved out in our heart capable of recognizing an d hosting YHVH there.