Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner
ADULTERY-1/Where Is the Garden of Eden?
We move today to the study of Noah’s Second commandment, ADULTERY
as presented in the story of the Garden of Eden.
Although it is written in our books as Chapters 2-4,
In the Torah’s scroll it is written as a continuation of Chapter One,
complementing the story of the creation of Adam on the Sixth Day
As is well known, the story of Eden tells us how
Adam and Eve received the knowledge of Good and Evil.
Lets’ pay attention to the vocabulary.
The perception of Good and Evil, we’ve said,
Is always from the perspective of YHVH.
Evil is whatever the Merciful Attribute Hates.
Let’s recall that at the End of the Sixth Day, our Day,
ELHM will pass a comprehensive Judgment,
On “Everything that He had done”, including Adam,
Judging whether or not he has become Very Good.
If Adam is deemed Very Good in ELHM’s eyes,
ELHM would Enter the Sabbath
Along with Adam and the entire Universe
On the other hand,
If Adam has failed to be Very Good in ELHM’s eyes,
or he is deemed Very Bad, ELHM would terminate our world
to nothingness, as He had done to many tother Universes before
And to be Very Good in ELHM’s eyes,
Adam has to abide by His Laws,
and he would be called RIGHTEOSUS.
If Adam violates ELHM’s Laws,
he is called a SINNER (not evil.)
But as it is shown in the text, at the End of the Sixth Day,
Adam would also be assessed by YHVH, from Her Side.
If Adam meets Her expectations, he is Very Good in Her Eyes,
But if he fails, if he has committed the opposite of Her values,
If he is indifferent to misery of others, if he is cruel,
he is called “Evil in YHVH’s eyes.”
So, how did the perception of YHVH enter
Adam’s heart and mind?
Let’s see the text.
In Genesis Chapter One it is written that
ELHM said, Let Us make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image,
Speaking in plural
Then, the next verse says that
ELHM created Adam in His Image.
In ELHM’s image only
So, in the planning stage, ELHM spoke in plural
In the name of YHVH and ELHM together
Whereas when ELHM made Adam on the ground
He made him in His Image only,
and it would be up to Adam to accept YHVH into his heart
on his own discretion and Free Will.
Let’s recall the full story.
When ELHM planned to create Adam,
He invited the Attribute of MERCY, YHVH
to join Him in the Heavenly Court.
YHVH entered our world in the Sixth Day, as shown in the text,
and Observed ELHM’s World-
like a Bride entering her Groom’s home for the first time,
assessing whether or not She would feel comfortable living here.
She said, so to speak,
“Your world, ELHM, is beautiful and smart, full of your Wisdom and Justice
But how could I rule it, when OI see no one here who
can understand my language, who knows Good from Evil?”
“Let us Make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”
Our child Adam would know me, and in his heart
I would carve out a room, where you can Dwell,
if he lets you in.”
ELHM would not make Adam merciful by nature, as a reflex,
Since MERCY is none of ELHM’s features
But He would make us capable of accepting Her
on our own discretion
YHVH agreed, and as you will soon see in the text,
the two Attributes held Wing against Wing,
like two Cherubs in Love, and flew over the Six Days,
consolidating them – by their Oneness and Love,
Not unlike a Groom’s house that gets a new shape and light
By the authority and charm of the new Bride.
Hence, as the text says,
At the planning stage, ELHM spoke in plural, saying Let Us,
Whereas when making Adam,
ELHM made him in His Image only
Expecting Adam to fill the gap and accept YHVH
into his heart, on his own discretion
It seems from here, that a person may abide by ELHM’s laws,
never rape, never kill and never steal, never bother anyone,
and yet ignores YHVH’s expectations of him altogether.
Such a person lives an ordinary life, never violate any law
Yet he is oblivious to suffering in his own community
He may never contribute charity above a bare minimum,
He may never volunteer to help the needed or contribute to welfare,
He may buy diamond rings,
ignoring the abused children in Africa who dug it.
He may ignore the suffering of animals by human hands,
May have never supported civil rights.
such a person may join evil people to commit mass murder
In the name of the state, claiming to be good citizen.
That person may claim to ELHM, when time comes:
I have abided by your laws, ELHM, as You have made me in Chapter One,
Hence, I am righteous!
ELHM would say to him:
“Sorry, you quat Chapter One,
But you should have read also Chapters Two,
The story of Eden, where it explains how
The perception of Good and Evil
Has entered every person’s heart.
Therefore, your claim is dismissed!”
So, the story of Eden came as a supplement to Genesis Chapter One,
to show that despite the fact that ELHM made Adam in His image only,
it was the Primordial Sin of Eden that brought the perception
of good and evil into the heart of each person at birth,
with no exception, so that no one may claim that
MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS is discretional.
Let’s read now the Story of Eden,
to understand how that happened
Introduction to the story of Eden
In the introduction to Eden story, we read
“These is the history
of Heavens and Earth
when they were re-created
on the Day that YHVH ELoKiM
Made Earth and Heaven”
(Genesis 2: 4)
The verse continues the story of creating Adam
on the Sixth Day.
It says that the two Attributes, YHVH and ELHM,
Re-created Earth and Heaven –
in the opposite direction of Chapter One!
What does it mean?
Let’s first pay attention to the Names here
While in Chapter One, the Attributes appear
Each one by itself, ELHM alone 32 times
and YHVH alone once, as a hidden acronym
at the junction between the Sixth and the Seventh Days
Here, in the story of Eden, the Attributes appear
The first time ever together, in the open, as YHVH ELHM,
their Names close to each other, touching each other
as they would never appear again throughout the entire Torah
They appear in that fashion 20 times in the Story of Eden.
that the Attributes would later appear only as YHVH or ELHM separated,
As , for instance, it is said in the Ten Commandments: “I Am YHVH your ELHM.”
The word “your” separates them apart
Thus, in the Story of Eden, the Attributes appear as two Cherubs
Holding Wing against Wing, as Moses depicted them on the Holy Ark,
as two cherubs with a face of a girl and a boy looking at each other with Love
Now the verse says, that YHVH ELHM, in Oneness,
Re-created the Earth and the Heaven
in reverse direction to Chapter One.
As if they Flew over the Six Days backwards,
From the Sixth Day to the Fifth, Fourth and Third
back to the Beginning,
consolidating the world by their Oneness
Then it says that YHVH ELHM
formed the Garden of Eden.
On what Day was Eden formed?
The verse stipulates about it precisely, saying
“And there was no shrub of the field yet on Earth
And the grass of the field had not yet grown
For YHVH ELoKiM had not yet showered rain on Earth
And there was no Adam to till the ground
But mist went up from the ground
and watered the whole face of the Earth…””
The verse says that the Garden of Eden was formed
on a Day, where there was no shrub, no grass,
not even rain, no animal, no Adam,
Just mist coming from the ground and watering the Dry Land
What Day could it be?
The Talmud says: it was the THIRD DAY
Before ELHM seeded any life on the Dry Land.
Thus, the Attributes began their Fight backwards
on the Sixth Day, prior to the making Adam,
and when they reached the THIRD DAY
they FORMED the Garden of Eden there.
The key to understand this is the word
“FORMED” as opposite to “CREATED.”
There is a difference between
When I build a house, for instance,
I would first CREATE it in my mind,
I would decide what sort of a house it would be,
What would it style and purpose be,
Then I would contract an architect
Who’d FORM my house on his blue print,
Describing it on the paper, on the computer, in details
Only then I would contract a builder
who’d MAKE the house on the real ground.
there is a world of CREATING (Be-riah)
World of FORMING (Ye-tzirah
World of MAKING (aA-siah)
These are the three stages necessary for any endeavor.
As it turns out, the entire story of Eden is written
as in the World of FORMING.
Hence it was a virtual Garden,
still hovering over Mount Moriah (Rabenu Bah-ye)
So, while there was no grass, no shrub and no tree on real Earth
The Garden of Eden had already the following:
“And YHVH ELHM caused to sprout from the ground
Every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food
Also, the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden
And the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” (Genesis 2: 9)
Obviously, it was a virtual Garden, full of beautiful Trees
and virtual animals, as the text would later say,
Then, in this Virtual Garden of the THIRD DAY
YHVH ELHM also FROMED a Virtual Adam as it says
:And YHVH ELHM FORMED the Adam from the ground
And he blew into Adam’s nostrils the soul of life,
And Adam became a living being”(Genesis 2: 6)
Then YHVH ELHM placed the formed Adam into the formed Garden
To “till it and preserve it.”
Why the Garden?
In their flight over the Six Days, back to the Beginning,
Holding each other Wing, the Attributes arrived at Day THREE
Before seeding any life on earth.
YHVH, the Merciful Attribute, then said to ELHM, so to speak:
“Why wouldn’t we spare our child Adam
the agony of living in your world, ELHM?
It is a beautiful world, indeed,
full of your Wisdom and Your Justice,
Yet it is full of misery and sorrow and death.
“Why wouldn’t we open for Adam an alternative path,
A Garden of Eden, bereaved of any sorrow and death,
from where he would arrive directly to the Sabbath
without ever been exposed to the Angel of Death on Earth!
“And to become Very Good in your Eyes, ELHM,
Let us give him just one simple Commandment,
Like Do Not Eat FROM a Certain Tree
Which is tantamount of IDOLATRY
Accepting or denying Your Kingship
If Adam complies, he wins your trial
And he would enter the Sabbath with You.”
So ELHM said:
“But what about You? If Adam never lives on real Earth
never exposed to sorrow and death,
How would he ever comprehend your
MERCYT, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS?
In that case, he would never know Your full Glory!”
“I don’t mind giving up my Glory in his eyes,
as long I have sparred him the agony of living in your world.
“All I would ask from him in Eden is to
Feel My Holiness, my Joy and my Love to him.
If he feels that, he would be Very Good in my eyes!”
“But if Adam fails, we would place him on earth on the Sixth Day
as I have planned, and he would have to withstand
our trial from real Earth,
fully aware of my Power and Your Glory.”
YHVH agreed, so to speak, and the two Attributes
FORMED the Garden, FORMED Adam
And placed Adam inside to “till it and keep it”
Hoping he would withstand the simple trial
And enter the Sabbath directly from there
Eden Stretches Over her Six Days
In Chapter One it is said that
on the THIRD Day, before seeding Life on Earth
ELHM “paused” and passed a judgment.
We can now understand that the verse refers
to Eden Judgment.
Similarly, on the Sixth Day, before making Adam,
ELHM passed a Midday Judgment to see
whether or not to place Adam on Earth.
Beside those two occasions,
here were no other Midday Judgments.
We can combine them and say that Eden stretches
from the Sixth Day to the Third,
over the entire Six Days
It is therefore still hovering over us
As Rabenu Bahye says
Receiving YHVH’s perspectives in our hearts
But as we know, Adam and Eve failed their trial,
ate from the forbidden “Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil”
Became aware of YHVH values, of Good and Evil
And then driven out of Eden to live on Earth.
Ever since then, on real Earth,
no person may claim that he is unaware of YHVH
Unaware of MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS
No person can claim that he is made only in ELHM’S image
as stated in Chapter One.
For all people now carry the awareness of Good and Evil
That entered our souls when we were in the Garden of Eden.
But in Eden, while living under the Love of YHVH ELHM,
Adam and Eve received, by eating the Fruit
another aspect of YHVH’s Holiness:
that is: the ability to distinguish between
Sexual Promiscuity and Marriage
ADULTERY Vs Pure Family Love
It is in Eden that Adam and Eve received
the prohibition against ADULTERY
To be kept even in Eden as a Second Commandment, besides IDOLATRY,
till they arrive at the Sabbath
On that we’ll continue learning next class