© 2020 by Rabbi Dr. Zvi Aviner
The Woman and the Serpent
1: The notion of Sin so far
Adam is like a child growing in Eden. At this point, he is ready for his trial. He has already acquired several notions of Sin-
- Sin damages our soul’s connection 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’ command
4. Sin is foolish, illogical, detrimental to our health and welfare
To comply with his PARENT, YHVH ELKM, Adam and his Wife should refrain from violating two Commandments- IDOLATRY and ADULTERY –
IDOLATRY- by not eating from the Forbidden Tree
ADULTERY– by refraining from sexual relationship outside their marriage
Deeply, though, violating ADULTERY is also violating IDOLATRY , by not listening to the KING’s Comman,
The PARENT, however, wished to teach Adam and his wife another, higher level of Sin. For that, they had to encounter the Ultimate Seducer, the Cunning Beast- the Serpent.
2: The spiritual level of Adam before the Sin
Naked yet Unashamed
As Adam’s trial in Eden is unfolded (Adam here is generic, including his Wife) the Torah describes their spiritual level before the Sin , as follows:
“And they were both naked, Adam and his wife,
And they were not ashamed…” (Genesis 2: 25)
For humans, walking naked unashamed can have several explanations-
- They were innocent like children (but they were, rather, young adults!)
- They knew Right from Wrong but not yet Good from Evil, and there is nothing Wrong in nakedness (Maimonides). Nakedness after all is natural.
- They resembled beasts, which go naked, unashamed of it.
- They did not yet perceive Modesty, which is a value related to YHVH
Right from Wrong
Maimonides (option 2) needs explanation.
Something is “wrong” when it seems unfair, unjust, unlawful, nontraditional
Something is “right” when it is fair, just, lawful, traditional
“Right and Wrong” are verdicts of the judge who decides by the law, and by a sense of justice.
Right and wrong” are therefore typical verdicts of the JUDGE, ELKM
Speeding on the highway at the allowed 75 m/h, is right,
Speeding on the same highway as 100 m/h is wrong.
Telling the truth is right, telling lies is wrong.
The verdict Right and Wrong does not pertain to the character of a person. It pertains, rather to the person’es deeds, .
Good and Evil
In contrast, the terms Good and Evil are emotional perspectives seen in YHVH’s eyes. Evil is the opposite of MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS.
Torturing anyone with cruelty, without justification, is Evil.
Giving charity above what is expected by Law, makes a person seen “Good”
The terms Good and Evil are perspectives seen in YHVH’s eyes.
The terms Right and Wrong are perspectives seen in ELKM’s eyes.
The Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil
Whoever eats of it, would acquire the awareness of YHVH values first hand, intimately,
As long the humans did not eat from the Tree, they did not know Good from Evil, meaning they lacked perspectives of YHVH.
But they did know Right from Wrong, which are logical values. And there is nothing wrong or illogical to walk around naked and unashamed of it.
Having discussed the spiritual level of the humans – walking naked and unashamed- the Torah turns to their Ultimate Seducer- the Serpent
3: The spiritual level of 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 too walked naked yet unashamed
Having described the naked, unashamed humans, the Torah turns to the Serpent as “aa-room,” which means both-
- ‘Aa-room’, naked, similar to all “beasts of the field.,”
- ‘Aa-room,’ smart, cunning, as were the humans. It could speak, walk on two legs, and it was sexually appealing to the human female.
Hence the humans and the Serpent matched each other at this stage of the story,
It lacked the perception of YHVH
The resemblance between the humans and the snakes is magnified by their perception of the CREATOR.
The Serpent mentions only ELKM, never YHVH. This makes sense, since beasts, as sophisticated as they might become, cannot be aware of YHVH. Beasts, after all, were made during the Six Days by ELKM alone. Adam is the only exception. Adam was made by YHVH ELKM
The woman too does not mention YHVH
““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)
Amazingly, the Woman too does not mention YHVH, only ELKM. Is it because she was talking to the Serpent, the Beast? Or is it because she too, before the sin, was not fully aware of YHVH? That might explain why she and Adam were naked and unashamed of it!
Why wasn’t the Woman (and Adam) aware of YHVH before the sin?
For how could she be aware of MERCY, when she lived in a place that had no Guilt OR Punishment? (The only punishment would be to be thrown out and live on Earth)
How could she be aware of the COMPASSION , at a Place bereaved of any sorrow, pains, maladies or death?
How could she be aware of FORGIVENESS, when she had never witnessed Forgiveness?
Yes, she could be aware of those Values of YHVH, on a theoretical level, far away from any intimate KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil. This she would acquire only by eating the Fruit.
Thus , indeed, the humans and the Serpent were a good match.
It was the Merciful YHVH’s concession
YHVH wouldn’t mind if Her Children – Adam and his Wife – would stay at this spiritual stage forever, remaining unaware of Her full Glory.
Because to appreciate the Merciful YHVH’s Full Glory, one has to encounter Evil, Death, cruelty- which is possible only on real Earth.
Our MOTHER IN HEAVENS – so to speak- would prefer that Her children would stay ‘home’, at Eden, at the Heavenly Uterus of Mankind, never exposed to the Evil and Death outside.
Our MOTHER IN HEAVENS knows well how difficult it is for Mankind to walk on real Earth, harboring Her values of Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness in our heart.
Our MOTHER IN HEAVENS – so to speak – knows well how challenging it is for Mankind to see the world of ELKM while wearing the prism of YHVH on our eyes. She would rather spare us the titanic clash of values between the JUDGE ELKM and the Merciful YHVH.
So, if you ask Her, our MOTHER IN HEAVENS would say: I don’t mind that my children – Adam and his Wife- stay in Eden unaware of me and my protection. Let them rather stay home, safely and forever.
What was the Serpent?
The last creatures made on the Sixth Day before Adam were “Crawling Creatures to their kinds.” We know that Insect and lizards and snakes came much earlier in the Evolution (On the Fifth Day, we’ve said) yet they RULED the Earth before and after the demise of the Dinosaurs. Skeletons of huge Snakes were recently discovered, some as big as two Greyhound busses side by side. The term Crawling Creatures” covers Spiders, Bees Ants and other “smart” social creatures. Given enough time, they too would develop smart civilizations of their won.
The Serpent in the Virtual Eden presents that putative, smart creature that could have developed as an natural extension of the Crawling creatures. Had the CREATOR not introduced Adam, or had He allowed Evolution to go on uninterrupted, the next creature on Earth would have been a smart, talking Serpent. Having been made by ELKM alone, it would have been unaware of YHVH altogether. It would have known no mercy, no compassion, no forgiveness and no holiness. Yet it would have been very CUNNING and NAKED.
Of course- Eden was a virtual garden, and its creatures were virtual. That Serpent was also a virtual creature, being placed there for ADAM’S TRIAL.
The Serpent as the Vehicle of SATAN
Unlike the popular notion of the Serpent, it was not Satan.
Satan in Hebrew is an Angel promoted as a Prosecutor of Mankind – as a species or as individuals- in the Heavenly Court.
Satan therefore is never punished, since it does what it is supposed to do, to prosecute us, to TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT US BEFORE ELKM.
In contrast, the Serpent of Eden was put to judgment and was “punished. Hence it had a Free will, equal to the humans’ will. It was fully aware of the JUDGE, ELKM, yet unaware of the Merciful YHVH, because it was, after all, a BEAST OF THE FIELDS.
The rabbis have described the Serpent as the ‘vehicle of Satan’, or ‘the camel on which Satan rides’ (Midrash.) It was a tool for Satan.
Now it is time to study the Trial itself,
End of ADULTERY CLASS 4