Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner
Their Eyes Opened and They Saw – What?
1. The Shame
Last class we ended with the Primordial Sin –
“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)
Consequently, a drastic change took place in them:
“And the eyes of both of them were opened
And they knew that they were naked
And they sewed fig leaves together
and made themselves cloths.” (Genesis 3: 7)
Their eyes opened – they understood something new.
Before the sin, they walked naked unashamed, like the Serpent
Now, after the sin, they became aware of their nakedness and ashamed of it
Before the sin, they knew Right from Wrong, Truth from a Lie
Now, after the sin they knew also Good from Evil.
Before the Sin they were aware of G-d, ELHM and His values
Now, after the sin, they became aware also of YHVH and Her values
To understand the impact of the Primordial Sin on Man’s history
Let’s recall that the story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis chapters 2-3
Is a direct continuation of the story of Genesis in Chapter 1.
In fact, the story of Eden focuses on the time slot in the Sixth Day’s afternoon
Just before G-d, ELKM, created Adam on Earth.
AstThe verse says, ELKM paused and passed a judgment
whether or not to create Adam.
Prior to that Judgment, for Six Long Days,
ELKM, the Attribute of Justice,
created the World under His sole rule,
in a way that is validated by our Science
And when ELKM reached the Sixth Day’s ‘ afternoon’,
He would have terminated our world to nothingness,
as He had done before to numerous other Worlds.
This time, however, ELHM decided to give our world
a chance to endure and enter the Sabbath Day along with Him.
In the Sabbath Day, ELHM would abstain from creating more,
abstain from judging more, and would let the World enjoy
the warmth and the joy of the Merciful Attribute YHVH ruling alone.
Moses tells us says that ELHM is Longing to enter the Sabbath Day
Like a Groom who is longing to meet his Bride,
Or a KING who is longing to meet His Sabbath Queen
But our World would not enter the Sabbath, unless
It has in it at least one creature, who can comprehend the Sabbath,
who abides by the Values of the Merciful YHVH,
namely Mercy, Compassion, Forgiveness and Holiness.
Could such a creature be found among those
Created during the Six Days?
The answer is: none, since they were all created
By ELKM alone. And ELKM, the Attribute of Justice,
Follows Justice but not Mercy.
Could such a creature be created on the Sabbath itself?
The answer is no, since there is no new creation
on the Sabbath Day.
Thus, the new creature who comprehend Mercy,
and is eligible to enter and live in the Sabbath,
should be created in this world on the Sixth Day
ready to enter the Sabbath.
And the new creature, Adam, should be created
by both YHVH and ELKM.
If Adam accepts YHVH into his heart,
he is deemed Very Good by both Attributes, YHVH and ELHM,
and is eligible to enter the Sabbath
Again, let’s emphasize that
even if one of the beasts created before Adam
becomes smarter, like the Serpent in Eden,
It would never be able to comprehend YHVH and Her values,
would never make YHVH ELHM feel Very Good
and would never be eligible to enter the Sabbath.
Thus, as Moses says,
after the Midday Judgment of the Sixth Day,
YHVH and ELHM, in Oneness, planned
to create Adam on Earth.
Realizing how difficult it would be for Adam
to live in this World having the perspectives
Of the Merciful YHVH in his heart,
they offered him an alternative path to reach the Sabbath Day
without ever been created on real Earth
Our world, ELKM’s world, after all,
is full of misery, sorrow and death,
full of natural calamities, diseases and cruelty.
It is a world based on Absolute Justice,
On the rule of “Eat and be Eaten,”
“Inflict Pain and suffer Pains,”
Measure by Measure.
It is a just world, under ELKM,
yet it is a harsh in the eyes of anyone
Who feels the Merciful YHVH in his heart.
The more Adam feels the Merciful YHVH in his heart
The more it would be difficult for him to live
In this world made by ELKM
To spare Adam that agony, and to make it easier for him
to be Very Good and reach the Sabbath,
YHVH ELM formed for him the Virtual Garden of Eden
Which is bereaved of any sorrow or Death
To be Very Good in Eden,
Adam would have to abide by only one Commandment,
that is: Not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil.
Eating of it, would incur the capital punishment of Death
Which means: to be driven out of Eden
and be created on real Earth, fully exposed to
Evil and Death.
Placing Adam in Eden,
G-d, YHVH ELKM, had much expectation from him.
As we’ve said, ELKM is longing so much to enter the Sabbath,
taking Adam with our whole World with Him,
The Merciful Attribute YHVH, too, does hope
that Adam would win and enter Her Domain, the Sabbath,
where he would enjoy Her Holiness and Her love.
Hence if Adam wins, it would be Very Good for
himself as well as for the Heavenly Court
If Adam fails, it would be Very Bad for himself
As well as for the Entire World,
Since, in that case, ELKM would not enter the Sabbath
But would rather terminate our World to nothingness.
To prepare Adam for his trial
The CREATOR, YHVH ELKM, taught him the concept of Sin.
Adam is growing, spiritually, in Eden.
and as he grows, he learns successive aspects of Sin.
We’ve already discussed several such aspects
Sin can damage, or even sever
Adam’s soul’s connection to G-d’s Mouth,
as if our soul is a spiritual embryonic cord connected to Him
As Adam grows, he learns that
Sin is to ignore our FATHER-HEAVENS ADVICE
which he should follow with full trust, even without understanding
Then, as he grows, Adam learns that
Sin is also to disobey our Heavenly KING’S COMMAND
which he should follow in full obedience
Hence, if Adam eats of the Forbidden Tree
this would be counted as a rebellion against his KING,
which is a form of IDOLATRY
Then as Adam becomes wiser in Eden,
giving names to everyone there, including G-d,
He learns that
Sin is also a foolish act, defying logic, detrimental
to his own goodness
And then, with the advent of the Woman,
Adam learns about Marriage and pure family Love,
and with it he is given the Second Commandment-
And now, when Adam experiences Love,
He is about to learn another, higher aspect of Sin
the most important one.
The verse says, that after they ate of the Forbidden Tree
their eyes opened and they knew that they were naked,
As Rashi says: they knew now Good from Evil,
which are perspectives of YHVH’s Eyes
And that new perspective
caused them to feel ashamed
Ashamed of what?
One answer is: ashamed of their nakedness
Let’s note that one is not ashamed of his nakedness
while walking before ELKM,
Since there is nothing wrong or unnatural or illogical
But one is ashamed of nakedness when standing
in front of YHVH. Since nakedness is the opposite
of Her Holiness.
Another answer is, that they were ashamed of their sin.
What sin, exactly?
You may say that the woman committed ADULTERY with the Serpent
And Adam committed Sexual promiscuity with beautiful Lilith,
Hence both were ashamed of their sin,
and nakedness reminded them of their ADULTERY
But their sin may be the very eating of the Forbidden Fruit,
And they were ashamed of their failure,
by the fact that they disappointed G-d’s expectations
To illustrate that, let’s consider hard working parents
who send their only son, Joey, to the college.
For years they have saved money for his education,
hoping to give their son an opportunity to have
a better life for himself, and also to be able
to support them at old age.
As Joey departs for college, the parents are so proud of him.
His father advices him to stay away from troubles on the campus,
and wishes him success. “We trust you,” he says to Joey.
His mother does not say much, but her loving eyes accompanies him.
Joey goes to college. Unfortunately, he associates with the wrong crowd
who entice him to Alcohol, sex and drugs, even to gambling.
The more he sinks into the abyss of filth,
the more does he recognize how pure and loving his parents are.
The more he gets lost, the more he recognizes
How well his parents sheltered him.
Subsequently, he loses his money allowances,
fails the exams and is expelled from college
Back in hometown, Joey is struck with shame.
He is not as fearful of his father, as he is ashamed to face his mother.
How could he stand in front of her, seeing her disappointment of him?
Instead of going home, Joey hides in a shabby apartment
in a run-down neighborhood. When his parents learn about his hiding,
his father objects seeing him, but his mother holds her husband’s hands
and leads him to their car. “Drive,” she says to him, “you know where.”
They approach Joey’s apartment, but they do not enter.
They don’t want to overwhelm him.
Instead, they move back and forth in front of his window,
knowing he sees them. Indeed, Joey notice them
and hides deeper in the apartment.
After a while, the parents knock on the door.
“Joey”, they call him softly, “where are you?!”
But Joey refuses to respond.
The parents then open the door and enter.
Seeing his parents, Joey is struck with shame.
He kneels on the ground, hids his face and busts in crying.
“I’m so ashamed,” he sobs, “please forgive me.”
His father stays sill,
but his mother places her hand on his head and kisses him.
“Come home, our child,” she says, “there will be another chance.”
Adam and his wife, after their sin, were like our Joey.
Becoming aware of the Merciful YHVH and Her Love for us,
They were ashamed of disappointing Her.
Therefore, they covered their nakedness
and hide with shame in the bush.
Now that they were condemned to be expelled from Eden,
they realized how great was G-d’s protection of them in Eden.
Now that they faced Evil and Death on Earth
They realized how great is the Merciful YHVH
And how great is their loss. Therefore they hide in shame in the bush
As it says :
And they heard the voice of YHVH ELoKiM
Walking back and forth’ ‘mit-ha-lech’ in the Garden,
in the breeze of the day.
And Adam and his wife hide themselves
from the presence of YHVH ELoKiM,
among the trees of the Garden” (Genesis 3: 8)
The question is: why were they not expelled immediately?
The answer is: Seeing that they were ashamed,
YHVH ELKM gave them a chance to REPENT.
Indeed, Shame is the first and necessary step for repentance.
Shame should lead a person to confess, ask forgiveness
and pledge not to repeat the sin in the future
With the awareness of the Merciful YHVH, that came with the sin,
Adam and his wife received awareness of YHVH’s Forgiveness
So, they recognized their sin and became ashamed of it
Hence, Sin came to the world intertwined with Forgiveness
A that crucial moment in Mankind’s history
Adam and his wife learned a new aspect of Sin:
As a shameful act in the eyes of our Loving Heavenly Mother
Making Her be disappointed with us.
The verse now says that similar to our Joey,
Adam and his wife hide behind the bush in shame,
While YHVH ELHM walked back and forth in front of them
expecting them to continue their repentance,
to come out, confess and ask forgiveness.
Had the humans done that, their sin would have been forgiven
and they would be given a second chance to stay in Eden
and reach the Sabbath from there.
As in our story about Joey
Adam and his wife noticed YHVH ELKM
yet they kept hiding.
And like Joey’s parents, YHVH ELKM took the initiative
And called Adam, as it says
And YHVH ELoKIM called Adam and said to him,
Where are you?” (Genesis 3: 9)
Hearing G-d calling them,
Adam and his wife had no other choice
But to enter a dialogue –
I have heard your voice
And I was afraid because I am naked so I am hiding”
And He (G-d) said:
who told you that you’re naked?
Have you eaten of the Tree,
from which I commanded you not to eat?
the woman whom you gave to be with me –
she gave me of the Tree and I ate.”
“And YHVH ELHM said to the woman:
What is this that you’ve done!”
“The woman said:
The Serpent allured me and I ate.”
Thus, unlike our Joey,
Adam and his wife failed to admit their sin
Failed to confess, and failed to ask forgiveness
Instead, each one blamed the other.
And that, sealed their fate forever
What happened next?
2 The punishment
As originally warned,
Adam and his wife were expelled from the Virtual Eden
to be created on the Sixth Day on real Earth
where they would face sorrow and death
Henceforth on Earth,
they would have to reach the Sabbath
after a long, painful history, through which
they should improve themselves to become
Very Good in YHVH ELKM’s eyes
Since the Woman was the last to be created
Adam named Eve, which means “Mother of all living things.”
It is as if all the creatures were created during the entire Six Days
to bring her on Earth, through the Evolution
Loosing Eden also meant
That Adam, on Earth, would earn his bread by the sweat of his brows
And Eve would give birth by painful labor.
The Serpent too was punished,
To become a hateful regular snake
The Torah also describes their passage
from Eden to Earth as follows
And He drove out Adam
and stationed, at the east of the Garden of Eden
the Cherubs and the flame of the ever-turning sward
to guard the way to the Tree of Life
This Virtual Garden still hovers over the Jerusalem’s Temple Mountain
where it opens into the space where King Solomon would
dedicate as the Holy of Holies and place in it the Holy Ark
with the two Golden Cherubs on top
The Cherubs had a face of a boy and a girl looking at each other with Love
Resembling the two Attributes of Mercy and Judgment
that formed Eden.
And ever since Eden trial
No human can claim he or she is unaware of
Mercy, Compassion, Forgiveness and Holiness
Which are feature of the Merciful YHVH.
Since we all have inherited them, from the Garden of Eden.
And no human can claim that he or she
Is unaware of the Six Commandments of Adam
IDOLATRY, ADULTERY, BLOODSHED THEFT and BLASPHEMY
They are embedded in our psyche since our birth
as a gift from our CREATOR given to us
To create Eden on Earth
3: The Tree of Life
They say that when Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden
They cried hard, realizing how much they had lost
The Merciful YHVH and the Judgmental ELKM, in Oneness,
Had Mercy on them and allowed them to take a brunch of the Tree of Life
with them to Earth. Whoever owns it shall live forever
Adam and Eve lived long and fruitful life, and they bequeathed it to Enosh.
Enosh too lived a long and fruitful life, and bequeathed the Brunch to Noah
Noah too lived a long, fruitful life and bequeathed it to Shem,
And Shem to Abraham, Issacs and Jacob .
The Brunch finally came into the possession of Moses
who made of it a handle for the first Torah Scroll he wrote
which he placed inside the Holy Ark
Moses gave the Scroll to Israel, with the promise
that as long they abide by it, Israel would live forever
Thus, the Torah is the guide to lead us
to become Very Good in our CREATOR’S eyes
4: The Tunnel from Eden to Earth
They also say that when we pass away
Our soul ascends to the Garden of Eden
Passing at first by the two Cherubs
Presenting the Heavenly Court of YHVH ELKM,
Then our soul stands the scrutiny of the turning Sward
And finally arrives at the Tree of Life where it would live forever
Now that we’ve learned IDOLATRY from Chapter One,
and ADULTERY from chapters 2-3,
we are ready to learn about BLOODHSED
from the first Murder- Cain killing Abel
And to the woman He said,
I will greatly multiply the pains of thy childbearing,
In sorrow you shall bring forth children,
and yet your desire shall be to your husband
And he shall rule over you…” (Genesis 3: 16)
And to Adam He said Because you listened to your wife and ate of the Tree about which I commanded you saying you shall not eat of it, accursed is the ground because of you Through suffering you shall eat of it all th days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it sprout for you and you shall eat the herb of the field, By the seat of your browo shall you eat bread until you return to the ground from which you were taken For you are dust, and to dust you shall return
And Adam called his wife Eve (Havah) because she had become the mother of all the living.