ADULTERY-1/Where and When was Eden Form?



© 2017 by Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner

ADULTERY-1: Where and when was Eden?

Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference

1: Two Signatures: Of Noah and Moses

Today we move in our study from the First Commandment of Noah, IDOLATRY, to the Second one, ADULTERY.
Let’s recall that in Eden, Adam and Eve received the ‘primordial’ Six Commandments that are:

(VII)  The seventh Commandment was added by Noah after the Flood, namely the prohibition to consume blood and limbs torn from a living animal (meaning: no cruelty!

The ADULTERY prohibition was told first to Adam and Noah then repeated to Israel by Moses in the Ten Commandments, saying:

: “Thou shall not commit ADULTERY” (Exodus 20:13)

By repeating to Israel, the rule says, Moses applied  it to both the Children of Noah and Israel. This follows the Talmudic rule that says

“Every commandment given to Noah and repeated by Moses to Israel, applies to both

Any commandment given only to Israel applies to Israel only

Any commandment given to Noah and NOT repeated to Israel (such as Circumcision and eating the Sciatic nerve) applies only to Israel…” (Sanhedrin)

Hence the world listens to Moses. But Moses, the most modest man ever, tells the nations to listen to their forefather Noah. Since Circumcision and the Sciatic never prohibition was NOT referred to by Noah, it applies only to Israel . Remember the rule of thumb: Moses respects Noah.

From where can we learn about ADULTERY?
Moses  in the Ten Commandments forbids ADULTERY, to both Noahides and Israel, yet he assumes that the ‘reader’ is already informed of it by the Story of the Garden of Eden. After all, Eden was the place where Adam and his wife received the Commandment the first time.  And as a rule of thumb says: if you ever wish to know in details about a concept in the Torah, search for the site in the text where the concept is first introduced.  Indeed, as we’ll see, the Garden of Eden story introduces  ADULTERY in its full meaning and glory (in the same token the first Commandment, ADULTERY, is introduced in full by Genesis Chapter one).

In the same token, the Torah continues to introduce the rest of the Commandments throughout the Book of Genesis, thus

The Third Commandment, BLOODSHED, is introduced by Cain and Abel.
The Fourth, THEFT, is introduced through  Abraham
The Fifth, JUSTICE, is introduced through Jacob
The Sixth, BLASPHEMY, is introduced through the selling of Joseph.

Questions to be answered:
As we begin our study of the Garden of Eden, let’s keep those questions on our mind:
(1) What is the Primordial Sin, exactly? Was it SEX or ADULTERY?
(2) What causes them to become ashamed of their nakedness? Isn’t nakedness natural?
(3) Is Marriage a convenient social contract, or a sacred institution?
(4) How many sexual prohibitions are included in ADULTERY?
(5) Where exactly is/was Eden?
(6) What is/was the Tree of Life? Is it lost?
(7) What was the new knowledge of good and evil they acquired by eating the forbidden fruit? What could they GAIN by sinning?

These and other points will be elucidated as we read and study the text:


2: The text of Eden’s trial

The story of Eden begins, as might be expected,  by describing WHO created Eden, WHEN and WHERE.  As it says:

(Introduction to the story of Eden)
“These are the histories of the Heavens and the Earth (how many histories there were?)
when they were re-created (what does this mean?)
on the Day that YHVH ELoKiM (why the Attributes appear together?)
Made Earth and Heavens…” (Genesis 2: 4)
(why the order is in reverse, first Earth then Heavens?)

(When was Eden formed?)
“And there was no shrub of the field was yet on Earth ‘
And the grass of the field had not yet grown
For YHVH ELoKiM had not yet showered rain on Earth (what Day could this be?)
And there was no Adam to till the ground but there went up a mist from the ground
and watered the whole face of the Earth”

(Forming Adam in Eden)
”And YHVH ELoKiM  formed the Adam from the dust of the ground, (why ‘formed’; and not created or made?)
and He blew in his nostrils a breath of life, Neshama,
and Adam became a Nefesh Chayah, a living soul…” (Genesis 2: 7)

(Forming the Garden of Eden)
“ And YHVH ELoKiM planted a garden east of Eden
And He placed in there the Adam whom He had formed
And out of the ground YHVH ELoKiM made to grow
Every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food
And the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden
And the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil…”
(Genesis 2:9)

(Adam’s task in Eden)
“And YHVH ELoKiM took the Adam,
and He placed him in the Garden of Eden
To till it and to keep it…”(Genesis 2:15)

(Giving Adam the Six Commandments)
“And YHVH ELoKiM Commanded on the Adam, saying,
of every tree of the Garden you may freely eat
But of the ‘Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil’ you shall not eat of it (what sort of knowledge is this?)
For on the Day that you eat of it you shall surely die….” (could he die in Eden?) ((Genesis 2:16-17)

You know the story of Eden. It is one of the most famous stories ever told. The CREATOR ‘formed’ a Garden, called Eden, then ‘formed’ an Adam and placed him there. Adam proved to be very smart, a Homo Sapience, capable of naming all the creature with the “right names.” The CREATOR then warned Adam that he may eat from all the trees in the Garden, yet from “the Tree Of Knowledge of Good and Evil” he should not eat, since “the day you eat of it you shall die.”

Seeing that Adam was lonely, the CREATOR ‘formed’ a woman from Adam’s SIDE (not rib) to be a “help against him.” But there was in Eden a creature called The Serpent, which could walk and talk like humans and was sexually attractive to ‘the woman’ (she is not yet called Eve). Being a “beast of the filed” it went naked and unashamed of it. In fact, the humans too at that point were also naked and unashamed of it.

The ‘cunning’ Serpent then enticed ‘the woman’  to eat from the forbidden fruit. Not only she did so but also gave of it to her husband  Adam (they were married.)  Tradition holds that she cohabited  sexually with the Serpent, which makes her adulteress. Hence  they violated both IDOLATRY (by not listening to the CREATOR) and ADULTERY.  Eating the forbidden fruit ‘opened their eyes’ so that they became aware of their nakedness and also ashamed of it, the first time ever.

Instead of chasing them out right away, the CREATOR gave then a chance to confess and repent, but they did not. The CREATOR kept calling “Adam, where are you?” but they hide. Finally Adam blamed his wife, and she the Serpent. Having failed to repent they were driven out of Eden to live on Earth. Here they would encounter HARDSHIP, DEATH and EVIL the first time. Here they would KNOW what evil is.

What is exactly the moral message given by the story? Does it have any implication to our life?


3: Who exactly formed Eden?

Again, the introductory verse informs us that:

“These are the histories of the Heavens and the Earth    (how many histories there were?)
When they were re-created,    (what does it mean?)
on the Day that YHVH ELoKiM    (why the two Names Side by Side?)
Made Earth and Heavens      (why the order in reverse?)
And there was no shrub of the field was yet on Earth    (what Day was it?)
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….
And YHVH ELKM formed the Adam from the ground…”(why ‘formed’?) (Genesis 2:5)

The Story of Eden Continues Chapter One
Most non-Jewish commentaries regard the story of Eden as an independent, self-standing story. The critics see it as a myth, no different from other Bronze Age myths. But we’ve already established the uniqueness of Moses’ Genesis compared to other ancient myths. We’ve already seen how credible Moses words are, how they fits our scientific narrative. If so, the rest of Moses words should also be credible, including the story of Eden and its moral messages.

In fact, tradition sees the story of Eden in Chapter 2 a continuation of Chapter One. Chapter 2-3 begin where chapter 1 ends. in the story of Eden Moses adds information to the story of Adam creation.

The first thing noticeable in the story of Eden is the change in the Attributes’ appearance.
Whereas in Chapter One, ELoKiM appears alone 35 times (32 in six Days plus 3 in the Sabbath)
and YHVH appears alone only once, as a hidden, modest acronym seen only by LEARNED EYE (indeed, MERCY is not seen in the open in Nature)
Here in the story of Eden the two Attributes appear together ‘side by side’ as YHVH ELKM. Moreover, they appear glued together like that throughout the entire story.  Thus whereas YHVH appears at the end of Chapter One only as an acronym, here in the story of Eden YHVH appears  the first time ever in the open, but only alongside ELKM.

How exceptional this presentation is! YHVH ELKM would never appear like that, close to each other, in the rest of the Torah and in the entire Bible.  They appear glued to each other ONLY HERE IN THE STORY OF EDEN, never again.  In other places they appear like “YHVH, our ELKM” somehow separated.

In other words: the two Attribute YHVH and ELKM appear close to each other, as two loving Cherubs holding Wing against  Wing,the way Moses depicted them over the Holy Ark.

How many times does YHVH ELoKiM appear in the story of Eden? Exactly 20 times, twice the number that ELKM said “let it be” in chapter One.
Hence YHVH ELKM together doubles the impact of ELKM on Nature.  As the Psalm says: “YHVH ELKM consolidated the world, henceforth it wouldn’t falter.”

Let’s recall what we’ve learned in Chapter One. We’ve seen how at the end of the Sixth Day the Merciful Attribute YHVH ‘answered’ the invitation of ELKM , so to speak, and came into our world to consolidate it before creating Adam.  We’ve seed how the text treats the occasion as if ELKM the Groom invited the BRIDE YHVH Who Rules the Sabbath to come over and share the world together.. .
So here in Chapter Two, where the story of Eden begins, the BRIDE YHVH has already entered the GROOM’S Home to Dwell in there SIDE BY SIDE with Him, as “YHVH ELKM.”  No wonder that Moses depicted the Cherubs with faces of  a boy and a girl looking at each other in Heavenly Love.

They appear like that to ‘form’ their child Adam in their Oneness and Love.

Note that the Hebrew word ‘eden’ or edna refers to delicate, SEXUAL pleasure and love.

For instance: when Sarah, at age 90, was impregnated with Isaac, she called up in wonder: “Behold! I’m old, and yet I’ve had an edna,” sexual pleasure, (Genesis 8: 12) .

Here is the list of the 20 times the name YHVH ELKM appear in the story of Eden:

(1) On the Day thatYHVH ELoKiMmade Earth and Heavens (Genesis 2: 4)
(2) ForYHVH ELoKiMhas not sent yet rain upon the Earth (Genesis 2: 5)
(3) AndYHVH ELoKiMformed the Adam, dust from the ground (Genesis 2: 7)
(4) AndYHVH ELoKiMplanted a garden in Eden, at the east (Genesis 2: 8)
(5) AndYHVH ELoKiMcaused to sprout from the ground every (Genesis 2: 9)
(6)YHVH ELoKiMtook the Adam and placed him in the Garden (Genesis 2: 15)
(7) AndYHVH ELoKiMcommanded on the Adam saying (Genesis2: 16)
(8)YHVH ELoKiMsaid it is not good for the Adam to be alone (Genesis 2: 18)
(9) AndYHVH ELoKiMformed from the ground every beast (Genesis 2: 19)
(10) AndYHVH ELoKiMcast a deep sleep on the Adam (Genesis 2: 21)
(11)YHVH ELoKiMbuilt the side that He had taken from Adam (Genesis 2: 22)
(12) The Serpent was cunning…thatYHVH ELoKiMhad made (Genesis 3: 2)
(13)They head the voice ofYHVH ELoKiMwalking in the Garden (Genesis 3: 8)
(14) Adam and his wife hid fromYHVH ELoKiMamong the trees (Genesis 3: 8)
(15) AndYHVH ELoKiMcalled the Adam saying where are you (Genesis 3: 9)
(16) AndYHVH ELoKiMtold the woman what have you done (Genesis 3: 13)
(17) YHVH ELoKiM told the serpent because you have done this (Genesis 3: 14)
(18) AndYHVH ELoKiMmade to Adam and his wife garments (Genesis 3: 21)
(19) AndYHVH ELoKiMsaid behold, Adam has become like (Genesis 3: 22)
(20) AndYHVH ELoKiMsent him out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3: 23)
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In all these sites the the Attributes appear SIDE BY SIDE, never alone.:

4: When and where was Eden formed?

To see that, let’s look at the introductory verses: :

“These are the histories of the Heavens and the Earth
When they were re-created,
On the Day thatYHVH ELoKiM
Made Earth and Heavens
And there was no shrub of the field was yet on Earth,
not even rain….”
(Genesis 2: 4-5)

How many histories the World has?
“These are the histories…” Hence the world has at least two histories. How?
The answer is given by the verse. It says that YHVH ELKM “re-created” “Earth and Heavens,” in reverse order to Chapter One. .
Whereas Chapter One says that ELoKiM created ‘The Heavens and the Earth’ in that order,
Chapter Two says that YHVH ELoKiM ‘re-created’ ‘Earth and Heavens,’ in reverse direction.
Hence the World indeed has two ‘histories’:
One ‘forwards’ from ‘Heavens to Earth,’ created by ELoKiM
The second ‘backwards,’ from ‘Earth to Heavens’  ‘re-created’ by YHVH ELoKiM.
What exactly happened?


5: YHVH ELoKiM Consolidated the World

They flew backwards
There is only one way to reconcile these verses.
At first the world was created by ELKM, acting awesomely alone, as described in Chapter One

Then, as stated at the end of Chapter One, YHVH entered our world, to join ELKM in creating Adam.
Then, holding Wing against Wing, like two Cherubs in Love,YHVH ELKM ‘flew backwards’ over the entire CREATION, from the Sixth to the Beginning consolidating it by their Love and Oneness. Henceforth it would not falter.

Thus they flew
From the Sixth to the Fifth,
From the Fifth to the Fourth,
From the Fourth to the Third,
From the Third to the Second and the First Day
Re-creating and consolidating the entire World in their Oneness, so that it “would not falter.”

We would say: CREATION rewind!
It means that henceforth the World sails safely to the shores of the Eternal Sabbath AS LONG AS YHVH DWELLS IN IT.
If we, Mankind, do not keep YHVH in our heart, She would fly away and leave us in the hands of ELKM alone. What would we do then, without our DEFENSE in the Heavenly Court?

This story is told in the Psalm that the Levite Choir used to chant in the Holy Temple on every sixth day of the week.
As you may know, on each day the week, the choir choose a ‘Psalm for the day’ that describes the events that happened on that day in Genesis.
The Psalm selected for the “sixth day of the week” says:
“YHVH will have reigned, He will have donned grandeur.
He will have donned might and girded Himself,
Even the world was CONSOLIDATED so that it should not falter…”
(Psalm 93)</font size>

In this Psalm, King David praises YHVH for coming to ‘reign over the world’ and ‘consolidate’ it, so that ‘it would not falter.’ Since this had happened at the junction between our Sixth Day and the Sabbath, there is no wonder that the Levite Choir chose to chant it on the Sixth day of the week.

We also repeat it on each Friday evening at the last moment before the entering of our Sabbath.

6: On what Day was Eden formed?

Having re-created the World and consolidating it,
the Attributes YHVH ELoKiM ‘formed’ the Garden of Eden.
When exactly did this happen? The verse answers this in details.

The Garden of Eden was ‘formed,’ the verse says, on a Day when there was no grass, no shrub, no tree and not even rain on Earth. What Day could this be? It must be the THIRD Day, after the separation of Dry Land from the Sea, before there was any seed of life on Earth, not even shrub or tree (Rabbi Yohanan, the Talmud.)

Imagine – the Garden of Eden, full of beautiful Trees full of fruits, was FORMED before there was any grass, shrub or tree on Earth, not even rain!

Thus, on one hand, Chapter One says that Adam was MADE by ELKM on the Sixth Day.
On the other hand, Chapter Two says that Adam was FORMED by YHVH ELKM on the Third Day.

There is no contradiction here. It is one story. As the two Attributes YHVH ELKM flew over CREATION and recreated it going backwards from the Sixth  to Day One, they ‘parked’ on the THIRD Day and FORMED in it the Garden of Eden. This happened indeed BEFORE THERE WAS ANY SEED OF LIFE ON EARTH, for Adam trial.

Thus the Eden trial took place BEFORE there was any seeding of life on real Earth. .

7: Forming Vs Making and Creating

The key for understanding  all that lies in the three Hebrew terms: ‘create,’ make’ and ‘form.’
While Chapter One is written with the term ‘create,’ Chapter Two uses ‘form’ and the story of Cain and Hevel on Earth uses ‘make.’  Thus the story of Eden says:

”And YHVH ELoKiM FORMED the Adam from the dust of the ground…” (Genesis 2: 7.)
And YHVH ELoKiM planted a garden east of Eden,

and He placed in there the Adam whom He had FORMED….” (Genesis 2:15)

What is the difference between CREATE, FORM and MAKE? In short,
(1) To CREATE, Beriah, is to conceive an idea in general terms
(2) To FORM, Yezirah, is to plan how to implement it in details
(3) To MAKE, Assiah, is to materialize the idea in the real world

For example: When I would build a house I would follow these three phases:

(1) I’d first ‘conceive’ the general idea of the house on my mind: would it be residential or commercial? Would it be small or large? What would be its style? At this stage I entertain the house on the level of ‘the World of Creating,’ ‘Beriah.’

(2) Next I‘d engage an architect who’d draw a master plan for the house in details. At this stage, the house is in the “World of Forming,”  Yetzirah.

(3) Next, I’d engage a contractor to build the house ground, in the real world, in the “World of Assiah.”

Every human endeavor would pass through these three stages. </font size>


A Virtual Garden and a virtual Adam
Hence when the text says that the  Garden of Eden was FORMED on the THIRD Day it means that it was formed only in the World of Planning, Yezirah. It was on a “blue print” or, we would say, in a virtual World or on a computer’s screen. Adam and his wife were formed and placed there for their trial.

Had they won, they would have stayed in Eden forever, never been exposed to the evil that reigns on Earth.

And the trial said that if they would loose, they would be driven out of Eden and appear on real Earth later on the Sixth Day! It means, if they lose their trial in Eden, Life would be seeded on the THIRD Day so that Mankind would appear on real Earth on the Sixth Day before the Sabbath.  .

Eden’s Gates
Tradition describes the Garden of Eden as  a ‘bubble’ hovering the Holy Land (Rabienu Bahyee) . It opens to the world through  two GATES:

One Gate opens to Mt. Moriah, the site of the Holy of Holy Chamber, the space between the Cherub’s Wings.  would later stand.
The second Gate opens into the Cave of the Patriarchs in the city of Hebron; where Adam and Eve and the patriarchs Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Lea are buried.

So do not seek Eden in the lost sands of Mesopotamia or in southern Iraq. Look for Eden, rather, in the space above the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The virtues of Eden
Eden had many (virtual) trees in it, among them the “Tree of Life” that renders eternal life. Whoever lives there is protected from pains, maladies, and death. It is a place where the Heavenly Court YHVH ELKM showers Love and Compassion, where everything is given free.  Whoever lives there would enter the next Day of CREATION, the Eternal Sabath, bypassing real  Earth.


8: The trial of Eden

But there was no completely free life even in Eden.  Adam and his wife were placed there for a trial as it says: :

“And YHVH ELoKiM took the Adam
and He placed him in the Garden of Eden
To till it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15)

Adam had to EARN their living even in Eden. That is understood, considering that ELKM the JUDGE participated in the  FORMING of the Garden.  ELKM would never give something without demanding something back in return, for a trial. Thus Adam and his wife were expected to till the Garden and ‘preserve it. These words refer to spiritual tasks rather than to manual ones. (Only on earth these words would gain a real meaning of tilling the earth by the sweat of our work, while the women would labor hard for giving birth to children .)’

What sort of spiritual demands would Adam abide in Eden? Some commentaries say that “to ill it” refers to ‘positive Commandments’ (to do something) whereas “to preserve it” refers to ‘negative ones’ (do not do something). At this point, of the story, no commandment is yet given explicitly. .

But all agree that the Eden trial was ‘easy’ to win: only One Commandment (Rashi) which was the prohibition to eat from the forbidden fruit.  It was easy to win, avoid transgressing just one Commandment, but also easy to lose.  Once you’ve lost it by transgressing just one Commandment you have lost the right to live there.

But as we’ll soon see, there were other Commandments given to Adam in Eden, among them ADULTERY.  So when the woman cohabited with the Serpent, She has violated two Commandments: IDOLATRY (by not listening to the CREATOR) and ADULTERY.


9: Why was Eden Formed?

Why did YHVH ELKM place Adam and his wife in Eden?  Why not directly on Earth?

You can say that Eden was a sort of a ‘virtual Heavenly Womb’ where Adam and the woman were formed, before leaving it  to be  MADE on real Earth. But why?
The answer is obvious: Eden was formed on the THIRD Day as an option for the humans to go into the Sabbath without ever living on real Earth.  It was formed as an option for the humans to spare life on real earth.

You can say that Eden was a concession of the Heavenly Court to allow Adam to move on to the Sabbath without facing Evil on Earth.  This is why YHVH ELKM told Adam: “the moment you eat from this Tree of Knowing Good and Evil you shall die.” Eating the fruit would drive them out of Eden to face Death on earth.

It makes sense. With the advent of the Merciful YHVH in the newly formed Heavenly Court (of YHVH ELKM) that gave Adam the option to avoid the Angel of Death (and evil in general)  on Earth.