ADULTERY-2 Building the concept of the Primordial Sin

Noahide Seven Commandments Torah classes


© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner

ADULTERY-2/Building the concept of the Primordial Sin

Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
1: Forming Adam and his Soul in Eden

 When you ask the average person on the street what was the Primordial Sin? You’d get the answer: “Sex, of course.”
How inaccurate!

We have to be careful when we interpret Biblical texts and messages. It impacts people’s life style and outlook on life.
Generations upon generations have been raised to believe that sex itself is a sin, something despicable. Celibacy has been seen as  the preferred relationship with our CREATOR.  The Psalm verse “in sin my mother gave birth to me,” has received the wrong interpretation that sex itself is sin.

But the Primordial Sin is something else.
Let’s remember that Eden is a virtual Garden where everything is FORMED as a ‘shape’ or a prototype of everything on Earth. Thus, Adam was FORMED there as a ‘shape’ or a prototype of all Mankind. His Sin likewise is the prototype of all sins. It can’t be just sex.

In fact, as we’ll learn, the story of Eden introduces Sin in a gradual fashion, step by step. Sin is more than a mere transgression of the law. Sin depends on our age, our libido, our attractions and our personalities. A child’s sin is different from the sin of a teenager; and the latter is different from the sin of an adult. We grow in life and and change, and so does our sin.

In the story of Eden, as we’ll soon see, Adam is presented as being born, raised and mature in the Garden. As he grows and changes,  so does his sin grows and changes and takes on different meaning. . At the end of the story we’ll be able to identify at least seven ‘levels’ of Sin, encompassing our entire life from birth to death .


2: Let’s keep Adam home

After describing ‘when and where’ was Eden’ formed,’ the Torah describes the ‘forming’ of Adam.Eden, as we’ve seen,is like a Heavenly Womb where the two Attributes,  YHVH ELKM, flew together like two Loving Cherubs, Wing against Wing, to  ‘form’ their child Adam. Never again they would appear so close to each other, as they appear here. .

So the virtual Adam was formed in the virtual Garden on the THIRD Day of CREATION, before any seeding of life on real Earth and before there was even rain.

With the advent of the Merciful YHVH in the Heavenly Court of YHVH ELKM, Adam was given a chance to stay in this ‘Uterus’ forever, going from there directly into the Sabbath. (Without YHVH in the Court, had ELKM alone  made Adam, Adam would have appeared on Earth without ever been in Eden.)

It is YHVH who wished to spare us the trials and tribulations that come from facing the Evil on real Earth.  She would have kept us in the Heavenly Uterus forever, under her Loving   care..


3: Forming Adam

Let’s read the forming of Adam in Eden as follows:

”And YHVH ELoKiM  FORMED the Adam from the dust of the ground,
And He blew (singular form of the verb) in his nostrils a breath of life, Neshama,
And Adam became a Nefesh Chayah (a living soul)…” (Genesis 2: 7)

Adam is formed from the dust, like a “dummy” (mMdrash) but his soul was formed when YHVH ELKM blew His Breath of Life into Adam’s nostrils, meaning by a sort of Heavenly Kiss. Note that the verse emphasizes  His Breath, inferring YHVH ELKM’s Oneness in Heavenly Love.

 Our body is made of dust, from the staff that Stars are made of, yet our soul is a breath from the CREATOR’S lips. The text uses three Hebrew terms for Adam’s soul : Chayah, Nefesh, Neshamah. What’s the differences?

The rabbis said: think of a ‘glass maker’ blowing his breath into a glass tube to form a glass vessel.  YHVH ELKM too blew His Breath into Adam’s body creating three segments:
The Chayah (‘life’) is the air pressed farther down the tube
The Nefesh (‘breath’) is the air occupying the middle of the tube
The Neshama (‘breathing,’ soul) is the air closer to the blower’s lips

Each of these segments ‘controls’ a particular part of our body:
The  Chayah  controls the basic element of life,  the cellular functions , the nucleus, the DNA. We share the Chayah with all   living creatures, large or small like viruses, bacteria and vegetation.

The Nefesh controls our bodily functions, our heart, kidney, bloodstream, that we share with the animal kingdom.

The  Neshama connects our soul to the CREATOR’S Lips.  We do not share it with the animals.

You can say that
The Chayah controls the basic elements of life introduced on the THIRD Day
The Nefesh controls the animals created on the FORTH, FIFTH and SIXTH Days
The Neshama controls the soul of Adam, created on real Earth before the Sabbath.

These three souls’ levels form an  ‘Umbilical Cord’ that connects us to our CREATOR’S Lips.


4: Sin damages our connection to our CREATOR’S lips

Why does the Torah describe our soul at the beginning of Eden story? To tell us that SIN SEVERS OR DAMAGES OUR CONNECTION TO OUR FATHER (AND MOTHER) IN HEAVENS. We need to think about this aspect of Sin before committing it.

 Some sins would stain or damage the Chayah,
Some sins would stain or damage the Nefesh,
some sins would stain or damage the Neshama.

Hence the basic notion of sin is a malady or damage that needs healing and repair. For that, the Torah prescribes different offerings: Guilt, Sin, Peace, Burnt, and more. They all are accompanied by confession and repenting and asking forgiveness. We’ll learn in due course how all that comes out of the story.

Next to the forming of Adam, the Torah describes  the Garden with its (virtual) Trees. Remember, there were not yet any tree on Earth, not even rain.


5: Many good trees in the Garden

What sorts of trees were in the (virtual) Garden?

Formed Trees
Interestingly, although the Torah does not elaborate on the trees in Eden, today we can ‘discover’ their names hidden in the text.  Our Biblical Computer Code helps us to find them.

As it turns out, the Code discovers name of score of trees hidden in the text. The common thread is that they are all known to grow in the Holy Land, such as pomegranate, olive, vine, fig, palm, and more.

That by itself is not a surprise, since the Garden Hovers over the Holy Land of Israel.

Sometimes I think that since our generation is the first ever to discover these Trees, it seems that Moses is speaking directly to us.  As if he knew that a day would come and humanity would be able to get his hidden message.  That day is our time, our day.  Moses is speaking to us.  No one else has read this message over the thousands of years that separate us.

6: Two special Trees

Two Trees stood out:

“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
(Genesis 2:9)

The “Tree of Life,” as you know, protects Eden’s inhabitants from the Angel of Death.
The “Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil” endows whoever eats of it with KNOWLEDGE of ‘Good and EVIL.’
Let’s pay attention to these terms: Knowledge, and Evil.

EVIL in the Torah, as we’ve already learned, is anything that YHVH hates.
KNOWLEDGE, ‘Daat’ in Hebrew, refers to specific type of Wisdom: AN INTIMATE AWERENESS of something.
Like in the verse:“And Adam knew (daat) his wife and she conceived.” He knew her intimately, passionately, not theoretically.
Hence the name of the Tree, “Knowledge of good and evil” refers to intimate, first hand, practical awareness of Evil and Death, something that Adam COULD NOT perceive in Eden, living under the Tree of Life.

The key is the three different terms for Wisdom in Hebrew:
Chokhma: is a theoretical, general grasp f a concept
Binah: is a detailed, theoretical, awareness of the Chokhma
Daat: is the practical, technical implication of the above. </font size=2>

Hence prior to eating from the forbidden “Tree of Knowledge (daat) Good and evil,” Adam (and his woman) could have no practical ‘KNOWLEDGE” of Evil, sorrow, pains and death. Evil did not exist in Eden, under the Tree of Life.

Adam, at that point in the story, could KNOW Evil only if he would be driven out to live on Earth.


6: Till the ground it and preserve it!

The trees in the Garden were beautiful and “good for eating,” but they needed ‘cultivation.’ Adam was placed there to ‘till it and preserve it’ (Genesis 2: 15)
Since the trees were virtual and miraculous, they did not require manual labor to survive. Adam needed to till the ground and preserve the Garden FOR HIMSELF. He had to invest ‘spiritual work’ to ‘till the ground and ‘preserve’ the Garden.
Hence there was no free lunch in Eden. Adam was placed there for a trial.
And the trial comes soon:

7: Our son, do not eat from this poisonous fruit!

Soon as Adam is placed in the Garden, the ‘Parent’ YHVH ELKM (in Oneness) warns him:

“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,
For on the Day that you eat of it YOU SHALL DIE!”.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Now the ‘tilling’ and the ‘preserving’ of the Garden takes a shape.
Like toddler left to play in his parent’s garden, the parent warns their child Adam: ‘Feel free to play everywhere in the Garden, and you may even eat of its tasty fruits. But please, our son, stay away from this one! For the moment you eat of it, something bad would happen to you! You may die!”

Like parents who warn their toddler son: “Johnny, you may play everywhere in the backyard, but please do not touch this poison ivy, lest you get an allergic reaction or even die!”
Jonny can’t tell what allergy is, or what death is, yet he stays away from the poison ivy because he trusts his parents. He would certainly would not like to hurt them by disobeying their advice

Similarly, Adam at that stage could not KNOW what ‘Die’ is, ON AN INTIMATE, PRACTICAL level. He had never seen it in Eden. Yet he trusts his Heavenly PARENT(S) and would not eat the forbidden fruit. Because his love for his Parents, he wouldn’t hurt them by disobeying their advice.

And by this warning, the Torah introduces a basic notion of Sin as violation of our FATHER IN HEAVENS’ ADVISE.

Our FATHER in Heavens
From here comes the notion of YHVH ELoKiM as our FATHER (and MOTHER) in HEAVENS, “aba and ima” in Kabala.
You do not need to be a Messiah to consider yourself a Child of G-d. Every human being can claim that title.


8: What aspects of YHVH could Adam perceive in Eden?

How much could Adam comprehend of the Merciful YHVH in Eden?
We should realize that in a world bereaved of any sorrow, sickness or death, there is no real meaning for MERCY and COMPASSION. If so, what features of YHVH could Adam KNOW intimately, in Eden?
From all of YHVH ‘features’, Adam could comprehend in Eden were (1) YHVH Forgiveness (2) YHVH Holiness. This consideration will play a role later in the story.

9: Sin is violating the FATHER-KING Command

As Adam ‘grows’ in Eden, he wouldn’t listen to the parent’s advice anymore. His ‘self-consciousness’ and ‘free will’ would prompt him to say ‘no’ to his Parents. He needs a greater AUTHORITY to scare him away from danger.
The Heavenly Parent now COMMANDS him not to eat it from the forbidden fruit as it says:

“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,
for on the Day that you eat of it you shall surely die!”
(Genesis 2:16-17)

The rabbis noted that the word “commanded” here, followed by “saying,” is superfluous. Hence YHVH ELKM added a Command.

Giving a Command infers AUTHORITY. It can be the authority of the Parent, or the KING.

Johnny, no more a toddler, wouldn’t listen to his parent’s warning about the poison ivy. The Parent try to use a fierce tone of authority, yet they know that Johnny would not be really scare of them, being aware of how much they love him.
The Parents therefore send Johnny to a school outside home, where he would meet a greater authority, like that of the teacher, the principle, or the KING.

Now Adam stays away from eating the fruit because he listens to the advice of his FATHER in Heavens, as well as the Command of his KING, in short: his FATHER-KING, avinu malkeinu.

A new level of Sin
With this, the Torah introduced another level of the concept of Sin.
Sin is not only something that damages our connection to our CREATOR’ lips
Not only a dismissal of our FATHER’S advice,
But also a transgression of our KING’S Command.

There is a name for such a transgression of our KING In Heaven’s Command. It is called IDOLATRY. As you recall from our IDOLATRY class, violating G-d’s KINGSHIP is a rebellion, IDOLATROUS act.
Thus the order about the forbidden fruit is only a specific case of a larger issue: IDOLATRY. Adam would not bow to idols of stone and wood in Eden, not would he worship the celestial bodies in Eden. Such foolishness is beyond him. But he can, and would commit IDOLATRY by disregarding his FATHER-KING’S Command.

Thus, throughout the year we refer to our CREATOR in our prayers and blessings as “The KING Of The Universe,” melech haolam. But once a year, on the annual anniversary of Adam creation, the Rosh Hashanah, we change our prayers and refer to Him as our FATHER-KING in Heavens (avinu-malkeinu.) Now you know why. </font size>

10: Adding the Six Commandments

Facing the KING, there is no wonder that Adam would receive the Laws of the Land, besides IDOLATRY. This is why tradition holds that in the word “Commanded on the Adam” hides the entire set of the Commandments that Adam received in Eden:

Johnny at school learns not only about the poison ivy and the obligation to listen to authority. He learns some rules and laws of the country, as a preparation to the time that he would exit school and join the outside real world.

11: Which of the Six Commandment was relevant to Eden?

In fact, out of the Six given in Eden, only ONE was relevant to Adam at that point. He COULD commit IDOLATRY by disobeying his FATHER-KING.
The rest of the Six were given to him only as potential.
Adam could not transgress ADULTERY in Eden, as long he lived alone.
Adam could not commit BLOODSHED in Eden, under the Tree of Life.
Adam could not commit THEFT in Eden, where there was no private ownership.
Adam could not commit INJUSTICE in Eden, where there was no society.
Adam would certainly not commit BLASPHEMY in Eden, living so close to the FATHER-KING.

Thus out of the Six Commandments, Adam could violate at that stage only IDOLATRY. He would be able to transgress also ADULTERY, when the woman would be born to live by his side.
The rest of the Commandments would become meaningful ON A PRACTICAL LEVEL only on Earth.

This throws a new light on the Commandments.
Adam’s growing in Eden is repeated by each one of us on earth.

  • When we are young, living in our parent’s home, the only Commandment we can violate is IDOLATRY, by disobeying our parent’s advices.
  • At puberty our libido changes and love, fidelity, sexual perversions and ADULTERY become central to our lives.
  • At manhood the issue of BLOODSHED surfaces.
  • At maturity, the issue of THEFT to its kinds surfaces.
  • And with it, INJUSTICE and CIVIL ORDER surface too.
  • Then BLASPHAMY and SANCTIFICATION of God’s Name becomes meaningful. Yes, like Adam in Eden, we too grow on Earth along with the basic Six Commandments. </font size>