ADULTERY-4 (2017) /Marriage and Adultery


© 2018 by Rabbi Dr.  Zvi Aviner

ADULTERY-4/Marriage and Adultery

”And YHVH ELoKiM Commanded on the Adam” (Genesis 2:

1: The Wise Adam

Last class we left Adam as a 10-13 y growing boy whose libido and interest are diverted away from his Parent’s home , towards  the outside world.  He swallows books about Nature and Science, besides History and other Social Sciences. He is logical. His ‘ Parents’ bring him the creatures of Eden for naming.  To the Parents’  satisfaction, Adam is able to discern between the creatures and give them the ‘right’ names, the very ones the CREATOR had intended for them.  He even names the Attributes ELKM and YHVH.

We’ve also noted that Naming is the first step of Wisdom and Science.  Adam at that stage is a wise creature, a Homo Sapience, He knows Right from Wrong, but not yet Good from Evil (Maimonides.) .To know Good from Evil, he would have to eat from the forbidden Tree Of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  .

The Primordial Sin in Eden , we’ve said, is the prototype of all sins.  So far Sin for Adam in Eden is:

(a ) something that severs his  connection to the CREATOR’S lips,

(b) violation of the Heavenly FATHER  Advice

(c) transgression of his FATHER-KING Command

(d) something wrong and not right, something illogical. .

But Adam continues to grow and his perception of sin is about to change.


2 : Forming “The Woman”

The next verse says that YHVH ELKM saw that Adam was lonely.  Adam resembled, at that stage, a boy entering ‘puberty’. With the flash of new hormones in his bloodstream,  his libido changes.  His heart turns from the outside world into ‘seeking a spouse.’  He longs for  a spouse, not unlike ELKM in the story of CREATION  who ‘Longed’ to meet His ‘Bride’ the khalah before making Adam (see our IDOLATRY classes.)

Longing is important, for  without it Adam would not seek YHVH.

Seeing his loneliness, the Parents FORMED him a wife, as it says

“And YHVH ELoKiM said,
it is not good that Adam should be alone,
I’ll make him a help to match him…

And YHVH EloKiM caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept
And He took one of his SIDE and closed up the flesh in its place

And YHVH ELKM built a woman out of the SIDE which He had taken from Adam
And He brought her to Adam

And Adam said: This is now a bone from my bones, a flesh of my flesh
She shall be called a woman for she was taken from Man” (Genesis 2: 21-23)

A woman from his side
The verse says that YHVH ELoKiM formed a ‘woman’ from Adam’s side as a ‘helper against him.’
The Hebrew words for ‘side,’ tzelah, is often mistranslated as ‘a rib’.  indeed, the ‘side’ of the chest are the ribs. But tzela refers to any ‘side’ like  in the verse “the tzela of the Tabernacle” (Numbers) which clearly refers to the Tabernacle’s side or wall.

Some say that Adam was originally formed hermaphrodite, having a body of a female and a male combined. In that case, Adam is a mirror of YHVH ELKM as One.  The CREATOR then split Adam to a female and a male. Today we would prefer another explanation saying  that Adam’s origin genome, XY, was ‘split’ into the female XX In any case we need to remember that Eden was a virtual  Garden prior to living on Earth.

The idea that “the woman” was formed from Adam’s side matches the notion that YHVH ELKM flew sIde-by-side in Eden.

Note that she is not yet called  Eve.  Her name would change to Eve only after the story of Eden, when they lived on Earth.


With the advent of ‘The Woman” side by side with Adam, the Torah immediately introduces MARRIAGE and its opposite, ADULTERY as it says

Therefore Man leaves his father
and his mother
and cleaves to his wife
and they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24)


The words “Therefore Man leaves his father and mother, cleaves to his wife and they become One flesh” introduces Marriage.  “One flesh” here refers to the One CREATOR (Talmud) who sanctifies the Marriage.  Adam and the Woman were married to each other.  Henceforth  Marriage is not a mere social contract between male and a female. It is, rather, a sacred institute from Eden.

You can say that the purpose of marriage is to create Eden on Earth.

Seven forbidden sexual relationships
Besides Marriage, the same verse also introduces its opposite, ADULTERY. In fact it introduces seven sexual prohibitions.

Man should (sexually) leave
1. “His father” and his father’s wife (even if she is not your mother)
2. “And his mother” (and her mother and sister)
3. And his sisters (from his mother)
4. And his daughters (and grand-daughters)
5. “And cleaves to his wife” (not to someone else’ wife)
6. “So that they become one flesh,” (Marriage is performed to produce another flesh. Hence no homosexuality

7.  “One flesh,” no bestiality.

ADULTERY becomes relevant
Earlier we’ve said that when YHVH ELKM Commanded on Adam (not to eat from the Forbidden Tree) He also gave Adam the Six Commandments:  IDOLATRY, ADULTERY, BLOODSHED, THEFT, INJUSTICE AND BLASPHEMY. Out of the Six, only IDOLATRY had a real meaning for Adam.  He could have violated it by ignoring his FATHER-KING  Command.  The rest of the Commandments remained dormant, potential, theoretical (khokhma and binah).

Now with the  advent of the Woman by his side, ADULTERY too  became relevant to their life in Eden.

The married Woman could commit ADULTERY , like cohabiting with the Serpent

Adam too could commit a sort of ADULTERY with the putative Lilith, the beautiful female counterpart of the male Serpent. His sin would be in that case Sexual Promiscuity.

4: A new level of sin

The Torah does not mention LOVE between Adam and the Woman.  He felt lonely, and she filled that need.  The first time Love is mentioned in the text would be later on Earth, when Adam “knew his wife” and she bore him Cain.  “Knew” refers to practical, passionate, real love (Midrash)   Love therefore  is manifested along with the first PROCREATION, with having children.   As long they lived in Eden they had marital, sexual  relationship and PLEASURE as the word ‘eden’ implies.  And they provided company to each other.

Has the notion of Sin changed  with the advent of the Woman?   .In respect to ADULTERY, Sin breaks the most precious bond between two human individuals.  ADULTERY appears here as the first sin” between Man and his fellowman,” breaking up another man’s family. This Sin appears in Eden much before the advent of other sins between Man and his fellowman,  like BLOODSHED, THEFT and INJUSTICE. This is not incidental since Marriage represents the most basic, deep bond between two human beings.

But can you say this also about our relationship with our CREATOR? With the advent of ADULTERY, Sin takes on the new meaning of something bad we do that may interrupt the Heavenly Bond of YHVH ELKM.  Sin between Man and his fellowman would shatter the Heavenly Court, to our detrimental.


5: The ‘evolution’ in the perception  of YHVH

As we proceed on to learn about the Primordial Sin itself, the eating of the Forbidden Fruit, we need to remember that it would “open their eyes” and they would  see things they had not seen before.

What exactly did they see after the sin? We’ll learn it in details.  But the most important aspect of what they saw is a new and clearer perception of YHVH.  Let’s explain this point now, so we would read the text easier. ,

Back In Genesis Chapter One, ELKM appears alone 32 times, giving orders.  At the end of the Sixth Day He would have terminated the world, like He had done to numerous other worlds before.  This time, however,  He decided to give our world a chance to survive and even see the next Day, the Sabbath.  He therefore “invited” another Attribute, YHVH, the Attribute of Mercy, to come over and be a ‘partner’ (shituf)  in the ruling of the world.  YHVH, who Dwells in the Sabbath, entered our world, observed it and said to ELKM, so tp speak,  “How can I rule your world, where I have no Place to Dwell and no heart to enter?” Indeed, would the spider ever perceive Mercy and Compassion and Forgiveness? Would the Crocodile or th elion or the snake do that? Of course not,

So ELKM said “Let Us Make and Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”  The CREATOR does not have any Form and Image, The verse only says that ELKM had a “form and image”  of an ideal Adam on  his mind (Rashi)  one who follows ELKM Laws and also accept YHVH in his heart.

It means that ELKM would not make Adam full of MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS.  This is not what ELKM does, as He follows the Absolute Justice.  But ELKM would and did  make Adam in His Image (Genesis ) while  carving out a room in Adam’s heart ready and capable to accept YHVH, something He had never done to any other creature before.

It would be up to Adam to identify YHVH, accept Her into his heart, and unite Her with ELKM.  it is a learning process, something that fits Adam’s smart mind.

YHVH And ELKM would guide Adam in this life long learning.  The Parent(s) would offer a helping hand to Adam to walk along with and win his judgement . Remember, no escape from a Judgment in this world, created by the JUDGE ELKM.

Adam would therefore grow into the full awareness of YHVH.

The first step was to form Adam in Eden, under YHVH ELKM.  In Eden, Adam (and his wife) could know the Parent YHVH ELKM as they flew “Wing against Wing,” never alone. There was no way Adam could comprehend YHVH alone, or ELKM alone,  in Eden.

He could not comprehend YHVH’s MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS in a world protected by the Tree of Life, where the Angel of Death had no access, where no one suffered any sickness, natural calamity or war.

He could also not know ELKM in full power, since he never encountered measure for measure, “eat and be eaten” in Eden.

Eden is the place where each of the Attributes surrendered its power in a concession to the other. ELKM listened to Mercy, and Mercy listened to ELK.  A perfect background to the introduction of Marriage.

Teaching us that in order to create a n Eden in our family life, the groom and the bride each needs  to surrender some of his and her power.  They need to converse (nimlach) with each other, so that He would be king (melech) and she a queen.




Read also: “Genesis Vs. Science, Can They Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at