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The First Human Beings and The Garden Of Eden

The First Human Beings and The Garden Of Eden


The First Man and Woman

Adam (“man of earth”), was the name of the first human-being whom G‑d formed out of soil taken from all parts of the earth. Then, G‑d created the first woman, Eve, to be Adam’s wife.

G‑d’s Blessing

G‑d blessed Adam and Eve, saying: “Be fruitful and multiply, cultivate the earth, and control it. Rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth!”

The Garden of Eden

And Adam and Eve lived happily in “The Garden of Delight” (Gan Eden), which was the best part of the entire globe. They did not have to exert themselves to get their food, for everything was aplenty in the Garden of Eden.

The Serpent

But the happiness of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was not to last long. For, together with them, lived also the Serpent which was shrewder than all the other animals. The Serpent begrudged G‑d’s blessing given to Adam and Eve. He envied them the power to rule over the creatures of the world. He, therefore, devised a scheme by which to make the first human beings fall.

The First Commandment

When G‑d gave Adam permission to eat the fruits of all the trees in the Garden of Eden, He warned him not to eat of the fruit of the “Etz Hadaath,” the “Tree of Knowledge” of good and evil, which stood in the middle of the Garden. Its fruits were very beautiful. As long as Adam did not eat of it, he was like an angel who does only good and lives forever. The fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge,” however, had the power to fill a man with the desire for both good and evil.

The Plot

The Serpent, knowing this fact, based his plan on it. He met Eve alone in the Garden and asked her cunningly: “Is it true that G‑d really told you, ‘You shall not eat the fruit of every tree in the Garden?’”

“Oh, no,” answered the woman. “We may eat the fruit of all the trees in the Garden. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the Garden, G‑d has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor touch it, lest you die!’” But the serpent said: “You will not die. G‑d knows very well that when you eat the fruit of this tree your eyes will be opened, and you will be like G‑d, Who knows both good and evil.”

The First Sin

Eve looked at the tree. Its fruit looked good to eat, pleasant and attractive. But her heart warned her not to give up eternal life for the sake of power and pleasure. She was torn between her desire to eat and her fear of death, and she could not resist the temptation. She not only ate of the fruit herself, but she also gave some of it to Adam, so that he would have to share her fate.

Their Excuse

Suddenly, Adam and Eve heard G‑d’s voice in the Garden, and they were afraid. They hid behind the trees and bushes. But G‑d called to Adam: “Where are you?” Adam replied: “I heard Your voice in the Garden and became afraid.”

“Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you not to eat from?” said G‑d. Adam replied: “I am not guilty. The woman You have given me as a companion gave me some fruit of the tree, and I ate it.”

Then G‑d asked Eve why she had done so, and she too had an excuse, saying that the Serpent had tricked her and made her eat of the Tree of Good and Evil.

The Punishment

Then G‑d turned to the Serpent and said: “Because you have done this, cursed are you from among all creatures, and from among all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall walk, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.”

To the woman G‑d said: “Your pain and your trouble will be very great; you shall bear children in pain.”

To Adam G‑d said: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree which I commanded you not to eat of, cursed be the ground for your sake; with labor you shall eat of it all the days of your life. it will cause thorns and thistles to grow for you, and you shall eat the herbs of the field. In the sweat of thy face you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you shall return.”

Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

Then G‑d drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden: where they had had everything they needed and desired without trouble. Adam and Eve now had to work; they had to plow the soil in order to get food for themselves.

From Our People by Jacob Isaacs published and copyrighted by Kehot Publication Society 1946-1948
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Rabbi Yossi Grossbaum, for Folsom, CA November 13, 2017

This question is discussed here Reply

David Harold Chester Petach Tikva, Israel November 13, 2017

Shawb, obviously they did not know about this law because it did not yet exist. We cannot think that the patriarchs and earlier people in the Bible were so physically similar to ourselves. Their life-times were much longer and presumably this means they were more healthy and perfect in other ways too.

There is a lack of explanation as from where did these other people come, who were expected to beware of Cain due to his special mark and not kill him. This covers you question since it could not necessarily refer to siblings. Reply

Shawb 34209 September 24, 2017

How did Adam and Eve's children not violate the commandment in Leviticus 18 in regards to Immoral relations with Brother & Sisters? Reply

Anonymous NY September 13, 2017

How can this not be true? Reply

David Chester Petach Tikva July 14, 2017

Blessings after Meals and Adam's Punishment There is a conflict of ideas. After a meal we thank G-d for it and we say that "He provides food for all" and also that there is plenty available (shefa). We also say that wild animals thirst and lack food, which is also in opposite to Adam's punishment. Is there an explanation for something that happened after the expulsion from Eden? Reply

Gary Taylor Belfast Ireland July 10, 2017

Is there any insights to the theory that Adam and Chavah were clothed in light.This being the reason they did not know they were naked until they sinned and lost their mantle when their light went out? I've often wondered when G-d called out to them in the gan edan , where are you? How could they hid from HaShem? Lastly any insight into the skins G-d used to cover them which resulted in the first death in creation. Fascinating subject and a wonderful teaching Jacob Isaacs. Reply

Mike White NYC July 10, 2017

So G-d is doing a collective punishment. We are being punished for something that two people did thousands years ago. It's just doesn't make sense. Where is justice in this? Reply

Glenn Roback Bayside October 15, 2017
in response to Mike White:

This is how I see it. This life isnt a punishment. Its a chance to put your imprint on this world, to matter. As an eternal being in Eden, you have no needs, no challenges. By having everything, you really have nothing. By leaving eden you can suffer tribulations and prevail. You can make a mark in this world.

Now look at Hashem. He wants to love us. How can a being such has Himself, who has everything love? Love is a give and take processes. But we have nothing to give! Only take! So what Hashem had to do was place us in a post Eden world where we can give Him something! Defeat a challenge, give charity to the suffering, work to earn Eden back! Adam didn't ask for Eden. He didn't earn it. But we can! Show G-d you care! Now true love can exist bc now there is give and take! Take G-ds blessing and give back to Him by doing the things that are important to him. Personal sacrifice! Faith in the face of adversity, give and take. These are the requirements of real love. Reply

Natania June 27, 2017

why did Eve have thoughts to even eat the fruit in the first place, if Adam and Eve not yet had a desire to do Evil and only Good until they ate the fruit? Reply

Ma Xiao Zhengzhou, China August 12, 2017
in response to Natania :

Good question.
I'm expecting the answer too. Reply

RevFatha November 15, 2017
in response to Natania :

First, G-d planted the idea in her head when he said not to eat it (I'm a parent, and I know if you tell your kid not to do something, that's exactly she wants to do). Second, the serpent coaxed her using faulty logic and lies. That's why Eve had thoughts ... in the first place. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for March 29, 2017

It is safe to assume that being that Adam and Eve were a couple, if he was expelled, she was expelled along with him. Reply

Elisheva Calif May 3, 2017
in response to Eliezer Zalmanov:

Actually, it's not safe to assume that. If he had not sinned, he would have stayed in the garden. Why would he be punished for not sinning? Makes no sense really. He blames HaShem, "that woman you gave me." She makes "no" excuse and tells HaShem the truth. Reply

Rev March 27, 2017

Was Eve Expelled Genesis 3:23-24 indicates only that "he" and "the man" were expelled - note both are singular and masculine. Where does Genesis Chapter 3 indicate that Eve was expelled from the Garden? Reply

jnelson Newark nj June 7, 2017
in response to Rev:

I agree- Eve was not expelled from the garden. Adam was. Actually, nothing happened when Eve ate the fruit. Their eyes were not opened until Adam ate. Reply

Jay Tompkins Fulton October 4, 2016

The story of the serpent and Adam and Eve has for all of my life has been a mystery. All my life I have encountered small snakes and have never feared them. Once, long ago, I picked up a snake at a golf course and almost petted it. Mom yelled at me for this from a small distance off the green. I was in my early twenties then and still living with my parents. Recently I found a garter snake in a drawer in my bathroom so I picked it up and let it outside. It bit my finger but there was little harm. I have never encountered a larger snake but my thinking is that I would just clap my hands and yell. "Get away!". Yes, I know several stories of encounters with snakes that have been indeed scary. Buy why should I fear any snake? Reply

Aaron Milavec Cincinnati August 4, 2016

Tamar's alternative reading needs to be considered. For an alternative reading of Gen 2-3, see Tamar Frankiel reflections. Her interpretation embraces the need to combine conformity and non-conformity with what G-d has commanded. This is refreshing. See full text at /the-tree-of-knowledge.htm. Reply

peter ny July 9, 2016

interesting It appears the entire story of Adam and Eve is to explain a threshold crossing by humanity into that of sentient beings. It is clearly obvious that humanity evolved from primates and the science trumps any attempt at what holy books try to pass off as in creation. Reply

Anonymous March 17, 2016

When you steal a small thing(Forbidden Apple),you lose a much much larger thing(Garden of Eden). And you have to work (a divine punishment).

In life also small things trip a man & he loses his sight of the larger rewards waiting for him, so be ethical & obey the God. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for February 23, 2016

Adam, and presumably Eve as well, was quite aware of the powers of the Creator, and he had a keen insight to the makings of the Universe. We see this in his ability to name all the creators of the universe based on their spiritual makeup. So while he may not have ever witnessed death in actuality, he could very well have been familiar with the concept. Reply

Teresa Indiana February 19, 2016

My first question was, and is, did they (Adam and Chavah) have any idea what death was? as Gershon below indicated with respect to their awareness in newness of creation. If death were not a part of the earth or Gan Edan, they would have no idea what the word even meant, would they? Like now, if you tell a child *hot*, and he/she has never experienced *hot* ...
And then too, I guess I just have this simple, child-like, fairy tale mind. When I first read the story, I never through of such things as are said with respect to Adam and Chavah. As for Adam, was he not told to *cleave* to his wife, and that he would leave his Father and mother? My mind told me he did what he did because he loved Chavah very much, wanted to be with her, and that he ate because he would or chose to suffer the same fate as she. I guess I really never thought the impact of selfishness (based on their now surroundings) set in until they were expelled from Gan Edan. Reply

Robert Desiato UK January 13, 2016

Was the fruit off limits to all ? How did the insects and bacteria know not to eat the forbidden fruit ? Reply

Rev USA July 21, 2017
in response to Robert Desiato:

Add a comment... Per Genesis chapter 2, the only animals in the Garden of Eden were " ... every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air ..."; no insects, as insects are not "beasts" ("beast" according to Merriam-Webster is "a four-footed mammal as distinguished from a human being, a lower vertebrate, and an invertebrate") and no bacteria (bacteria are not beasts either). Reply

Abe Israel June 25, 2015

There must be more to the story I read a while ago about how the great sages of the past all agreed to hide the real meaning behind the story. If it was so simple of an explanation why would they want to hide it. Reply

David Chester Petach Tikva, Israel July 3, 2017
in response to Abe :

Implied Sexual Aspects? Possibly because there is a sexual context due to the snake. One analogy and explanation offered by Kabbala is that the covering (evil) and the good intent were mixed up and confused by the introduction of the new level of knowledge. I suggest that the act of circumcision is a symbol of separating good and evil, and of making man more perfect. I don't see how a woman can really participate with this unless like Moshe, she had to perform the act for him. Reply

anonymously png September 24, 2014

The creation of world and adam may have taken million of years. Adam may have lived many millions of years before his fall. The story of creation is told in days for our human minds to understand. Infinity knows no days; everything is forever.
This is my understanding; Science has yet to prove the big bang theory and many minute details of being a humanbeing. This is a mystery. It is the hand of a master craftsman to create a being like us.
I believe in God Almighty and Everlasting who created this world. Reply

Siggy Toback September 21, 2014

life of adam How long did Adam live in the Garden of Eden? Reply