In the idiom of the Midrash, God created the world in order "to have a home in the lower realms,"1 which means so He could be present in a realm not inherently conducive to the awareness of His presence. The blueprint He prepared for creating the world so it would fulfill this purpose is the Torah. In this sense, the Torah "preceded" creation,2 just as the plan precedes the execution.3 In the idiom of the Midrash, again, this primordial Torah was "written with black fire on white fire."4

The world, however, is just the stage on which the cosmic drama of making a home for God "in the lower realms" is to be played. The protagonists in this drama are the human race, on whom God made the accomplishment of this goal dependent. The conscious essence of a human being is its soul. Every soul has a unique role to play in making reality into God's home; this unique task gives rise to the soul's unique personality. The world, thus, was created both for the sake of the Torah and for the sake of humanity.

Inasmuch as the world was created in accordance with the vision, purpose, and plan specified in the Torah, the Torah also constitutes humanity's quintessential guidebook to living life in order fulfill its purpose.

Nonetheless, before detailing these instructions, the Torah first describes the creation of the world and the genesis of the Jewish people. This digression is required in order to explain how the task of fulfilling God's purpose on earth eventually necessitated the existence of a unique nation among the human race—the Jewish people—living life according to the Torah in the context of a specific homeland—the Promised Land of Israel. The Torah therefore describes how the necessity for a chosen people living in a chosen land came about.5

The creation account establishes God, the creator, as the true "owner" of the entire world. This sovereignty would allow Him, when the time would come, to expropriate the future Jewish homeland from the people whom He had allowed to settle there in the meantime.

The creation of the physical universe in which we live was the final stage in the creative process. Its creation was preceded by the creation of a number of spiritual realms. Among these spiritual realms is the abode of souls before they are born; each soul is sent into a physical body in this world in order to accomplish its unique task. After humanity became mortal,6 this realm would also serve as the abode of souls who have completed their task on earth and died. Relative to our perspective in this world, this abode is therefore known as "the World to Come." If the soul needs to be "cleansed" of any materialistic perspective it has acquired during its stay in the body, it enters Purgatory, an additional spiritual realm where this cleansing occurs, before entering the World to Come. When the task of making the physical world conducive to the revelation of God's presence has been completed, the souls waiting in the World to Come will be restored to their physical bodies and live again in the perfected, physical world.

God is known by many Names, in accordance with the specific Divine attribute He manifests at any given moment. In this context, God created the physical world and the World to Come with the Name Kah (spelled yud-hei, י-ה): the World to Come with the letter yud and the physical world with the letter hei. The form of the letter hei—three sides with the fourth side open at the bottom—alludes to the fact that, as stated above, if the soul acquires too materialistic a perspective on life while in the physical world, it has to "descend" into Purgatory.7

On the other hand, the Divine Name used throughout the creation narrative (i.e., until 2:3) is Elokim, which signifies God's attribute of limitation and restraint. This is because God created the world to operate according to strict, consistent rules. Later, with the creation of humanity, it became possible to mitigate Divine rigidity with Divine mercy, which is signified by the Name Havayah.8

God's primary attribute is love; in order for Him to act with strict justice and severity, His more essential nature had to be concealed. Thus, the Name Elokim also indicates Divine concealment, whereas the Name Havayah indicates Divine revelation.9

The physical universe, at the moment of its creation, constituted nine concentric spheres. The outermost sphere is that of the celestial vault. Inside this is the sphere where the stars would be placed. Inside this are the spheres designated for the five planets visible to the naked eye (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury). Inside these is the sphere of the sun; inside this is the sphere of the moon. Inside this innermost sphere is the earth (see Figure 1). All these spheres are solid; the outer eight are filled with a primeval substance called the "ether." The stars and planets are cylinders that traverse the width of their sphere and only appear to us as points of light.10

The earth, in contrast, is composed of four types of physical matter, or "elements,"11 which were, at the moment of creation, layered in four concentric spheres. A sphere of solid earth, the heaviest, was at the center, surrounded by a layer of liquid water, surrounded in turn by a layer of gaseous air, surrounded in turn by a layer of "fire" (plasma, see Figure 2). In the context of the physical universe, the upper two spheres are termed "heaven"12 and the lower two "earth."

The physical earth was created fully matured, e.g., layers of sedimentary rock that would naturally have taken many years to form were already in place, etc.

All elements of creation are conscious, both as collective "species" and as individual entities. They also possess a certain degree of free choice.13

The moment physical reality came into being, time also came into being. "Before" this moment, there was only a hierarchy of order in the pre-physical creative process, but no physical time. The first day of physical time was designated as the 25th day of the month of Elul, year -1.

Everything mentioned in the account of creation was created by God at that first moment, with the exception of the first human being. The creative process that would unfold during the subsequent week consisted simply of either placing everything in its proper place or activating it.14

The First Week

1:1 On this first day of creation, in the beginning of God's creation ex nihilo of heaven and everything in it and earth and everything in it

2 when the earth was astonishingly void, with darkness over the surface of the abyss, i.e., the water, and God's spirit, i.e., His intention to make the world into His home, hovered over the surface of the water, ready to initiate this process

3 God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. This primeval light did not emanate from any specific heavenly body, since the sun and moon were not fixed in their orbits until the fourth day. Also, it did not shine during any fixed portion of the day; darkness and light alternated randomly.15

4 God saw that this primeval light not only illuminated the world, making it physically visible to its future inhabitants, but that it was also "good," in that it revealed the Divine energy sustaining everything from within. Such an obvious display of Godliness would not allow humanity free choice, so God separated this spiritual "goodness" of the light from its simple, optical dimension and reserved this quality of light as a reward for the righteous in the messianic future. God then saw that the remaining, physical light was good and would enable life to function in an orderly manner were it to shine consistently rather than randomly, so God separated between the light and the darkness, setting aside half the day for each.16 This was a further step in transforming the world from a state of chaos to a state of order. This ambient light shone for the duration of the creation week, after which only the light emitted by the heavenly bodies shone on earth.17

5 God called to the light and assigned it to the day, and He called to the darkness and assigned it to the night.18 He assigned the night to the first half of the day, and the day to the second half. Thus, there was evening, followed by the rest of the night, and then there was morning, followed by the rest of the day; together night and day constituted one full day. It was clear while the primeval light was shining that God was the only being to possess intrinsic existence and that all other beings' existence is dependent upon His.

6 As was said above, the sphere of water was originally surrounded by the sphere of air. The primordial sphere of water included both what was to become atmospheric water as well as what was to remain below as oceanic water; it was thus not exactly what we know today as liquid water, but something between a gas and a liquid. God said, "Let there be a sky in the midst of the waters, and it shall separate between atmospheric water and ocean water." Here, God raised and suspended the gaseous-moisture part of the water above the sphere of air, resulting in five concentric spheres instead of four19 (see Figure 3). Once again, God distinguished between higher and lower aspects of reality by imposing a hierarchical order on an initially chaotic state.

Implicit in this hierarchy was the fact that the physical concepts of "higher" and "lower" reflected their spiritual counterparts; in other words, the higher an entity is on the physical hierarchy, the greater its consciousness of God. Therefore, when God separated the atmospheric water from the ocean water, the ocean water complained that it, too, wanted to enjoy the Divine consciousness granted to atmospheric water. God appeased it with the promise that its salt would be offered with the meat of the sacrifices in the Temple service; in this way it would ascend to the spiritual realms.20

7 So God positioned the sky, and thus separated the water below the sky from the water above the sky. And so it was.

8 God called the sky "Heaven" [Shamayim—a contraction of the words for "suspended water" (sa mayim), "water is there" (sham mayim), and "(made of) fire (e.g., thunder) and water" (eish umayim)].

God also created the angels on this day.21 The angels, who populate some of the spiritual realms, are "personifications" of God's attributes or messengers He creates ad hoc in order to send on specific missions. The angels who personify God's attributes of mercy and judgment form God's "court of law,"22 which judges cases based on the principles of justice and mercy with which He created the world. The head of the angels of mercy is Michael23 and the head of the angels of judgment is Gabriel.24

Also on this day, God created Purgatory,25 a spiritual realm in which to cleanse errant souls of the spiritual impurity they would accumulate through misdeeds performed during their physical lifetimes.26

And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

9 As stated above, when the world was created, the perfectly spherical body of earth was completely covered with water. In order to further prepare the world for humanity, God said, "Let the waters below the heaven be gathered to one place, and dry land shall be seen," and so it was.

10 God called the dry land "Earth," and He called the gathering of water "Seas." Each location assumed its own uniqueness, resulting from the different blend of geographic variables in each place. This breakdown into distinct geographic regions further prepared the world for humanity, for it allowed for the propagation of differing cultures, each of which would reveal the Divinity inherent in the world in its unique way. God designated the future Land of Israel for the future Jewish people. This designation, however, did not yet make the Land of Israel qualitatively different from any other place on earth; this transformation occurred only when the Jewish people entered it and conquered it.27

Now that the work involving water that began on the second day was completed,28 God saw that it was good.

11 God said, "Let the earth begin to sprout vegetation underground: seed-bearing plants and trees whose bark tastes the same as its fruit that produce fruits with seeds according to their species, on the earth." And so it was. God explicitly commanded only the fruit-trees to bear seeds according to their species; He did not command the seed-bearing plants to do so.

12 The plants did not strictly adhere to God's command. The earth gave forth vegetation: plants bearing seeds according to their species, even though God had not explicitly commanded this. The plants reasoned: "If God commanded trees, who grow far apart from each other and are easily distinguishable, to produce only their own species, then plants, which grow close together and are similar to each other, should certainly only produce their own species." In contrast to the plants, who did more than God had commanded them, the trees did less than God had commanded them. The trees felt that if they had edible bark, as God had commanded, it would endanger the perpetuation of their species. The earth therefore gave forth trees whose bark did not taste the same as their fruit, only producing fruits containing seeds according to their species. Although the trees' intentions were honorable, the ground was later punished29 for not relying on God to ensure the trees' continued existence.30 Both the plants and trees began to grow underground, but stopped just short of breaking the surface.31 God did not make the vegetation grow above the surface of the earth until the sixth day.32 God saw that it was good, despite the trees' disobedience.

God designated a specific location as the future33 Garden of Eden, an appropriate habitat for humanity.34 A detailed description of this garden will be given when the narrative focuses on the story of humanity's beginnings.35

13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

14 God created the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars on the first day; He now placed them in their respective celestial spheres. God said, "Let there be luminaries in the heavenly sky to separate between day and night later, after the first creation week.36 They shall serve as signs: their eclipses indicate the times God has designated for punishment; at these times He is more likely to mete out punishment for certain misdeeds.37 The luminaries shall also serve for setting the dates of the Jewish festivals, which will occur at specific points in the lunar month and in specific seasons of the solar year. They shall also serve for reckoning days and years—one orbit of the sun measuring a day and one turn of the sun through the zodiac measuring a year.

15 Finally, they shall serve as luminaries in the heavenly sky, to shine on the earth." And so it was, as follows:

16 God positioned the two great luminaries, the sun and the moon. They were originally equal in size, but the moon immediately protested over having to rule jointly with the sun, so God made it smaller. When it then complained about this treatment, God attempted to appease it by pointing out that its diminished light would allow starlight to be visible, giving the moon the appearance of being attended by many servants; when this failed, God promised that in the future, an atonement offering would be brought on His behalf in the Temple every new moon for having diminished it.38 In the messianic future, the light of the moon will again be as great as the light of the sun.39 God assigned the greater light, the sun, to rule the day and the smaller light, the moon, to rule the night accompanied by the stars and planets. The stars were placed in the sky together with the light emitted from them, making their light immediately visible on earth even though it would have naturally taken many years for their light to reach it. Where necessary, light appeared to shine from stars that had already become extinct.

17 God placed them in the heavenly sky to shine on the earth,

18 to rule by day and by night, and to separate between the light and the darkness. God saw that it was good. Nonetheless, the fourth day of the week was made unpropitious to infant health.40

19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

20 God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of mobile, living creatures, and fowl that issue from the mud of the swamps41 shall fly over the earth across the face of the heavenly sky."

21 God created the great sea creatures, including the male and female leviathan. The leviathans were so large that God foresaw that they would overrun the world if He were to allow them to reproduce, so He immediately killed the female and preserved her flesh for the redemption feast He will serve the righteous in the messianic future. In addition to these large sea creatures,42 God created every particular species of living being that swarms, with which the waters teemed, and every particular species of winged fowl. God saw that it was good.

22 God blessed the fish, birds, and amphibians, saying, "In the future,43 I will allow humans to eat you and some of you to eat each other. Therefore, be not only fruitful, reproducing yourselves once, but be also prolific, having many offspring throughout your lives.44 Fill the waters in the seas, and let the flying creatures multiply on the land."

23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

24 God said, "Let the earth bring forth mobile, living creatures according to their species: livestock, reptiles and all swarming creatures, such as insects, amphibians, worms, ants, beetles, worms, moles, snails etc., and beasts of the earth according to their species." And so it was.

25 God made beasts of the earth according to their species, livestock according to their species, and reptiles and swarming creatures of the ground according to their species. God saw that it was good, but He did not bless the beasts to be fruitful and prolific, because He foresaw that the serpent would rebel45 and did not want to include him in a blessing.

26 Since the angels are created in God's likeness in that they possess a measure of free will, God presumed that they might object to another form of life also being created in His likeness. He therefore humbly asked their leave to create human beings. God said to His heavenly court, "Let us make a human in our image, i.e., in an upright form reflecting the same hierarchy of faculties I used to create the world46 and with which I made you, and according to our likeness, i.e., possessing discernment and intellect." Even though it was only God, not the angels, who created the human being (as is evident in the next verse), He phrased His intention as to include them. Some of the angels opposed the creation of humanity,47 but God convinced the angels by saying that if beings created in His likeness (i.e., like them) were to exist only in heaven and not on earth, it would cause an imbalance in creation. He continued: "If this human lives up to his Divine image, he shall rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the livestock animals, and all the earth, as well as all the reptiles that crawl on the earth. If he does not, he will be inferior to the animals48 and the wild beasts will prevail over him."49

27 So God created the human in his image, i.e., in the mold that God had decided upon: He created him in the image of God, i.e., in a form reflecting the hierarchy of faculties He used to create the world. He also created him according to His likeness,50 i.e., possessing discernment and intellect. Whereas God brought all other creatures into being directly from His speech, He created the human being's body figuratively by "hand," i.e., by first pouring dirt into a mold.51 Furthermore, He created them as a single, androgynous being comprising both male and female bodies, attached back to back.

When the human being realized that the vegetation of the world was waiting for rainfall so it could sprout, he asked God to make it rain. God made it rain and the earth quickly became covered with vegetation in all stages of maturity.52

28 After separating the androgynous human into male and female bodies, as will be described in greater detail further on, God blessed them and God said to them, "Be fruitful and prolific. Fill the earth and master it: subdue its apparent antagonism to Divinity and reveal its inner desire to express the Divinity within it. Rule also over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth. Nonetheless, do not attempt to refine the world beyond your capacities to do so. In particular, the female is apt to venture beyond her abilities in this regard, so the male should therefore restrain her when necessary."

29 God said to the man and woman, "Behold, although I have made you masters over the animals, I do not permit you to kill them in order to eat them,53 for I do not want anyone to confuse your dominion over life with Mine. You must always be aware that you are only a creature. Rather, I have only given you every seedbearing plant on the face of the entire earth, and every tree that has seedbearing fruit; they shall be yours for food. You may also eat the meat of animals that die naturally.54

30 All plant vegetation shall also serve for food for every creature of the earth, for every bird of the heavens, and for everything that crawls on the ground, which possesses a living soul, but those animals whom I have created as carnivores may kill for food, unlike you."55 And so it was.

In the final moments of the sixth day, God created the demons,56 i.e., spiritual beings that serve as agents of good or evil in accordance with the power God grants them, often commensurate with humanity's meritorious deeds or misdeeds. He also prepared Moses' grave.57

31 At the end of the sixth day, God saw all that he had made, and behold, now that He created a human being, it was not only "good" but very good, for only humanity is capable of bringing creation to its fruition and purpose. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

2:1 Heaven and earth, and all their components, were thus completed on the sixth day.

2 In fact, however, God continued putting the finishing touches on creation up to and into the first moment of the seventh day. Thus, God technically finished His work that He had done on the seventh day, and the seventh day therefore also appeared to be one of the days of creation. But since the amount of work God actually did on the seventh day was infinitesimal and therefore inconsequential, creation is still considered to have been completed on the sixth day. Alternatively, God did not create anything on the seventh day, but rest and spiritual renewal are themselves a necessary ingredient of creation. In this sense, with the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, for He ceased on the seventh day from all the work that He had been doing.58 In fact, the Sabbath's position at the end of the creation week indicates that the Sabbath is the goal and purpose of creation.

3 God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. "Blessing" means increase; the blessing of the Sabbath was that the work people would do during the preceding six days would produce enough bounty to provide for the seventh day as well. This blessing was first witnessed with the manna.59 "Sanctification" implies being set aside as something higher than the norm;60 the sanctification of the Sabbath was that the character of the day would be uniquely conducive to spiritual renewal and above the normative consciousness of the weekday. For this reason, weekday work would be forbidden on it.61 This sanctification, too, was first witnessed with regard to the manna.62 God Himself intentionally rested on the Sabbath, for on the Sabbath, God ceased from all His work, including that which God had created and planned to make on that day: On each of the first five days, God created three entities; on the sixth day He created six—three for the sixth day and three that had been "scheduled" to be created on the Sabbath.

Once the fulfillment of creation's purpose became dependent on the Jewish people's fulfillment of the Torah, the justification for world's continued existence became contingent upon the Jewish people's acceptance of the Torah. Thus, retroactively, from the time of its creation, the world only existed provisionally until the Giving of the Torah.63

The Garden of Eden

Second Reading 4 The preceding account of creation64 is the chronicle of how everything in heaven and earth began to function at its proper time, everything having been created on the day that God made earth and heaven, i.e., on the first day.65 These are the chronicles of heaven and earth, having been created on the day that God made earth and heaven.

5 The creation of the first human beings was mentioned earlier, as a detail in the account of the first seven days. However, because of humanity's pivotal role in life, the Torah now focuses on its creation in greater detail.66

After having created the beasts and livestock on the sixth day, God gathered particles of earth from all over the world to create the first human being, so that human bodies would decompose and revert to earth when they died, no matter where they would be buried. In particular, He used earth from the future site of the altar of the holy Temple in Jerusalem, which would in the future allow humanity to atone for its misdeeds. God thereby made repentance and atonement an essential part of humanity's physical being. No shrub of the field was yet on earth nor had any grass of the field yet sprouted. Although vegetation was created and began to grow underground on the third day, it remained just below the surface of the earth until the sixth day. This was because God had not brought rain upon the earth, for there was no human to work the ground and appreciate the value of rain.

6 So, a mist rose up from the earth and watered the entire surface of the ground.

7 Using this mist, God then formed the human out of dust of the ground by "kneading" the dust into a body. God blew into his nostrils a soul of life, and the human became a living being, possessing vitality, as do animals, but also possessing the faculties of understanding and speech. Both the body and the soul were fashioned from pre-existing matter: the body from the earth, and the soul from the essence of God.67 This was necessary in order to preserve the balance between the days devoted to heavenly and earthly creations:

God named the human "Adam," cognate to the word for "earth" (adamah), from which he was made.68 When Adam realized that the vegetation was waiting for rainfall so it could sprout, he asked God to make it rain. It rained, and the surface of the earth became immediately covered with vegetation in all stages of growth.69

8 After creating Adam, God planted a garden to serve as humanity's habitat, in the location He had previously designated for that purpose,70 the eastern part of Eden ["(land of) delight"], and He placed there the human whom He had formed, as will be seen presently. But before continuing the narrative,71 the Torah digresses to describe the greatness of the Garden of Eden.

9 The surface of the earth was already covered with vegetation, but now72 God caused the ground of the Garden of Eden to give forth especially lush growth: every tree that is of pleasing appearance and good for food. The Tree of Life, whose fruit imparts immortality to whoever eats it,73 was in the center of the garden, as was74 the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, which was a fig tree.75 Although it contained all types of fruit trees, the Garden of Eden was mainly an apple orchard.76

10 A river issued from somewhere in Eden to water the garden, and from there it disappeared into subterranean channels, divided, and surfaced outside of Eden77 and became four riverheads. This river was so rich in minerals and nutriments that even its offshoots endowed the lands they watered with great abundance,78 as follows:

11 The name of the first river is the Nile [Pishon, "gushing" or "increasing"]. It floods the land of Egypt annually, this being the basis of Egyptian agriculture. The name is also related to the word for "flax" (pishtan), which is grown in abundance in Egypt and highly valued.79 The river is the one that traverses the entire land that would later be called80 Chavilah [from chol, "sand," i.e., Egypt], where gold is found.

12 The gold of that land is good. Also found there are crystal and the onyx stone.

13 The name of the second river is Gichon ["roaring"]; it is the one that encircles the entire land that would later be called Kush.

14 The name of the third river is Tigris [Chidekel, "sharp (tasting) and light."], which flows to the east of the land that would later be called Assyria. The fourth river is the most distinguished of the four, the Euphrates [Perat, "fertile"], for it will serve as one of the boundaries of the Land of Israel.81 The Tigris and Euphrates are the two rivers that make Mesopotamia fertile (see Figure 4).

In addition to its physical luxuriousness, the Garden of Eden was a spiritually superior environment, as well: The rest of the world, having been created directly by God, was spiritually unsuited to self-initiated change, and therefore not conducive to repentance or self-refinement. The Garden of Eden, however, was designed to be the appropriate setting for human activity, which centers principally on free choice.82

15 After digressing to describe the greatness of the Garden of Eden, the Torah recapitulates the narrative: God told the human that He was going to take him from the place where he was created, settle him in the Garden of Eden, and charge him with certain commands which would fulfill both the purpose of his creation and the creation of the whole world. When the human heard this, he did not want to enter the Garden of Eden, because he was intimidated by the overwhelming responsibility involved. God therefore persuaded the human to enter, and He placed him in the Garden of Eden, having motivated him to cultivate it and guard it enthusiastically.83

16 God commanded the human, saying, "Of every tree of the garden—including the Tree of Life—you may eat freely.

17 But you shall not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat of it you will die."84

18 This human, having been formed by God Himself and created in His image, was so impressively perfect and well-suited for his task of manifesting Divinity on earth that God had to ensure that neither he mistake himself nor any other creature mistake him for a second deity. God said, "It is not good that the human be alone, without a helpmate, for this gives the impression that he is a self-sufficient deity, since I, too, have no mate. I will therefore separate his female aspect from him, rendering him incomplete without her and in need of her assistance. I will make this female aspect into a separate being, a compatible helper for him to give him this assistance.85 If he is deserving, she will help him do good; if not, she will oppose his will."

19 Before He separated the primordial human into a man and a woman, God wanted this being to feel the need to be bipartite. He did this in the following way: As described above, God had formed out of the ground every wild beast and every bird of heaven—the birds from the mud of the swamps.86 Now, God brought them to the human to see what he would name each one, and also placed them under his rule, as He had promised. God brought the animals to the human being in male-female pairs,87 in order to make him realize that his unitary state was unnatural and to induce him to search for a suitable helpmate from among the animals. God therefore did not present the fish to him to name,88 since there was no reason to suppose he would consider any of the fish as a possible companion.89 The human proved to be outstandingly insightful: he deduced what each creature's name should be based on its characteristics and qualities. Therefore, whatever the human called each living thing remained its name permanently.

Third Reading 20 The human gave names to every livestock animal and bird of the sky, as well as to all the wild beasts. As God intended, the human noticed that the animals were naturally heterosexual, and examined90 them all for a suitable helpmate. But the human did not find among the animals any helper who was compatible for himself—whom God had named Adam. This troubled him.

21 God did not want the human to witness its female side being severed from its male side, for this might lead the male to disrespect the female, so God cast a deep sleep upon the human, and he slept. He then took one of its sides—the female side—off of the male side, and closed the cut made in the flesh in its place.

22 God built up the side that He had taken from the human into a woman, shaping her so she could carry children within her, and He brought her to the man. Adam and his wife—whom he would later name Eve91—were created as mature, twenty-year old adults.92

23 The man said, "This time, in contrast to all the creatures I examined previously, this one is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She shall be called 'Woman' [ishah], because she was taken from man [ish]." Thus Adam completed the process of naming all creatures.

24 God decreed that a man shall therefore leave his father and his mother and cleave only to his wife— forbidding extramarital relationships—and that husband and wife shall combine to become one flesh in their children. After separating them into man and woman, God blessed them, commanding them to procreate, and gave them the fruit of the earth as food, as recounted above.93

25 The two of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame in this. Since they were not conscious of themselves as being independent of God, they considered all their physical desires as a natural part of God's intention for them. Their consciousness was not tainted by self-interest, so there was nothing to be ashamed of. Adam and Eve engaged in marital relations, and shortly after conceiving,94 Eve gave birth to twins—a son and a daughter—as will be described in detail further on.95

The Tree of Knowledge

3:1 The Torah now interrupts its description of the events of the sixth day of creation with the account of how Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, which occurred after the creation week,96 in fact, after Eve's first two births.97 It places this narrative here because the antagonist of this episode, the serpent, initiated the train of events that led to the expulsion after observing Adam and Eve engage openly in marital relations.

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild beasts that God had made. He also possessed the means to express his cunningness:98 he stood upright on his feet and could talk. After observing Adam and Eve engaging in marital relations, he wanted Eve for his wife. He decided the best way to eliminate Adam was to have him eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, since God had made this punishable by death. But he knew he would not be able to entice Adam to do this, so he decided to work through Eve, whom he assumed would serve the fruit to her husband before she ate any of it herself.99 Although the serpent had seen Adam and Eve eating all kinds of fruits in the garden, he said to the woman in order to open a conversation, "Did God really say, 'You may not eat from any of the trees of the garden?' "

2 The woman replied to the serpent, "We may eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden,

3 but as to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which is in the middle of the garden, God said, 'You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " In fact, God had not forbidden them to touch the fruit, but Eve thought that He forbade them to eat the fruit because the tree was poisonous, and that touching its bark would therefore also prove deadly.100

4 The serpent pushed Eve against the tree, showing her that touching it did not harm her. He said to the woman, "Just as you did not die from touching it, you will certainly not die from eating its fruit!" When Eve saw that touching the tree did not harm her, she could not believe that eating its fruit would kill her.101

5 "Rather," the serpent continued, "God did not forbid you to eat the fruit for your own good, that is, because He wants you to live forever and He knows that eating the fruit will make you mortal. He forbade it out of jealousy. He does not want you to infringe upon the aspect of perfecting the world He has reserved for Himself. God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened to your own potential: you will see yourselves as independent agents, masters of your own destiny. You will thus be like God and be able to create worlds, just as He did. This is because you will know good and evil subjectively."

6 The serpent persisted in trying to convince Eve, taking care to converse with her when Adam was not present. He eventually convinced the woman, who then saw that the tree was good for eating because it would make them godlike, and desirable to the eyes because it would open their eyes to their own potential, and that the tree was attractive as a means to gain intelligence because it would enable them to know good and evil subjectively. So, she decided to eat the fruit. But to the serpent's chagrin, she took some of its fruit herself and ate. When Adam came back, she described the effect of eating the fruit to him and reiterated the serpent's arguments, convincing him to partake as well. Also, even though the serpent had convinced her that the fruit was not deadly, she was still afraid that it might be, and she didn't want to die and leave Adam alive to marry someone else. Adam knew that the fruit was forbidden, but he was confused by the fact that Eve, whom God had created to help him, was offering it to him.102 Thus, Eve also gave some to her husband with her, and because of this confusion, he ate. She also fed the fruit to the animals, but it did not have any effect on them.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were figuratively opened: they suddenly understood that they had lost their original Divine consciousness: they were no longer aware of themselves as a part of God, but as independent beings. They thus realized that they were figuratively naked, i.e., stripped of the one commandment God had given them, which was precisely to avoid descending to this level of consciousness. They were ashamed of having been stripped of their original Divine consciousness, and instinctively expressed this shame by trying to reverse the process. They knew that the physical body is a reflection of the soul, and sought to counteract their new self-exposure by covering their naked bodies.103 Toward this end, they tried to pluck leaves from other trees in the garden, but found that they could not; these trees refused to be involved in this subterfuge. Having no other choice, they sewed together fig leaves they plucked from the Tree of Knowledge, and made themselves loincloths. The Torah does not explicitly disclose the identity of the Tree of Knowledge in order that people not disdain the type of tree involved in Adam and Eve's sin.

8 Adam and Eve would have tried to clothe themselves further,104 but just then, at 4:00 PM,105 they heard the voice of God, which was moving about in the garden in the direction of day's end. Attempting to quickly cover their remaining nakedness, the man and his wife hid themselves from God among the trees of the garden.

9 God knew where Adam was, but in order to open the conversation and give him the opportunity to express remorse, He called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?"

10 He replied, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked, so I hid."

11 God obviously knew that Adam and Eve had eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, but in order to give Adam another chance to confess and express remorse over his sin, He said, "Who told you that you are being naked and that there is any shame in this? Did you eat of the tree from which I commanded you not to eat? You obviously did, otherwise you would not have felt any shame in being naked."

12 But rather than admitting his error in judgment, Adam rationalized his behavior by blaming God. The man replied, "The woman whom You gave to be with me and help me—she gave me of the tree, and I ate. I assumed that since You created her to help me, she would not lead me astray." But by shifting the blame to Eve, Adam only committed a further offense: ingratitude for God's goodness in giving him a wife. Nonetheless, because he and Eve expressed remorse, and because Adam had at least a partial excuse, God commuted their sentence and did not make them die on the very day they ate the fruit; He only made them mortal.106

13 God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" giving her the chance to realize that it was possible to repent and repair the damage that had been done. But the woman, too, tried to shift the blame. She replied, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

14 God did not address any question to the serpent, so as not to allow him to exonerate himself by pointing out that Eve should have had the sense to know that God's command should override the serpent's enticements. Rather, God said immediately to the serpent, "I distinguished you above the other animals by giving you the power of speech, but you misused it by enticing Eve to sin. Because you did this, I will repay you measure for measure: I will entirely rescind your ability to speak, and thus, instead of being the most gifted of animals, you are now more accursed than all the livestock and all the wild beasts. Not only will you lose your natural ability to speak; you will even lose your ability to make sounds like other animals: your voice will be reduced to a hiss.107 Since the other animals also partook of the forbidden fruit, I will curse them as well. They will no longer reproduce on the same day they conceive: the wild beasts will now have a minimum gestation period of 52 days, and the livestock will have a maximum gestation period of 1 year, which is seven times as long. But here, too, I will curse you even more: your gestation period will be seven times longer still, i.e., seven years. Furthermore, I will take away your feet so you shall from now on move on your belly, and you shall appear to eat dust all the days of your life." This is an idiom for being scorned.108 Because it abused its superior gifts that had made it the most preeminent of the animals, the serpent was reduced to being the lowliest animal.109 When God removed its feet, the serpent screamed.110

15 "You wanted to take Eve as your wife; instead, I will plant hatred between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will pound you on the head, and you will hiss as you bite him in the heel."

16 To the woman He said, "I will greatly increase your difficulty in raising children and in your pregnancy from now on." Eve already had children, so she would experience the pain of raising them before the pains of her next pregnancy; this is why God mentioned child rearing before pregnancy and birth.111 "You will give birth to children in anguish. Furthermore, your longing will be for your husband, but despite your longing for your husband, he will dominate you: You will be embarrassed to ask him explicitly to have marital relations with you."

17 And to Adam He said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate of the tree about which I commanded you—saying, 'Do not eat from it'—the earth, from which you were created and therefore is somewhat responsible for your character, will be cursed because of you. I will simultaneously punish it now for not producing trees whose bark tastes the same as their fruit.112 It will produce flies, fleas, and ants; because of this you will produce food from it with difficulty113 all the days of your life.

18 Specifically, when you plant grain, the earth will bring forth thorns and thistles for you, and you will have to eat the grass of the field, i.e., the thorns and thistles that will grow when you plant grain, because not enough grain will grow for you to live on. You will have to cook these weeds and eat them, too." This situation persisted until Noah invented farming tools, such as the plow and hoe.

19 "You shall eat bread only by the sweat of your brow, until you return to the ground, for you were taken from it. For you are dust, and as you shall now be mortal; you shall return to dust."

At this point, the world descended from its original lofty, pristine spiritual state. The major purpose of life, from this point on, became to rectify the effects of Adam and Eve's sin and restore reality to its original state. The first stage of this restoration will occur with the advent of the Messiah; the second stage will occur with the resurrection. At that point, all the souls of those people who lived on earth and died will be restored to their bodies.114

The Expulsion

20 The narrative now returns to where it left off before the digression of the episode of the Tree of Knowledge.115

After Eve gave birth to her first children, Adam gave her an additional name. Besides describing her as "woman," indicating her compatibility with "man," the man now named his wife also "Eve" [Chavah], because she was and would be the mother of all the living [chai], i.e., all future generations. She not only gives birth to her children, but also nurtures them until they are independent, since they cannot survive without her care.116

21 Having concluded its account of the sixth day of creation, the narrative continues with the aftermath of the incident of the Tree of Knowledge. God was about to banish Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, but He preceded this act of judgment with an act of mercy, in order to show that even His judgments are in truth expressions of His mercy.

Adam and Eve had already made loincloths out of fig leaves,117 but had not had a chance to make garments to clothe themselves fully. God therefore made skin-garments for Adam and his wife. These were miraculously skin-tight garments that fit Adam and Eve as closely as their own fingernails, and were therefore perfectly comfortable. God Himself clothed them in these garments, because only He could put them on them. Alternatively, these were warm and soft garments made out of animal hides and fur, and even though Adam and Eve could have made and put on such garments by themselves, God made these garments and clothed Adam and Eve in them as an act of kindness.118

Fourth Reading 22 God said, "Behold, just as I am unique in the heavens, so are Adam and Eve unique on earth, in that they alone know good and evil subjectively, even though they are incomplete by themselves. Now that the man has become like the Unique One among us, knowing good and evil, what if he should stretch forth his hand and also take fruit from the Tree of Life and eat it, and live forever?! If he lives forever he might appear to the rest of creation to be a second deity."

23 God thereupon banished him and his family from the Garden of Eden, to work the ground from which he was taken.

24 He drove the man out, and Adam and his family settled just east of the Garden of Eden.119 God stationed to the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim, angels of destruction, equipped with the revolving sword blade, which appeared to be flashing and therefore looked frightening, to guard the path to the Tree of Life against entry.

Cain and Abel

4:1 Adam separated from Eve after having disobeyed God's commandment not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.120 But, as mentioned above, the man had known his wife Eve carnally prior to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and when he did so, she conceived and shortly thereafter gave birth to twins, a son and a daughter. This phenomenon of short pregnancy will again become the norm in the messianic age. She named the son Cain [Kayin], saying, "I have acquired [kaniti] a man together with God." She expressed her delight in being a partner with God in the creation of a human being. This was the first time this had occurred, for she and Adam had been created solely by God Himself.

2 Soon after giving birth to Cain and his twin sister, she conceived and gave birth again—to his brother Abel and two twin sisters. It was only after all five children were born that the serpent succeeded in persuading Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and God banished Adam and his family from the Garden of Eden.

When they matured, the boys married their twin sisters. Although incest was forbidden to Adam and his descendants, God made an exception and allowed Cain and Abel to marry their sisters in order to perpetuate the human race.121

Although God intended the human race to be farmers, Abel instead became a shepherd, since the ground had been cursed due to Adam's sin. In contrast, Cain was not fazed by this curse; he became a worker of the soil.

3 In the course of time, Cain and Abel decided to bring offerings to God. Cain, being the firstborn, brought his offering first. Cain brought some of the inferior produce of the choicest species the ground, flaxseed,122 as an offering to God. Cain reasoned that it was important to offer the choicest species possible, while the actual quality of the offering was nonessential.

4 Abel also offered some of the firstborn of his flock, from the fattest ones. In contrast to Cain, Abel reasoned that the particular species offered was not important, and therefore did not offer one of the most impressive animals he raised—a cow or bull—but merely a sheep. Rather, he felt that it was important to offer the best of whatever species was selected. He was correct, so God paid heed to Abel and his offering—fire descended from heaven and consumed it—

5 but to Cain and his offering He paid no heed. Cain was sorely grieved and his face fell. Even after he saw that God had accepted Abel's offering of the best of the particular species he had chosen to offer, Cain stubbornly refused to acknowledge that he had not acted properly.123 True, Cain was no longer in the Garden of Eden, and the spiritual atmosphere of the world at large was not conducive to repentance. But because he was born in the Garden of Eden, he still retained a residue of its spirituality and could be expected to exercise his free choice properly.124

6 God said to Cain, consoling him, "Why are you grieved? Why has your face fallen?

7 After all, if you improve your actions, you will be forgiven for your previous, misguided behavior. But if you do not improve yourself during your lifetime and clean your record, you will find that your sin is crouching at the door of your grave, so to speak, and you will have to be cleansed of it in your afterlife. Your evil inclination continuously lusts after you, seeking to make you sin, but you can dominate it." But Cain still refused to admit that he had acted wrongly.

8 Cain then had words with his brother Abel, and it happened that when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. He stabbed him all over his body, for he did not know which blow would prove fatal.

9 God knew what had happened, but in order to open the conversation and give Cain the opportunity to confess his sin and repent, God asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" Cain did not take advantage of the opportunity God was giving him. He replied, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?!"

10 God said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood and the blood of the souls who could have been his descendants are crying out to Me from the ground!

11 So now you shall be cursed by having to work the ground even harder than you have to already.125 The ground will be cursed more than the ground has already been cursed, because it opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.

12 "When you work the ground, it will no longer give you its full fertile strength. It will produce even less for you than before. Furthermore, you shall be a perpetual wanderer in the world; I will not allow you to settle in one place."

13 Hearing this, Cain repented somewhat, and said to God, "Is my sin too great for You to bear? Can You not overlook it?

14 Behold, today You have banished me from the face of the earth—but can I be hidden from Your presence?! I am to be a perpetual wanderer in the world, and whoever among the future inhabitants of the earth finds me will kill me because they know that I murdered my brother, making me liable to the death penalty. And moreover, whoever among the animals finds me will kill me, because when I sinned, my Divine image was diminished and the animals no longer fear me."126

15 God said to him, "Therefore, because you are afraid of what people will do, let it be known that whoever kills Cain will be punished! No one should take it upon himself to punish Cain for his sin, for vengeance for this sin will be exacted only after seven generations." To publicize this oath, God placed a mark—a letter of His Name—on Cain's forehead, so that whoever found him would not kill him. As for Cain's fear of the animals, God placed a mark on Cain—He restored his Divine image—so that whoever among the animals found him would not kill him.

16 But Cain did not repent fully, even after God quieted his fears. Rather, Cain left God's presence with feigned humility. Wherever he went, the earth trembled beneath him, and people said, "Stay away from him, for he killed his brother." Instead of wandering the earth as he was commanded to, Cain settled in Nod [from nad, "wanderer"], to the east of Eden, where his father Adam had settled after being banished from the Garden of Eden. God had designated this place as a refuge for murderers, so Cain was confident that he would be safe there.127

Cain’s Descendants

17 Cain knew his wife, his twin sister, and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch [Chanoch, "educated"]. Cain wished to demonstrate that even though God had punished him to be a perpetual wanderer, this punishment did not extend to his progeny, who would indeed be able to attain permanence and comfort in this world and contribute toward the building of civilization. So he became a city-builder and, with his relatives,128 built the first city.129 In order to further cement the permanence of his bloodline, he gave the city he built the same name as his son, Enoch, in order to perpetuate his son's memory after he would die.

18 To Enoch was born Irad; Irad was the father of Mechuyael ["wiped out by God"]; Mechuyael was the father of Metushael ["torn out by God"]; and Metushael was the father of Lemech. In contrast to Cain's hopes, the names his progeny chose to give their children reflected their increasingly anti-Divine philosophy of life.130

Fifth Reading 19 By this time, society's mores had degenerated to the point that men were objectifying female beauty and depersonalizing women. It became customary for a man to marry one woman solely for her beauty, consorting with her continuously, and a second woman by whom he would have children—discharging his duty to procreate—and then ignore. The first wife would be given a contraceptive drug in order that pregnancy and childbearing not mar her beauty. In accord with this custom, Lemech married two women. The name of the first was Adah ["removed"]; she was the wife designated solely for procreation and was "removed" from Lemech's daily company. The name of the second was Tzilah [from tzeil, "shadow"]; she was the wife designated solely for carnal relations, so she accompanied him everywhere and in this way was always "in his shadow."

20 Adah gave birth to Yaval; he was the forerunner of all those who live in tents and keep herds, periodically moving to new locations in search of new pastures for their herds to graze. He was the first to build temples for idol worship.131

21 His brother's name was Yuval; he was the forerunner of all those who play the harp and flute for idolatrous purposes.

22 Even though she took contraceptives, Tzilah also gave birth to a son, Tuval-Cain ["the one who perfects (the art of) Cain"], who sharpened all copper and iron tools, thereby furnishing murderers with efficient weapons. Tuval-Cain's sister was Na'amah ["pleasant"], who married Noah.

Sixth Reading 23 Counting Cain as the first generation, Lemech was the sixth, and his children were the seventh. Once Lemech's children were born, it was time for vengeance to be exacted from Cain.132 In (or just before) the year 130,133 God again removed the Divine image from Cain, giving him the appearance of a beast.134

Lemech was blind and his son, Tuval-Cain, would lead him. Once, Tuval-Cain saw Cain and was frightened, so he told Lemech to shoot an arrow at him; Lemech did so and killed Cain. When Lemech learned what he had done, he clapped his hands together in grief, but in doing so, he struck his son and killed Tuval-Cain, too. His wives, in anger, refused to cohabit with him anymore. Lemech said to his wives, "Adah and Tzilah, hear my voice; wives of Lemech, listen to my speech. Did I kill a man [Cain] by my wound and a child [Tuval-Cain] by my bruise?! Did I kill them intentionally?!

24 If Cain, who committed murder, was to be avenged after seven generations, then for Lemech, who only committed manslaughter, God's postponement of punishment should surely be many times seven generations! You therefore do not have to worry that your children will be punished on my account."

Lemech's wives refused to cohabit with him once they had fulfilled the minimum requirement to have children for another reason, as well: they were aware of God's oath to punish Cain after seven generations. They erroneously assumed that this meant that all of their children would be killed, and they did not wish to keep having more children just to see them die. To this, Lemech replied, [23] "Did I kill Abel—who was a man in maturity and a child in years—by my wound and my bruise, that I should be punished?! [24] If Cain, who murdered Abel, was to be avenged after seven generations, then for Lemech, who did not murder him, God's postponement of punishment should surely be many times seven generations!"

Seth and His Descendants

25 Lemech's faulty reasoning did not impress his wives; they understood that such an argument would mean that God would never fulfill the oath He made regarding Cain's descendants. So Lemech complained to Adam about their refusal to cohabit with him. Adam told them that they should not concern themselves with the intricacies of Divine justice but rather fulfill God's command to engage in marital relations unconditionally. In response, they took him to task for having separated from Eve ever since the sin, that is, for 130 years135—directly contradicting his own advice. He admitted his error, and returned to her. So Adam knew his wife carnally again—now with greater passion than before—and she gave birth to a son. She named him Seth [Sheit], saying, "because God has granted [shat] me other offspring in place of Abel, whom Cain killed."

26 In the year 235, a son was also born to Seth; Seth named him Enosh. Then, during Enosh's lifetime, the name of God was invoked profanely. The people of this generation, including Enosh himself, reasoned, "Inasmuch as God created heavenly bodies in order to conduct the affairs of the world through them and has honored them by making them His servants, we should praise them and honor them. It must certainly be God's will that we honor those that He honors." They therefore built temples to the heavenly bodies and began offering sacrifices to them and prostrating themselves before them in order to ascertain God's will, or so they thought. After many years, false prophets arose who declared that God wants people to serve these heavenly bodies and to offer sacrifices to them. These false prophets also fashioned idols, declaring them to be images of the heavenly bodies, which these heavenly bodies had revealed to them. They associated specific idols with specific Divine powers, and assured the masses that worshipping the various idols would secure them benefits or protect them from calamities. In this manner, idolatry spread throughout the world and people eventually forgot about God, serving only idols.136 Adam managed to preserve and convey pure monotheism to only a few select individuals among his descendants.

God, allowing humanity free choice, did not actively counteract this process, but He did issue a warning: in Enosh's days, He partially flooded the world.137 But humanity did not heed God's warning, nor did they take advantage of the ample time He gave them to realize that idolatry was false and to reverse the associated degeneration of morals that has been described and will be described further. Eventually, humanity became so thoroughly convinced of the truth of idolatry that it would have been impossible to convince them of its falsehood. It thus became necessary to radically cleanse the world of idolatry. The Torah therefore now details the lineage of Noah, the individual whom God would select to reestablish the human race after it was destroyed.

5:1 The following is the record of the descendants of Adam. On the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. For the first ten generations, Adam's descendants lived extraordinarily long, relative to later generations. This is because during this era, God provided the world with His beneficence without regard to human merit.138 This would change afterward, as will be recounted later.139

2 He created them as an androgynous being, male and female.140 He blessed them and named them together Adam on the day that they were created in this form.141 Eve was then separated from the male half of this being, who retained the name Adam.

3 Adam lived 130 years, and he had a son in his likeness and form, and he named him Seth.

4 Adam lived 800 years after he had Seth, and he had other sons and daughters.

5 All the days that Adam lived came to 930 years, and he died in the year 930.

6 Seth lived 105 years, and in the year 235, he had a son, Enosh.

7 Seth lived 807 years after he had Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters.

8 All the days of Seth came to 912 years, and he died in the year 1042.

9 Enosh lived 90 years, and in the year 325, he had a son, Keinan.

10 Enosh lived 815 years after he had Keinan, and he had other sons and daughters.

11 All the days of Enosh came to 905 years, and he died in the year 1140.

12 Keinan lived 70 years, and in the year 395, he had a son, Mahalalel.

13 Keinan lived 840 years after he had Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters.

14 All the days of Keinan came to 910 years, and he died in the year 1235.

15 Mahalalel lived 65 years, and in the year 460, he had a son, Yered.

16 Mahalalel lived 830 years after he had Yered, and he had other sons and daughters.

17 All the days of Mahalalel came to 895 years, and he died in the year 1290.

18 Yered lived 162 years, and in the year 622, he had a son, Enoch.

19 Yered lived 800 years after he had Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters.

20 All the days of Yered came to 962 years, and he died in the year 1422.

21 Enoch lived 65 years, and in the year 687 he had a son, Methuselah.

22 Unlike the rest of humanity in this era, Enoch walked with God, i.e., he was righteous. He lived for 300 years after he had Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.

23 All the days of Enoch came to 365 years in the year 987.

24 Enoch walked with God, but because God saw that he was no longer able to resist the temptation to sin, God rewarded him for resisting temptation until this point in his life by removing him from the world earlier than he have would otherwise died. Thus, although he did not die as did the rest of humanity, he was no longer in the physical world, because God had taken him alive directly into the afterlife.

Seventh Reading 25 Methuselah lived 187 years, and in the year 874, he had a son, Lemech.

26 Methuselah lived 782 years after he had Lemech, and he had other sons and daughters.

27 All the days of Methuselah came to 969 years, and he died in the year 1656.

28 Lemech lived 182 years, and in the year 1056, he had a son whom God would choose to rebuild the world after the future Flood.

29 Lemech prophetically named him Noah [Noach], saying, "This one will bring us relief [yenachameinu] from our work and from the anguish of our hands caused by the soil that God has cursed." Noah invented the plow, and thus enabled humanity to reap benefit from the soil in a way not possible ever since God had cursed it in response to Adam's142 and Cain's143 sins.

30 Lemech lived 595 years after he had Noah, and he had other sons and daughters.

31 All the days of Lemech came to 777 years, and he died in the year 1651.

32 In the year 1556, when Noah had lived 500 years, he began to have children. Although people usually began having children in those days at a much younger age (as can be seen from the previous lineage list), God kept Noah infertile until this age for two reasons: (a) so that he not have many offspring by the time the flood began—for had they been wicked, they would have been wiped out with the rest of humanity, and had they turned out righteous, Noah would have had to build many arks to save them all from the flood—and (b) so that Noah's eldest son be less than 100 years old when the flood began,144 and thus not be legally culpable.145 Noah had a son, Shem—who was the ancestor of Abraham, the first Jew, and therefore is mentioned first—as well as Shem's younger brother, Ham, and his older brother, Japheth. Japheth was born first, in the year 1556; Shem was born second, in the year 1558; and Ham was the youngest.146

Prelude to the Flood

6:1 The Torah now backtracks in order to recount additional details about how the world became increasingly corrupt during the ten generations from Adam to Noah.

Now when humanity began to increase on the face of the earth and daughters were born to them,

2 the sons of the rulers saw how pretty the rest of humanity's daughters were, and they took themselves wives from whomever they chose. They would take brides from their wedding ceremonies and have intercourse with them before their grooms did. They also practiced forbidden extramarital relations: adultery, homosexuality, and sodomy.

Over time, this degenerate behavior became so pervasive that God considered wiping out humanity. At one point, when these generations were steeped in idolatry, two angels, Shamchazai and Azael, approached God and said, "Master of the Universe, did we not tell You when You created Your world that You should not create man?147 Wipe out humanity!" God replied, "Yes, but what will become of My world after I wipe them out?" They said, "Master of the Universe, we would be happy to have it." God replied, "I know that if you dwell on earth, the evil inclination will overcome you and you will behave even worse than the human race has." They said, "Give us permission to dwell with Your creatures now and You will see how we sanctify Your Name!" He said, "Go and dwell with them." They assumed physical form as extremely large giants.148 They were immediately corrupted by the world's beautiful girls and could not control their impulses.149 They, too, took brides from their bridal chamber and had intercourse with them before their grooms did, and practiced forbidden relations: adultery, homosexuality, and sodomy. Their offspring grew to be giants like them.150

Because of their depravity, humanity gradually lost their Divine image and thereby forfeited the protection it gave them from the animals. The people of these generations had to therefore protect themselves from the attacks of wild beasts, which had been previously afraid of them.151

3 By the year 1536, the situation had reached the point where God said, "My spirit shall not continue to deliberate over humanity forever, since they are mere flesh and nonetheless behave arrogantly. They have 120 years left. If they do not repent, I will wipe them out." In order to encourage them to repent, God commanded Noah to begin building an ark, as will be recounted later.152

Obviously, God knew when He created humanity that society would degenerate, but He created it anyway for the sake of the righteous few who would resist the moral downfall and from whom He would rebuild the world after it was cleansed of its corruption.153

4 The corrupt princes became known as the "fallen ones," for they both "fell," i.e., were wiped out, and caused others to "fall," i.e., be wiped out because of their misdeeds.154 Although they were not giants like the offspring of the fallen angels, they behaved as if they were, doing whatever they pleased. They were on the earth in those early days, i.e., in the days of Enosh and the initial descendants of Cain, and also later, when the sons of the rulers consorted with the daughters of man and they bore them children.155 Even though they witnessed the partial flooding of the world,156 they did not heed this warning, but rather persisted in their wickedness. These princes were the mighty and rebellious ones of old, men whose depravity was indicated by their names, which expressed their anti-Divine philosophy and lifestyle.157 Their idolatry and sexual excesses led them into disrespect for property rights, as well, and thus the foundations of society—honesty, integrity, and justice—were undermined and replaced by dishonesty, corruption, and larceny. Their behavior made the world into an uncivilized, frightening place in which to live.

5 From all this, after the 120-year period of waiting, God saw how great was man's wickedness on earth, and that every impulse of the thoughts of his heart was only for evil, all day long. In particular, their antinomian behavior toward each other all but negated the justification for the world's existence, since God intended the world to function in a moral fashion.158

6 God was comforted by the fact that He created humanity as earthly beings, for at least that way they could not incite the angels to rebel against Him, as well. In His heart, God decided to grieve for humanity. Because of their misdeeds,159 God changed His attitude toward the fact that He had made humanity on earth: instead of relating to them through mercy, He evaluated them in terms of judgment, and found them overwhelmingly unworthy and deserving to be destroyed. But His heart was pained over the prospect of destroying all humanity.

7 So God said, "Instead of destroying humanity altogether, I will only wipe out those who are culpable. I made human beings out of earth, so I will simply dissolve the errant elements of humanity, which I have created, from the face of the earth by flooding the world with water. Furthermore, because the animals engaged in cross-species breeding, I will destroy them as well—from human to livestock, reptiles, and even birds of the sky. (Even had the animals not become degenerate, I would have to eliminate them, for I created them for the sake of humanity, so if I wipe out most of humanity, they are superfluous.) For I have changed My mind from My previous thought to destroy them altogether, for after all, I created them. Since they are My creations, they should be preserved to whatever extent possible. Furthermore, it is because the world is innately not conducive to repentance that humanity did not repent properly during all these years. I need to 're-create' the world such that it is easier to refine reality and to repent."160

8 Out of the entire human race, only Noah found favor in the eyes of God. He and his family were righteous, so God's resolve to obliterate the guilty elements of humanity did not apply to them.161 God therefore had to provide a way for this family to survive the impending flood and regenerate humanity afterwards.