1) What was the nature of the first created being?

2) Did the woman hear the commandment not to eat of the fruit?

3) When was the woman given her proper name?


Nachmanides in his commentary on the Book of Genesis formulated the following principle for the hexahemeron: “During the first day G‑d created everything from nothing, and He subsequently made everything come into being from that initial substance.

Thus, the initial substance contained all the potential causes for all potential effects (future creations) that were actualized as a result of the L‑rd’s work.

The notions of potential cause and potential effect (as well as the actual cause and actual effect) were coined by the Greek philosophers. Let us give an example they would have used. A piece of potter’s clay already contains the potential reason of a pot that is actualized through the potter’s work. Thus, we may say that the dust from the ground already contained a potential reason for the body of the first man to appear and that reason became actual as a result of G‑d’s work.

The First Man: Who Was He?

This is how the Torah describes the process of creating mankind (Genesis 1:27): “G‑d created man in His own image, in the image of G‑d He created him; male and female He created them.” Rashi interprets this verse as follows: “The Midrash Aggadah explains that He originally created him with two faces [male and female], and afterwards, He divided him.” Another interpretation also cited by Rashi: “The simple meaning of the verse is that here Scripture informs you that they were both created on the sixth [day], but it does not explain to you how they were created, and it explains [that] to you elsewhere [that the woman was created from the man’s rib].

Below we will demonstrate that both these interpretations are correct. To my mind, the aggadic interpretation describing a two-faced creature should be taken not literally but as a hint with a deeper sense.

So who was created? Science gives us an answer. Today we know that the ovum contains two female chromosomes (ХХ) and that sperm contains both male and female chromosomes (ХY). Thus, the man is both “male and female.” So we may conclude that man was created first of the dust from the ground, and the words of the Scripture “male and female He created them” mean that men have two chromosomes, i.e. X and Y. It should also be noted that the Х chromosome was the potential reason for a woman to appear and this reason was actualized through G‑d’s work: “G‑d fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man.”

The Woman’s Role in the Original Sin

Adam was commanded not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil before the woman was created. So the woman could not have heard this commandment.1 Rather she must have heard it from Adam. We would like to note that the commandment heard directly from G‑d and the commandment heard from a man have different effects. Perhaps, this is why the woman contributed her own interpretation to this commandment, saying that it is also forbidden to touch.

Scripture says that Adam named his wife Chavah (Eve) after the sin was committed and the punishment was announced (Genesis 3:20).2

Judaism attaches much importance to the name. The Book of Formation (Sefer Yetzirah), traditionally ascribed to Abraham, says that the universe was created through ten Sefirots and twenty-two letters of the sacred language. The letters imply speech. In his Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides writes that speech of the L‑rd shall not be treated the same way as human sayings, as He does not have a tongue or vocal cords, but it is absolutely clear that the letters of the holy language and the sounds corresponding to such letters reflect the essence of all things created.

The names are also formed by the letters of the sacred language. It links the person’s soul and its roots located in the higher worlds, and thus the name gives the soul its spiritual power. Midrash Tanhuma says: “One should always be careful choosing a name for one’s child, for at times the name itself can be an influence for good or bad.”

According to the Maharshah’s commentary to Talmud: “The Divine Plan is cascaded to the man through the name given to him.

So the conclusions are as follows:

а) The woman has not heard the prohibiting commandment of the L‑rd.

b) The woman was not given a name, so she did not have enough spiritual power to resist temptation. So the snake took advantage of this.

Another question arises. Why did Adam decide to give the woman her proper name of Chavah after the sin was committed? To my mind, the answer is as follows. Before the sin was committed, Adam had prospects for an almost angel-like life, free of good, evil or problems. This is why self-sufficient Adam did not realize the role the woman played in his life. After the sin was committed, Adam realized what a complicated life full of problems he had to live. He realized that he could live this life only jointly with his wife, who is not only the source of his delights, but his friend and partner in everything he does. Such a woman had to have a name. That is why he gave her the name, Chavah.