Noahide Seven Commandments Torah classes
© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
ADULTERY-1: Where and when was Eden?
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
: “Thou shall not commit ADULTERY” (Exodus 20:13)
1: Two Signatures: Of Noah and Moses
Today we move in our study from the First Commandment of Noah, IDOLATRY, to the Second: ADULTERY.
Let’s recall that in Eden, Adam and Eve received the ‘primordial’ Six Commandments that are:
(II) (II) ADUTERY
(III) (III) BLOODSHED
(IV) (IV) THEFT
(V) (V) INJUSTICE
(VI) (VI) BLASPHEMY.
The seventh Commandment was added by Noah after the Flood, namely the prohibition to consume blood and limbs torn from a living animal (meaning: no cruelty!
The prohibition of ADULTERY was repeated by Moses to Israel in the Ten Commandments, saying:
By repeating it to Israel, Moses made it applicable to both the Children of Noah and the Children of Israel. This follows the Talmudic rule that “Every commandment given to Noah and repeated by Moses to Israel, applies to both.” (Sanhedrin) The whole world listens to Moses. But Moses in his modesty tells the nations to listen to their forefather Noah.
From where can we learn about ADULTERY?
Moses assumes, in the Ten Commandments, that the ‘reader’ is already aware of what ADULTERY is. The reader should know it from the Book of Genesis, in particular from the story of the Garden of Eden. In Eden, as we’ll see, the topic of ADULTERY is no only introduced as a Commandment, but also as amoral dictum wrapped with the issues of Love, Marriage, Jealoucy, Sexual enticement, Evil, Spiritual Hells which is the opposite of Paradise. ADULTERY is introduced here as something that cuts off our connection to YHVH (HaSheM).
Hence the Torah takes us from introducing IDOLATRY in Chapter One, to ADULTERY in chapter 2.
Chapter One introduces IDALATRY to its kinds, in details, as we’ve learned in our previous classes.
Now Chapter Two introduces Essence of ADULTERY to its kinds.
Later the Torah continues to introduce the rest of the Commandments, one by one, throughout the Book of Genesis, Thus
The Third Commandment, BLOODSHED, is introduced by Cain killing Abel.
The Fourth, THEFT, is introduced through Abraham
The Fifth, JUSTICE, is introduced through Jacob
The Sixth, BLASPHEMY, is introduced through Joseph.
As we begin our study of the Garden of Eden, let’s keep those questions on our mind:
(1) What is the Primordial Sin, exactly? Was it SEX or ADULTERY?
(2) What causes them to become ashamed of their nakedness? Isn’t nakedness natural?
(3) Is Marriage a convenient social contract, or a sacred institution?
(4) How many sexual prohibitions are included in ADULERY?
(5) Where exactly is Eden?
(6) What was the Tree of Life? Is it lost?
(7) What was the new knowledge they acquired by eating the forbidden fruit? What could they GAIN by sinning?
These and other points will be elucidated as we read and study the text:
2: The text of Eden’s trial
The story of Eden begins by describing who created Eden, when did it happen and where Eden is.
(Introduction to the story of Eden)
“These are the histories of the Heavens and the Earth (how many histories?)
when they were re-created (what does this mean?)
on the Day thatYHVH ELoKiM (why the Attributes together?)
Made Earth and Heavens…” (Genesis 2: 4) (why the order is in reverse?)
(When was Eden formed?)
“And there was no shrub of the field was yet on Earth ‘
And the grass of the field had not yet grown
ForYHVH ELoKiMhad not yet showered rain on Earth (what Day could this be?)
And there was no Adam to till the ground but there went up a mist from the ground
and watered the whole face of the Earth”
(Forming Adam in Eden)
”AndYHVH ELoKiM formed the Adam from the dust of the ground, (why ‘formed’?)
and He blew in his nostrils a breath of life, Neshama,
and Adam became a Nefesh Chayah, a living soul…” (Genesis 2: 7)
(Forming the Garden of Eden)
“…AndYHVH ELoKiMplanted a garden east of Eden
And He placed in there the Adam whom He had formed
And out of the groundYHVH ELoKiMmade to grow
Every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food
And the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden
And the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil…” (Genesis 2:9)
(Adam’s task in Eden)
“AndYHVH ELoKiMtook the Adam,
and He placed him in the Garden of Eden
To till it and to keep it…”(Genesis 2:15)
(Giving Adam the Six Commandments)
“AndYHVH ELoKiMCommanded on the Adam, saying,
of every tree of the Garden you may freely eat
But of the ‘Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil’ you shall not eat of it
For on the Day that you eat of it you shall surely die….” (Genesis 2:16-17)
You know the story of Eden. It is one of the most famous stories ever told. The CREATOR ‘formed’ a Garden, called Eden, then ‘formed’ an Adam and placed him there. Adam proved to be very smart, a Homo Sapience, capable of naming all the creature with the “right names.” The CREATOR then warned Adam that he may eat from all the trees in the Garden, yet from “the Tree Of Knowledge of Good and Evil” he should not eat, since “the day you eat of it you shall die.”
Seeing that Adam was lonely, the CREATOR ‘formed’ a woman from Adam’s SIDE (not rib) to be a “help against him.” But there was in Eden a creature called The Serpent, which could walk and talk like humans and was sexually attractive to ‘the woman.’ Being a “beast of the filed” it went naked and unashamed. But the humans too at that stage went around naked and unashamed. The ‘cunning’ Serpent enticed ‘the woman’ (not yet called Eve) to eat from the forbidden fruit. She did, and also gave it to her husband, Adam (they were married.) According to tradition, she might have also sexually cohabited with the Serpent, which makes her adulteress. Thus, they violated both IDOLATRY (by not listening to the CREATOR) and ADULTERY. Eating the forbidden fruit ‘opened their eyes’ so that they became ashamed of their nakedness, the first time ever. (What indeed did they acquire by the eating?)
The CREATOR expected them to confess and repent, but they missed the opportunity. The CREATOR kept calling “Adam, where are you?” But Adam blamed his wife, and she the Serpent. Having failed to repent they were driven out of Eden to live on Earth. Here on Earth they would encounter DEATH and EVIL the first time.
What is exactly the moral message here? Does it have any implication to our life?
3: Who exactly formed Eden?
The introductory verse answers this as follows:
“These are the histories of the Heavens and the Earth (how many histories there were?)
When they were re-created, (what does it mean?)
on the Day thatYHVH ELoKiM (why the two Names Side by Side?)
Made Earth and Heavens (why the order in reverse?)
And there was no shrub of the field was yet on Earth
And the grass of the field had not yet grown (what Day of CREATION was it?)
ForYHVH ELoKiMhad not yet showered rain on Earth
And there was no Adam to till the ground….
And YHVH ELKM formed the Adam from the ground…”(why ‘formed’?) (Genesis 2:5)
The Story of Eden Continues Chapter One
Most non-Jewish commentaries regard the story of Eden as an independent, self-standing story, a myth. Some see a connection between this story and other similar legends of the ancient time. But we’ve already established the uniqueness of Moses’ Genesis in comparison to the ancient myths. We have seen how truthful Moses account of CREATION is, how it fits our scientific narrative. If so, the rest of Moses account of CREATION in Genesis Chapter 2 should also be truthful, loaded with moral messages that should never be overlooked.
Thus, according to tradition, the story of Eden in Chapter 2 continues the story of CREATION in Chapter One. Moses adds here new information, elucidating and finishing the story of Adam creation. In fact, Chapter two, Eden, begins exactly where Chapter One ends.
The first thing noticeable in the story of Eden is the change in the Attributes’ appearance.
Whereas in Chapter One, ELoKiM appears alone 35 times (32 in six Days plus 3 in the Sabbath)
and YHVH appears only once, as a hidden, modest acronym, seen only by LEARNT EYE (indeed, MERCY is not seen in the open in Nature)
Here in the story of Eden the two Attributes appear together ‘side by side’ as YHVH ELKM. In fact, here we see YHVH in the open the first time ever, but not ‘alone’. She appears only alongside ELKM.
we should note how exceptional this presentation is. In no other place in the rest of the Torah the two Attribute ever appear so close to each other, Wing touching Wing, with no word separating them.
How many times ‘YHVH ELoKiM’ appears in the story of Eden? Exactly 20 times, twice the number that ELKM said “let it be” in chapter One.
Hence YHVH ELKM together is double the effect of ELKM on Nature. As the Psalm song says: YHVH ELKM ‘consolidated’ the CREATION of Chapter One.
Like two Cherubs in Love
In Chapter One, YHVH, as the BRIDE, entered ELKM’s world, Her GROOM’S world, by His “invitation.” OBSERVING it, She assessed whether or not She would be comfortable dwelling there.
But here in Chapter Two, where the story of Eden begins, the BRIDE has already entered the GROOM’S Home to Dwell SIDE BY SIDE with Him, as YHVH ELKM. Like a couple in Love, they touch each other, Wing against Wing, the way Moses depicted them on the Holy Ark.
Now the Attributes, as Heavenly Parent(s) were ready to form their child Adam in Oneness and Love.
Note that the Hebrew word ‘eden’ refers to delicate, sensual SEXUAL pleasure and love. For instance: when Sarah, at age 90, was impregnated she called up in wonder: “Behold! I’m old, and yet I‘ve had an edna,” pleasure, (Genesis 8: 12) .
Here are listed the 20 times YHVH ELoKiM appears in the story of Eden:
(1) On the Day thatYHVH ELoKiMmade Earth and Heavens (Genesis 2: 4)
(2) ForYHVH ELoKiMhas not sent yet rain upon the Earth (Genesis 2: 5)
(3) AndYHVH ELoKiMformed the Adam, dust from the ground (Genesis 2: 7)
(4) AndYHVH ELoKiMplanted a garden in Eden, at the east (Genesis 2: 8)
(5) AndYHVH ELoKiMcaused to sprout from the ground every (Genesis 2: 9)
(6)YHVH ELoKiMtook the Adam and placed him in the Garden (Genesis 2: 15)
(7) AndYHVH ELoKiMcommanded on the Adam saying (Genesis2: 16)
(8)YHVH ELoKiMsaid it is not good for the Adam to be alone (Genesis 2: 18)
(9) AndYHVH ELoKiMformed from the ground every beast (Genesis 2: 19)
(10) AndYHVH ELoKiMcast a deep sleep on the Adam (Genesis 2: 21)
(11)YHVH ELoKiMbuilt the side that He had taken from Adam (Genesis 2: 22)
(12) The Serpent was cunning…thatYHVH ELoKiMhad made (Genesis 3: 2)
(13)They head the voice ofYHVH ELoKiMwalking in the Garden (Genesis 3: 8)
(14) Adam and his wife hid fromYHVH ELoKiMamong the trees (Genesis 3: 8)
(15) AndYHVH ELoKiMcalled the Adam saying where are you (Genesis 3: 9)
(16) AndYHVH ELoKiMtold the woman what have you done (Genesis 3: 13)
(17) YHVH ELoKiM told the serpent because you have done this (Genesis 3: 14)
(18) AndYHVH ELoKiMmade to Adam and his wife garments (Genesis 3: 21)
(19) AndYHVH ELoKiMsaid behold, Adam has become like (Genesis 3: 22)
(20) AndYHVH ELoKiMsent him out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3: 23)
You see here that throughout the entire story of Eden, the Attributes appear ONLY as SIDE BY SIDE, never alone.
4: When and where was Eden formed?
The introductory verses give the answer:
“These are the histories of the Heavens and the Earth
When they were re-created,
On the Day thatYHVH ELoKiM
Made Earth and Heavens
And there was no shrub of the field was yet on Earth,
not even rain….” (Genesis 2: 4-5)
How many histories the World has?
“These are the histories…” Hence the world has at least two histories. How?
The answer is given by the verse. It says that YHVH ELKM “re-created” “Earth and Heavens,” in reverse order.
So, whereas Chapter One says that ELoKiM created ‘The Heavens and the Earth’ in that order,
Chapter Two says that YHVH ELoKiM ‘re-created’ ‘Earth and Heavens,’ in reverse direction.
Hence the World indeed has two ‘histories’:
One ‘forwards’ from ‘Heavens to Earth,’ created by ELoKiM
The second ‘backwards,’ from ‘Earth to Heavens’ or ‘re-created’ by YHVH ELoKiM.
What exactly happened?
5: YHVH ELoKiM Consolidated the World
They flew backwards
There is only one way to reconcile these verses.
At first the world was created by ELKM, acting awesomely alone, as described in Chapter One
Then, as stated at the end of Chapter One, YHVH entered our world, to join ELKM in creating Adam.
Then, holding Wing against Wing, like two Cherubs in Love,
YHVH ELKM ‘flew backwards’ over the entire CREATION, from the Sixth to the Beginning
consolidating it by their Love and Oneness. Henceforth it would not falter.
Thus they flew
From the Sixth to the Fifth,
From the Fifth to the Fourth,
From the Fourth to the Third,
From the Third to the Second and the First
Re-creating and consolidating the World in their Oneness, so that it “would not falter.” We would say: CREATION rewind!
Henceforth the World would sail safely to the shores of the Eternal Sabbath, AS LONG AS YHVH DWELLS IN IT.
If we, Mankind, do not keep YHVH in our heart, She would fly away and leave us in the hands of ELKM alone. What would we do then, without our DEFENSE in the Heavenly Court?
This story is told in the Psalm that the Levite Choir used to chant in the Holy Temple on every sixth day of the week.
As you may know, on each day the week, the choir choose a ‘Psalm for the day’ that describes the events that happened on that day in Genesis.
The Psalm selected for the “sixth day of the week” says:
“YHVH will have reigned, He will have donned grandeur.
He will have donned might and girded Himself,
Even the world was CONSOLIDATED so that it should not falter…”(Psalm 93)
In this Psalm, King David praises YHVH for coming to ‘reign over the world’ and ‘consolidate’ it, so that ‘it would not falter.’ Since this had happened at the junction between our Sixth Day and the Sabbath, there is no wonder that the Levite Choir chose to chant it on the Sixth day of the week. We also repeat it on each Friday evening at the last moment before the entering of our Sabbath.
6: On what Day was Eden formed?
Having re-created the World and consolidating it,
the Attributes YHVH ELoKiM ‘formed’ the Garden of Eden.
When exactly did this happen? The verse describes this in details.
The Garden of Eden was ‘formed,’ the verse says, on a Day when there was no grass, no shrub, no tree and not even rain on Earth. What Day could this be? It must be the THIRD Day, before the Heavenly Court seeded life on Earth (Talmud)
Thus on one hand, Chapter One says that Adam was MADE on the Sixth Day.
On the other hand, Chapter two says that Adam was FORMED on the Third Day.
Imagine - the Garden of Eden, full of beautiful Trees full of fruits, was FORMED before there was any grass, shrub or tree on Earth, not even rain!
There is no contradiction here. As the two Attributes YHVH ELKM flew over CREATION and consolidated it backwards, from the Sixth Day to Day One, they FORMED the Garden of Eden on the THRD Day. They ‘parked’ on the THIRD Day BEFOROE THRERE WAS ANY SEED O FLIFE ON EARTH, and FORMED the Garden of Eden, including Adam, for a trial.
A hint for this lies also in Chapter One: On the THIRD Day, it says, after separating the Dry Land from the Sea, ELoKiM conducted a midday trial, to decide whether or not He would seed life on Earth. Now we know the nature of this midday trial: it was Eden trial.
7: Forming Vs Making and Creating
The key to comprehend the above lies in the three Hebrew terms: ‘to create,’ to make’ and ‘to form.’
As it happens, the entire story of Eden is written using the verb ‘to form’, like in the following:
”AndYHVH ELoKiM FORMED the Adam from the dust of the ground…” (Genesis 2: 7.)
AndYHVH ELoKiMplanted a garden east of Eden, and He placed in there the Adam whom He had FORMED….” (Genesis 2:15)
What is the difference between CREATE, FORM and MAKE?
(1) To CREATE Beriah, is to conceive an idea in general terms
(2) To FORM Yezirah, is to plan in details how to implement the general idea
(3) To MAKE Assiah, is to finally implement the plan in reality
For example: Building a house I would take me into these three phases:
(1) I’d first ‘conceive’ the general idea of the house on my mind: would it be residential or commercial? Would it be small or large? What would be its style? At this stage I entertain the house on the level of ‘the World of Creating,’ ‘Beriah.’
(2) Next I‘d engage an architect who’d draw a master plan for the house in details. Every nail and pole is considered. At this stage, the house is in the “World of Forming,” Yetzirah.
(3) Next, when I engage a contractor, he would implement the plan and place the house on the ground, in the real world, “the world of Making “’Assiah.
Every human endeavor would pass through these three stages.
A Virtual Garden and a virtual Adam
Hence the Garden of Eden was FORMED in the World of Planning, Yezirah, like on a blue print or better; on the virtual computer’s screen. Adam was placed there on a trial: if He wins, he and his wife would stay there forever, without being MADE on real Earth. If he loses, he and his wife would be MADE on real Earth.
Tradition says that the Garden of Eden was formed as a ‘bubble’ hovering the Holy Land. It has two GATES:
One gate opens to Mt. Moriah, into the site where the Holy of Holy would later stand.
The second gate opens into the Cave of the Patriarchs in the city of Hebron; where Adam and Eve, and the patriarchs Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Lea are buried.
So do not seek Eden in the lost sands of Mesopotamia or in southern Iraq. Look for Eden, rather, in the space above the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The virtues of Eden
Eden had many good (virtual) trees in it, among them the “Tree of Life” that protects its inhabitants from the Angel of Death. Eden is a place of Heavenly Love, bereaved of Pains and Death. Had Adam won his trial there, he and ‘the woman’ could have stayed there forever, till the arrival of the Eternal Sabbath, without being exposed to Death on Earth. This option was offered to them by the ‘Parent’ YHVH ELoKiM ‘glued’ together in Oneness and Love.
8: The trial of Eden
Adam trial in Eden is described in general terms by the following words:
“And YHVH ELoKiM took the Adam
and He placed him in the Garden of Eden
To till it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15)
Adam had to EARN living in Eden. No free lunch even in the Garden of Eden. That is understood, considering that ELKM the JUDGE participated in FROMING the Garden. Adam and his wife would have to ‘till it’ and ‘preserve it, ’referring to spiritual tasks, rather than manual ones. (later, on earth, these would turn to be real manual heavy tasks.) Some commentaries see the phrase “ill it” as referring to ‘positive’ Commandments (to do something) whereas “preserve it” referring to negative’ ones (do not do something). At this point, though, no commandment is yet given.
But all agree that the trial of Eden was relatively easy to win: only One Commandment (Rashi,) the prohibition to eat from the forbidden fruit. At the same time, it was also very easy to lose: violating just one Commandment would carry terrible repercussion: loosing Eden! .
9: Why was Eden Formed?
“the moment you eat from this Tree of Knowing Good and Evil you shall die.”
Eden is like a virtual ‘Heavenly Womb’ where Adam and the woman were formed, before being MADE on real Earth.
Eden was formed on the THRID Day as a trial. The Heavenly Court decided by it whether or not to seed life on Earth. Once Adam failed his trial in Eden, YHVH ELKM decided to bring him on earth: first by seeding life on Earth on the Third Day, then through evolution to appear on Earth on the Sixth Day.
The point is, that instead of MAKING Adam right away on REAL Earth on the Sixth Day, facing the unavoidable harsh Judgment of ELKM, which includes Death, ‘YHVH ELoKiM’ decided to offer Adam a chance to be FORMED first in Eden, and possibly stay there till the Eternal Sabbath arrives. Had he stayed in Eden, he and his wife would have never encounter Evil and Death on Earth. This is why YHVH ELKM told Adam:
Eating the fruit would drive them out of Eden to face Evil and Death on earth.
Note that It was the advent of the Merciful YHVH in the newly formed Heavenly Court (of YHVH ELKM) that gave Adam an option of avoiding seeing Evil on Earth.
END OF ADULTERY CLASS ONE