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וּמֵעֵץ, הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע--לֹא תֹאכַל, מִמֶּנּוּ: כִּי, בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְךָ מִמֶּנּוּ--מוֹת תָּמוּת. - Bereshis 2:17

Why did not not kill Adam and Eve the very day they ate from the tree of knowledge like he said he would?

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he.wikisource.org/wiki/… – Double AA May 11 '14 at 1:33
@DoubleAA that's highly allegorical. Does that mean every time God uses the word day it really means 1,000 years? If not how do we differentiate? Furthermore it makes the threat of punishment to Adam and Eve meaningless, how did they know how long they would have lived anyway? – not-allowed to change my name May 11 '14 at 1:37
They'd have lived forever 3:22. In any event this whole question is based on a hyperilteral read of the verses. Not very exciting. – Double AA May 11 '14 at 1:39
closely related judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/33732/… – Danno May 11 '14 at 1:43
@double, how, exactly, is this hyperliteral? It's just what the Pasuk says at face value. I mean, it's literal, but the Pasuk does call out for a literal read. I think it's quite a good and fair question. – Seth J May 11 '14 at 1:44

There is a principle of שלוחו של אדם כמותו, that the sending out of Adam is like his death.

But more seriously, on a peshat level, once we look at the context, we can say that this brought mortality to the world, and to humanity. On the day that you eat from the tree, you will become mortal. Which was then why he had to be prevented from eating from the tree of life.

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could it also be related to the language for a death penalty (like mot yumat) not meaning "you will die" but "you are liable to a penalty of death" – Danno May 11 '14 at 1:48
do you have any source that they were not mortal or that everything living was not able to die before that? if Adam had drowned Eve would she have not died? – not-allowed to change my name May 11 '14 at 2:00
source: yes, midrash rabba, which also states that they fed all the animals from the fruit, which is why animals are mortal, except for the phoenix, which refused to eat. – josh waxman May 11 '14 at 3:19
but sources are not so relevant from my perspective. more, the text. see the words God uses in His punishment, which implies mortality. בְּזֵעַת אַפֶּיךָ, תֹּאכַל לֶחֶם, עַד שׁוּבְךָ אֶל-הָאֲדָמָה, כִּי מִמֶּנָּה לֻקָּחְתָּ: כִּי-עָפָר אַתָּה, וְאֶל-עָפָר תָּשׁוּב. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'" – josh waxman May 11 '14 at 3:21

Simply put, HaShem had mercy (link, quoting Vayikra Rabbah 29).

Alternatively, 1000 years is considered one day (Psalms 90:4), so Adam did die on the same "day" as he lived 930 years.

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It might also be worth clarifying that Adam was given 1000 years to live (making it more accurate to the 1000 years equals 1 day equation), but he 'donated' 70 years of his life to David, as per the Medrash. – Salmononius2 May 12 '14 at 23:09

The Ramban brings 3 answers to this question (one of which is citing non-Jewish philosophers that I am not sure he is agreeing to, so I won't be quoting it):

1st explanation:

בעת שתאכל ממנו תהיה בן מות וכמוהו ביום צאתך והלכת אנה ואנה ידוע תדע כי מות תמות (מלכים א ב מב) שאין הכוונה שימות מיד בו ביום ואין הכוונה לידיעה בלבד שידע שימות כי החיים יודעים שימותו כלם אבל הכוונה כי בעת שיצא יהיה חייב מיתה למלך והוא ימית אותו כאשר ירצה

(Translation mine) At the time at which he eats from it he would be subject to death. The intent is not that he would die immediately, nor that he will know that he will [eventually] die, as all life knows they will [eventually] die. Rather, at that point he will be liable to a death penalty, and the King will kill him at the point at which He wants to.

Third explanation:

ועל דעת רבותינו (עיין שבת נה) אלמלא שחטא לא מת לעולם כי הנשמה העליונית נותנת לו חיים לעד והחפץ האלהי אשר בו בעת היצירה יהיה דבק בו תמיד והוא יקיים אותו לעד

(Translation mine) According to our Sages, had he not sinned he would have never died, as his supernal soul would have given him eternal life, and the G-dly will which willed his creation would have maintained him eternally.

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