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Where Adam was when Chava was sinning with the snake?

For me, it looks that Eden doesn't seem to be a huge place to walk around and Adam was so excited to have a woman by his side, also Adam and Chava didn't have anything important to do, after all, they weren't positively commanded on doing anything.

  • 1
    Can you give any source for your three assertions? It's still a valid (and reasonable) question to ask where Adam was during this story, but adding three unsourced (and possibly inaccurate) statements detracts from the question. – Salmononius2 Mar 10 at 0:57
  • @Salmononius2 redacted. You can add your own suggestions. – Al Berko Mar 10 at 1:37
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Bereishis Rabbah 19:3:

וְהֵיכָן הָיָה אָדָם בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה, אַבָּא בַּר קוֹרְיָיה אָמַר נִתְעַסֵּק בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ וְיָשַׁן לוֹ. רַבָּנָן אַמְרֵי נְטָלוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְהֶחֱזִירוֹ בְּכָל הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ, אָמַר לוֹ כָּאן בֵּית נֶטַע, כָּאן בֵּית זֶרַע, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (ירמיה ב, ו): בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא עָבַר בָּהּ אִישׁ וְלֹא יָשַׁב אָדָם שָׁם, לֹא יָשַׁב אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן שָׁם.

So either Adam was sleeping after having had relations with Chava, or Hashem had sent him on a world tour to identify the various types of agricultural lands.

A couple of the assumptions in the OP are also questionable:

  • "Eden doesn't seem to be a huge place to walk around": (1) they were actually in the Garden, not in Eden itself. Those aren't the same - "a river flows out of Eden to water the Garden" (Bereishis 2:10), and Chazal point out that no human eye has ever seen Eden (Berachos 34b, Sanhedrin 99a). (2) Chazal also state (Pesachim 94a, Taanis 10a) that the entire world is 1/60 of the Garden, which in turn is 1/60 of Eden. True that such expressions aren't necessarily literal, it would still mean that the Garden (let alone Eden) is pretty big.

  • "Adam and Chava didn't have anything important to do, after all, they weren't positively commanded on doing anything": what about לעבדה ולשמרה? Whether you take those in the literal sense, or as referring to mitzvos,* that's definitely something they were commanded to do.

* A number of early acharonim (Alshich, Shaloh, etc.) quote a maamar Chazal לעבדה אלו מצות עשה ולשמרה אלו מצות לא תעשה, though I haven't found the original source. In Bereishis Rabbah 16:5 it does bring one opinion that they refer to working during the six weekdays and keeping Shabbos, and another that they refer to the korbanos.

  • Great! So "what about לעבדה ולשמרה" - are you referring to the 7 Mitzvos? Only one of them (Dayonim) is positive. What positive Mitzvos did they have לשמרה really? – Al Berko Mar 10 at 14:43
  • 2. I always thought "נִתְעַסֵּק בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ וְיָשַׁן לוֹ" was following the sin, not preceding it (or it WAS the sin)? – Al Berko Mar 10 at 14:44
  • @AlBerko (1) even the 7 mitzvos may contain some positive things to do - I think there are rishonim who say that והלכת בדרכיו is incumbent on Bnei Noach too. (See also Chullin 92a, שלשים מצות שקבלו עליהם בני נח.) And if we say that לעבדה refers to working during the 6 days or to korbanos, then those are certainly positive. (It's also possible that לעבדה אלו מ"ע means all of them - if not doing them in practice, then at least deducing as many of their details as possible, similar to the way Avraham Avinu later on קיים כל התורה כולה before it was given.) – Meir Mar 10 at 16:39
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    And (2) chas veshalom that דרך ארץ should be a sin! That's a Christian idea; in our sources it's the holiest act possible, when done בקדושה ובטהרה (see Iggeres Haramban). At worst, it was that they did it לעין כל and thereby got the snake jealous (see Rashi on Bereishis 3:1 and 3:20). See also Sanhedrin 38b, that their first relations (and the conception of Kayin and his twin, see Tosafos there) took place before Adam was even commanded about the Eitz Hadaas. – Meir Mar 10 at 16:44
  • You're right once again, however, I saw a Midrash that G-d promised Satan or something that every copulation will be partially a sin or include a sin or something, So it seems that we invented the idea. – Al Berko Mar 10 at 19:58
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Where was Adam in the garden when the snake tempted Eve (Chava)? Nowhere. Because the temptation of Eve never happened.[1]

Additionally, how could Chava be fooled or cheated by a snake when they can't actually speak? We know that animals do not speak because it is contrary to the nature of things. A breach in the laws of nature. The truth is: natural law is fixed and needs no change. To suggest otherwise is arrogance in claiming that they alone know better than the Creator. As empirical observations well tell you, animals simply do not possess highly evolved language skills nor the complexity of writing. How then, should we reinterpret the Bible, especially Genesis? It was a parable. Which is to say that animals do not have the same kind of vocal cords as humans. At best parrots can talk, but they only go by repetition and cannot produce sentence structures on their own. What then, is the metaphor?

The "Garden of Eden" story is about morality and intelligence, and the duty and obligation to develop one's intelligence. It is certainly a mitzvah, one in which the Torah expects us to observe. Verbal intelligence is the tzelem Elohim, “the image (or, form) of G-d,” often mistaken to be the soul, (or in Hebrew שפנ). 

Genesis 2:7 reads:

“The L-rd G-d formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a nefesh chayah.”

Onkelos does not render this simply as “a living being,” but characterizes this as man's ruach m’mal’la, “one with the power of speech,” a phrase denoting a certain level of intelligence.

Since G-d does not emit evil it is inconceivable to image that G-d would produce or create "dark forces" such as Satan or malevolent talking serpents (snakes) to manipulate or distort the creation of the world in which the Bible calls "Very good." In fact, it would be an insult to G-d and His Torah, G-d forbid, if people were to read the text in a literal fashion, promoting secularist to mock religion. Indeed the Zohars call such a person a fool.

In a similar vein, the Mishnah Hagigah 2:1 states:

“Whoever has no regard for the honor (kevod) of his creator is worthy of not having come into the world.”

In his commentary to the Mishnah, Maimonides explains “the honor of his creator”:

“This means whoever has no regard for his intellect, for the intellect is the glory of G-d.”

Thus the lack of use of one's intelligence when decerning these matters would be anti-religious and certainly not pious. G-d desires that we use our intellection and our five senses when reading scripture. In short, to do otherwise would be akin to one who commits intellectual suicide since our intelligence is, in essence, the only thing that separates us from animals, "an image of G-d."

[1] It is worth mentioning here that Adam and Eve most certainly did exist but that they had a mother and a father like you and me.

  • Although from a traditional standpoint, one in which resembles mythology, it would be interesting to see a traditional answer regarding this. – Turk Hill Oct 21 at 0:29
  • Correction: By "tradition" I mean some talmudic but mostly comprising the writings of the mystics. – Turk Hill Oct 21 at 4:14
  • Thank you for your effort in writing this long answer. 1. I would like to understand how you interpret the explicit passages in the Torah. You say "The "Garden of Eden" story is about morality and intelligence", is still a story. 2. As others understand it more literally I'd like to hear an answer for those who describe it as happening in real. – Al Berko Oct 21 at 16:27
  • Thank you for reading! From a traditional standpoint, I would imagine that the garden must not have been very big. Of course, they are some who say every plant and tree or vegetation substance existed within the garden. If this is so, one could imagine that the garden is the amazon (being so large, we still do not know what new species of plants exist therein). – Turk Hill Oct 21 at 17:38
  • If we take the latter approach, Adam could have been anywhere. Who knows because the garden would be so large. Presumably, he was not close to Eve at the happening and only later returned. There is no reason to think Adam traveled no further than 200 yards in his lifetime. Another approach though less realistic could be that he fell asleep. OR maybe he was feeding or caring for the other animals. The list is endless. – Turk Hill Oct 21 at 17:38

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