I'm still trying to grasp the way of transmission of the Torah knowledge from day 1. This question can equally deal with two phenomena: the commandment of eating the forbidden fruit or the commandment of the 7 Laws.

IIRC (please correct me if I'm mistaken):

  1. G-d creates Adam
  2. G-d commands Adam not to eat the fruit and (independently) keep the 7 Laws
  3. It is clear that G-d expects all humans to observe the commandments given to Adam.
  4. G-d doesn't command Adam to pass it on to other humans, his wife or sons or descendants.

  5. G-d harshly judges Eve and Adam's descendants for not keeping the commandments.

The necessity of passing the commandments is absolutely crucial for the justification of G-d's judgment both for Eve eating the fruit or Kain killing Abel.

This is true for all following generations that could claim that though Adam was commanded, he didn't bother teaching the future generations, just as he didn't bother to teach his own wife.

Why didn't G-d care to command Adam (and following generations) on passing the original Law on?

  • @ Al Berko, could you clarify in b. "and/or"?
    – gamliela
    Oct 31, 2019 at 11:25
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    @gamliela I edited. THe question refers to the two examples of commandments that were eventually transgressed
    – Al Berko
    Oct 31, 2019 at 11:27
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    Where are you getting number 3 from? We know that Eve did know about some prohibition, she says it explicitly in the Torah to the snake (albeit an inaccurately restrictive prohibition). Clearly, Adam did convey some sort of prohibition to her. Oct 31, 2019 at 11:31
  • Initially the commandment to not eat this one fruit was the only one. So to utterly obey G-d was enough. they were completely in safety until they failed in the original commandment.
    – gamliela
    Oct 31, 2019 at 11:32
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    @gamliela Some think that Cain was not given a special sign and exiled by G-d but, left of his own accord when he realized that his company was no longer welcomed. I do not think Eve's pain of childbirth and Adam tilling the land is a punishment. Additionally, these tasks are natural. They aren't punishments but natural consequences. There is no punishment because Eden will return in the messianic era. Original sin is not a Jewish concept, it is a Christian invention that crept into Judaism unchecked and must be eradicated from Jewish thought.
    – Jonathan
    Oct 31, 2019 at 13:32

3 Answers 3


Obviously, if Adam was the only one informed about a commandment that others were obligated in, he would have an oblgation to share it with others who needed to follow the commandment. And indeed, that is what he did. While this is obvious and logical, there is at least one source that explicitly describes Adam's teaching of the commandment to Chavah.

It is clear from Chavah's response in Bereshis 3:3 that she was at least partially aware of some prohibition regarding the Tree of Knowledge. Indeed, part of what caused the error was due to being over-warned regarding the commandment. Chavah said to the snake that it is forbidden to touch the tree. However, when Hashem warned Adam about the tree, he was only told that it is forbidden to eat from the tree. Where did Chavah come up with the idea that touching is also forbidden?

When Adam informed Chavah of the prohibition, he added an additional safeguard to prevent transgression, by saying that even touching is forbidden. While this ended up backfiring, we see that Adam did indeed share the commandments that were told to him with Chavah.

This is recorded in Avos D'Rabbi Nosson 1:5 (only quoting the relevant middle of the Mishnah):

איזהו סייג שעשה אדם הראשון לדבריו הרי הוא אומר (בראשית ב) ויצו ה׳ אלהים על האדם [לאמר] מכל עץ הגן אכול תאכל ומעץ הדעת טוב ורע לא תאכל ממנו כי ביום אכלך ממנו מות תמות לא רצה אדם הראשון לומר לחוה כדרך שא״ל הקב״ה אלא כך אמר לה ועשה סייג לדבריו יותר ממה שאמר לו הקב״ה ומפרי העץ אשר בתוך הגן אמר אלהים לא תאכלו ממנו ולא תגעו בו פן תמותון שרצה לשמור את עצמו ואת חוה מן העץ אפילו בנגיעה.

What safeguard did First Man make for his words? The verse states: (Gen. 2) "And YKVK God commanded man, saying, 'you may eat from all the fruits of the garden; however from the tree (which provides) knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, for the day on which you will eat from it, you will surely die.' " First Man did not want to tell this to Eve in the same manner God had told it to him, rather he told her thus, making a safeguard for his words, (restrictive) to a greater extent than what the Holy One, Blessed be He, told him: (ibid.) "and concerning the fruit of the tree in (the center of) the garden, God said 'do not eat of it and do not touch it, lest you die.' " Because he wanted to guard himself and Eve from the tree - not even to touch.

  • Thank you. If you notice, you start with minute detail and immediately expand it into an obvious generalization. 1. We do have traces of Eve's knowledge of the (only) commandment. This says nothing about the other 7, this says nothing about Adam teaching others, this says nothing about Adam being obligated to do so. 2. The Midrash only deals with the difference in the language, it does not deal straight with the question I ask. 3. How logical it is for G-d to command on something and forgot to command to pass it on?
    – Al Berko
    Oct 31, 2019 at 21:12
  • @AlBerko No, you misunderstand my answer. The gist of my answer is the first paragraph: it is logical and obvious, therefore there is no need for the Torah to record it. Full stop. Everything else is just icing, the fact that there is an incident that shows Adam explicitly sharing a commandment is just a bonus. Nov 3, 2019 at 1:49
  • This is a serious problem in religious reasoning - just like Rambam - G-d exists and this is obvious. And everything else that you think is logical and reasonable and obvious, but because I (or others) don't reach that spiritual level we simply can't see it. I heard it 25 years ago when they tried to make me Teshuva promising that if I learn I will reach that level of "obvious". That never came. 2. There are tons of obvious things in Torah, repetitions, unneeded words, etc. So if you don't have an answer, simply don't reply.
    – Al Berko
    Nov 3, 2019 at 16:10

It is understood from the creation of the sun and moon. They establish the paradigm that is later expressed via the creation of Adam and Chava. The sun shines on the moon, which then reflects the light received from the sun. The moon is a source of reflected light.

In the same way, Chava lost her direct memory of G-d's teachings when she was built from Adam HaRishon. At that point, she had to be taught by her husband what was expected of her. That's the main point of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. Chava responded to the Nachash exactly what her husband had taught her. See Siftei Chachamim to Bereshit 3:2 beginning with the words, "כיון שהיא ידעה בעצמה כו׳" for details.

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    There is no mention of this episode in the Torah. Is this a derash?
    – Jonathan
    Oct 31, 2019 at 13:13
  • @Jonathan Not following your question. Are you talking about the creation of the sun and moon, or the creation of Adam HaRishon and the building of Chava? Oct 31, 2019 at 13:28
  • The story about Eve losing memory is not in the Torah. And Adam teaching her implies that women can't think on their own? That woman may forget important information on a whim?
    – Jonathan
    Oct 31, 2019 at 13:34
  • @Jonathan Actually it is stated explicitly in Ikar Siftei Chachamim to Bereshit 3:2. The idea is discussed in Sefer HaGilgulim in relation to reincarnation. When a soul occupies a new body, the new body alters the memory related to that soul. Recollection of past existence is blocked from conscious memory. When Chava was 'built' from the cell of Adam HaRishon (akin to the concept of cloning) her memory, which was the identical memory of Adam HaRishon was blocked. Oct 31, 2019 at 14:02
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    THank you. Eve is just an example of things going wrong. The later generations were severely punished, meaning G-d expected from them to follow His laws without commanding Adam or anybody else on kepassing them on. Don't you agree?
    – Al Berko
    Oct 31, 2019 at 15:09

The possibilities are endless. We will go through a few (but of course not all) as to why Adam seemingly did not pass on the commandments.

(1) It is possible, that the Torah or Oral Torah [oral law] did not exist in the time of Adam. The seven Noahide commandments are a rabbinical invention. It is not in the Torah. No court existed in the days of Noah. This could account for Eve and Cain's mistakes.

(2) It is possible, and some think this is so, that the story of Cain is not a true story but a parable. I do not remember Maimonides explicitly saying this, but he did say in Guide 1:2 that the story of the Garden of Eden is a parable.

(3) If the above is not a parable, why is Cain punished for a sin he was told nothing about? Why do we not see Adam and Eve’s reaction to the murder? Is it possible that Cain only meant to hurt his brother but not kill him? Did G-d exile him or did he realize his mistake and left of his own?

(4) Yet another possibility is Kabbalistic. Accordingly, G-d gave [or Adam discovered] the Torah and followed them. But like the person who knowingly passes through a redlight, Eve, Cain, and Noah would have transgressed the law, purposely and intentionally.

(5) There is a Midrash that says that G-d gave the patriarchs the option of keeping [or observeing] the commandments [mitzvots]. They could choose to keep all of them, partially, or none at all. They did so only out of a love of G-d.

(6) The Rambam writes that Abraham did not keep the law. He only knew the philosophic aspects of Judaism. He discovered G-d by studying the heavens but did not observe all of the mitzvot. He later explains that this was the reason why most of the Israelites in Egypt forgot G-d and left for idol worship until Moshe led them out of slavery. He explains this as the reason to keep the mitzvot. If we fail to do the rituals, we may forget the philosophy. This would explain Adam's neglect of the law.

(7) The "Garden of Eden" story is a parable and needs no explanation.

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    Thank you for your effort. I think in general you miss the point of the question - Assuming G-d commanded Adam in the first place, why there’s no obligation of passing the commandments?
    – Al Berko
    Oct 31, 2019 at 15:00
  • Whether Adam discovered the Torah or it was given, numerous things could have taken place. Perhaps Adam was not near Eve when she ate the fruit or she disobeyed him anyway. Pandora's box?
    – Jonathan
    Oct 31, 2019 at 15:04
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    1. Seems wrong - Rabbis claim Adam was commanded and all of his descendants. otherwise how do you explain the flood? 2. Stop saying everything is fairy tales. Even if it is a story it has to be consistent. 3. Reverse logic - because G-d is good and He punishes - of course they are worth being punished. 4. Exactly needs explanation how did they know they were obligated. 5. Irrelevant 6. The Gemmorah claims Avraham and all kept the 7 laws - why? 7. G-d punished generations before Avraham, so it is also irrelevant. 7. see #2
    – Al Berko
    Oct 31, 2019 at 15:05
  • The Talmud says that the 7 laws were given to Noach. Avraham - being a non-Jew, would have kept these laws. But the additional 613 were optional. I think Chava ate the fruit because of human nature. If I tell you not to think of a purple elephant, you will think to yourself: purple elephant, purple elephant, purple elephant. Many myths have people disobeying the gods. An Aztec myth tells that the gods told people [after the flood] not to eat corn, and what do they do? They eat corn, punished, and turned into turkeys and fish.
    – Jonathan
    Oct 31, 2019 at 15:19
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    If the "Garden of Eden" story is a parable that means there is a stronger need for explanation, because the parable needs to be translatable into relevant concepts.
    – simyou
    Oct 31, 2019 at 15:44

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