Shalom. Saadya Gaon, an Egyptian Jewish rabbi and philosopher, believed that Adam's activity of naming animals coincided with his search for a mate and was even intimate with them. The source should be this text in Genesis 2:23 commentary https://hebrewbooks.org/40229. Can you bring me the sentence Hebrew and translated into English? Thanks.

  • It's not in the Hebrewbooks link you posted. What you have there is a compilation of different quotes and paraphrases of teachings of Rav Saadia Gaon + his Tafsir on the Torah, aka, his Arabic translation of the Torah translated back into Hebrew + a few other commentaries on other things. What you're looking for is his פירוש ארוך-"long commentary" on Genesis. I don't know if this is available anywhere online.
    – Harel13
    Feb 22, 2021 at 8:55
  • I think that's the reason why I can't find it.
    – Ootsutsuki
    Feb 23, 2021 at 0:27

2 Answers 2


Rav Saadia Goan (long commentary) on Passuk Bereshit 2;21-23:

He actually says differently than what you have mentioned. (which is a Gemara brought down by Rashi, see below)

וכוונת ״זאת הפעם״ אינה שהיתה לו אשה שניה, אלא שהיתה ראיה שניה״ אחרי שראה את כל בעלי החיים הבלתי מדברים ולא מצא ביניהם אף אחד הדומה לו, ככתוב: ולא מצא עזר כנגדו, ראה את חוה שהיתה דומה לו ואמר: זאת הפעם.

He is explaining the verse: וַיֹּ֘אמֶר֮ הָֽאָדָם֒ זֹ֣את הַפַּ֗עַם עֶ֚צֶם מֵֽעֲצָמַ֔י וּבָשָׂ֖ר מִבְּשָׂרִ֑י לְזֹאת֙ יִקָּרֵ֣א אִשָּׁ֔ה כִּ֥י מֵאִ֖ישׁ לֻֽקְחָה־זֹּֽאת -

“The man said, “This time, bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. This will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken out of ‘man’.”

And says the intention of "This Time" is not that she (Chava) is a second wife (being the animals a first) rather Chava is worthy of being a second after Adam seeing all animals and realizing that they are not at all similar to him as it says, "and he did not find a helpmate" and now seeing Chava and her similarity to Him says; "This Time".

What you have mentioned of Adam of having intercourse with the animals first, is Rashi Quoting a Gemarah. I have brought down both.

Rashi: זאת הפעם – מלמד שבא אדם על כל בהמה וחיה ולא נתקררה -

THIS NOW – This teaches that Adam had intercourse with all the cattle and beasts, but found no satisfaction (except in Chava)

Gemara in Yevamot 63A: וא״ר אלעזר מאי דכתיב {בראשית ב׳:כ״ג} זאת הפעם עצם מעצמי ובשר מבשרי מלמד שבא אדם על כל בהמה וחיה ולא נתקררה דעתו עד שבא על חוה -

And Rabbi Elazar said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23)? This teaches that Adam had intercourse with each animal and beast in his search for his mate, and his mind was not at ease, in accordance with the verse: “And for Adam, there was not found a helpmate for him

  • Thanks for the detailed answer. However, my question comes from what a professor named Eric Lawee wrote, "The association of Adam's activity of naming animals with his search for a mate goes back to Saadya Gaon; see Perushe rav Sa'adya Ga'on li-Vereshit, ed. M. Zucker (New York, 1988), 279) "(The Reception of Rashi's Commentary on the Torah in Spain: The Case of Adam's Mating with the Animals" in The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. XCVII, N. I, The University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 2007, p. 50, note 110). Where is this statement located? Shalom.
    – Ootsutsuki
    Feb 21, 2021 at 22:04
  • @Ootsutsuki Please edit this information into your question post.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 24, 2021 at 15:05

Turns out Moshe Zucker's edition is available on Alhatorah.org. I think what you're looking for is 2:20:

"וחזר ואמר: ויקרא אדם שמות – כלומר, בשעה שקרא להם שמות התבונן בהם וראה שאין בהם אחד התואם אותו. ומסיבה זאת הזכיר מכל הדברים שנתנו להם שמות רק את בעלי החיים בלבד, כי הם היותר קרובים אל האדם, ואילו הצמחים והדוממים בינם ובין האדם מדרגות שונות."

My translation: "And it said again: And the man gave names - meaning, at the time that he gave them names, he examined all of them and saw that there isn't among them not one that matches with him. And for this reason it mentions out of all of things that received names, only the living creatures, because they were closest to man, while the plants and inanimate objects are of different levels to that of man's.

I didn't see there anything about intimacy with the animals, though. Perhaps you misunderstood the footnote? As @BarucheMenache wrote, this particular detail originates in the Talmud.

  • Thanks very much.
    – Ootsutsuki
    Feb 23, 2021 at 0:25

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