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The Midrash says Adam and Chava were created age 20.

Why so? Looking mainly for an answer as to why they weren't made babies and raised like we are (rather than asking what's special about 20?).

Happy to hear people's theories but best answer will be based on a source that addresses the exact question.


Note: I believe this was closed as a duplicate mistakenly. Questions about why Hashem made Adam as a mature adult rather than as a baby would not fit in the supposed duplicate.

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  • sefaria.org/…
    – Shmuel
    Aug 18, 2023 at 18:37
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    I have an answer as to why, which I can't put in that other question, which is about what. Please consider reopening, so I can post my answer.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 13 at 14:21
  • Edit to include a small note about what is different about the two questions and I'll be glad to cast a vote to re-open. Feb 28 at 13:09
  • @Deuteronomy What vs. why
    – b a
    Mar 3 at 1:02
  • @ba those that voted to close this (I was not among them) clearly thought that the distinction was not sufficiently clear. Accordingly, I suggested making a minor edit to explain how the questions are different to satisfy their apparent concern. Mar 4 at 1:09

4 Answers 4

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The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (11a) says that all what was formed during the Creation, was formed in their fullest stature (as linked in my comment). The Tosfos however, provides a fascinating piece of information, that I connected to this.

Tosfos (ד"ה לקומתן לדעתם לצביונם) explains that just as animals, beasts and birds grow physically, so in their height and length, they also grow in their wisdom, beauty and strength. Wisdom in this case, is knowledge. So, G-d formed man in his fullest stature, because then, he would have more knowledge than when G-d formed him like an infant. The Midrash Rabbah on Koheles conveys a similair idea, namely that Adam was full of wisdom (most meforshim explain that due to this wisdom, he was able to name all the animals).

The Torah says that G-d blowed "into his nostrils the breath of life" (Bereishis 2:7). The Alter Rebbe in Tanya says that this breath is the source of wisdom and intellect in the soul of Adam.

You ask, "why did Hashem wanted the humans wise from start". In Iyov (32:8), it says that understanding comes from G-ds breath. Rashi understands this to mean that no matter how old we are, it is G-d who gives us His wisdom.

not through days or old age, but it is the spirit of the Omnipresent.

The Torah in Bereishis 2:15 says that G-d put the man in the Garden, to work and to preserve it.

The Or HaChaim explains that this work was specifically Torah study.

The specific work required in גן עדן consists of Torah study.

So, might this be why G-d put wisdom in Adam on the first day of his creation?

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  • Amazing Tosfot thanks for bringing it to my attention. If you find a reason for why Hashem wanted wise humans from day 1, let me know!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 19, 2023 at 20:52
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They were the first people and would not have had parents to raise them and babies cannot raise themselves

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  • Indeed, was thinking that myself. Hashem could have raised them? If you know why not, let me know
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 19, 2023 at 20:53
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    G-d raising people seems contrary to the point of having people to begin with if G-d just takes over human roles
    – Dude
    Aug 20, 2023 at 1:56
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  1. According to the Yedei Moshe on the Midrash it served a practical purpose in that the Heavenly Beis Din can only punish a person from the age of 20 onwards (i.e. בר עונשין)

This opinion is shared by Rabbeinu Bachya on Bereishis 3:22 who likewise states that he was born aged 20 so he qualified for punishment immediately.

  1. In addition to what @Shmuel mentioned in his answer, note the Akeidas Yitzchok who explains that they were created age 20 as they were at the height of their beauty etc and therefore deemed physically complete, and as such, (pre-eating from the tree) would not be embarrassed living naked.
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  • Thanks Dov. This is exactly why I asked dafka why not from birth, rather than "why 20 and not 50 or 12 or etc". Why was it good that they were ready for immediate judgement, and also why was it fair? We are given 13+7 years to get ready for full "punishment", why weren't they. On your 2, I have another question, why are adults less ashamed to be naked than children pre-eating? Nowadays it seems to be the other way around?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 19, 2023 at 22:30
  • @RabbiKaii I can only presume that since Hashem created initially the perfect utopia, therefore He created them at an age when judgement is at it's most critical point in order to continue this high standard?
    – Dov
    Aug 19, 2023 at 22:37
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    As far as your second point, look at the Akeidas Yitzchok inside. His point is, that at age 20 they were a peak physical specimen that was "beautiful" to look at. A child has a lot of growing to do before they are physically "complete". Hashem wanted them to be a perfect human from the get-go to match this utopian ideal.
    – Dov
    Aug 19, 2023 at 22:40
  • very promising thanks, I would like to learn more
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 19, 2023 at 23:12
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The midrash says Cayin and hevel were also born as 20 years olds. The whole concept of babies and child raising was a punishment for the eitz hadaas. Before that all people were created complete.

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  • Fascinating point. Do you have any more about the why of what you just said? Why is that a punishment (or curse)? Do you definitely mean punishment and not curse?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 20, 2023 at 12:54
  • @RabbiKaii i wasnt going into details. Those curses/punishments are explicitly in the Torah. You can start a new question why she got those curses if you want. To me those words were interchangable..
    – Shlomy
    Aug 20, 2023 at 13:24
  • Where in the Torah does it say explicitly that children being born incomplete is a curse?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 20, 2023 at 13:28
  • @RabbiKaii it says you should raise children. Meaning they need to be raised as well. As one of the curses. Implying before the curse they didn't need to be raised. Presumably because they were created fully mature.
    – Shlomy
    Aug 20, 2023 at 18:17

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