Bereshit 2:15 reads: לְעָבְדָהּ וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ, but it seems that this can't be referring to: 'to work the earth and keep it', because after the chet (the sin) it reads in Bereshit 3:23 that Adam was taken out of Eden to work the earth, לַעֲבֹד אֶת-הָאֲדָמָה

The Targums read: and set him to do service in the law, and to keep it('s commandments), while the Zohar points out that l'avdah refers to the positive commandments and uleshomrah to the negative commandments (the do's and don'ts).

But I wondered if there are any scriptures or comments referring to keeping the service, what kind of service was this?

Could Gan Eden be a part of The Heavenly Temple where Adam served and worshiped HaShem?

Hoping for some insight.

1 Answer 1

  • Avot D'Rabbi Nattan (ch. 11) quotes R. Shimon Ben Elazar who is pretty explicit that this refers to physical labor; cited by Meiri to Avot (ch. 1). This is clear from the Hovot HaLevavot (Shaar HaBitahon ch. 3) and is the implication of Recanti as well.
  • Sifrei (Ekev 41) writes that it refers to service of God Specifically, "to work it" refers to [Torah] study, and "to guard it" refers to mitzvot. This is paraphrased by the Maor HaAfelah (Parashat B'reishit p. 37) and the Midrash HaBeiur (Parashat B'reishit p. 34).
  • B'reishit Rabbah (Vilna: ch. 16) indeed suggest that both verbs refer to offering sacrifices; cited by Ramban's commentary to the verse.
  • The Zohar too writes that this refers specifically to sacrifices (Parshat: Toldot, Miketz, T'rumah, and Vaetchanan) If I understood it correctly.
  • Tikkunei Zohar (70) interprets it more broadly to refer to Torah and mitzvot.

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