The text reads: "וישלחהו ה' אלהים מגן עדן לעבד את האדמה אשר לקח משם"

"And Hashem God banished him from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken"

Why does it only say "ישלחהו" "banished him" and not "ישלחם" "banished them", since the woman was banished as well (as far as I know)? Is there any significance to the wording?

  • Offhand - it is common for the Torah to use a singular verb when referring to plural. I'll see if I can locate one, but, you will probably find a few before I can respond to you. This instance may be another such example.
    – DanF
    Jun 15, 2016 at 2:55
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    If that was true though, wouldn't the purpose "to work the ground" also apply to the woman? Jun 15, 2016 at 3:09
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    Your last comment may answer the question. This verse is stressing the curse of working the land, which is the curse placed on man, not woman. Jun 15, 2016 at 16:52
  • also the last words "who was taken from the ground" refers to man only
    – ray
    Sep 15, 2016 at 10:55

4 Answers 4


The most straightforward reading of the passuk is most likely "And Hashem God banished him (Adam) from Gan Eden to work the ground from which he (Adam) was taken" and, as can easily be inferred, Chavah as well, though she was neither to work the ground nor taken from the ground. Why it specifies Adam specifically? Who knows. Maybe there was a bigger concern for Adam to stay in Gan Eden than for Chavah. That I can't answer. (I will say, though, that this is entirely my own pshat, and unless someone can back me up with a Rishon or Acharon I'm not seeing, there's a huge likelihood of there being a giant hole waiting to be ripped open in this answer.)

  • So in essence you haven't answered the question at all, you've just rephrased it and presented it as an answer.
    – Chaim
    Jun 17, 2016 at 1:11
  • Your question was why the verb's in the singular, so I answered that it's because, for whatever reason, the passuk wanted to single out Adam over Chavah.
    – DonielF
    Jun 17, 2016 at 2:31
  • His question took for granted that there is an inconsistency between what the Pasuk states and what we take to be the facts, in terms of the singular and plural.
    – Chaim
    Jun 17, 2016 at 2:33

If you see the previous verse (22), it is obviously a statement about mankind. Mor, you can see that the verse 22 states "האדם".

G-d chase away mankind from Garden of Eden.

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    It doesn't seem so obvious to me, since it states "to work the ground, from which you are taken", which doesn't apply to all of mankind, and if it does apply to all mankind, why does it say האדם and not just אדם? I can ask the same question about 3:22 as well. Jun 17, 2016 at 12:59

Although none of the following point out the singular use of the word the way you did, Radak, Vilna Gaon in Aderes Eliyahu and Rabbi Hirsch all see this passuk as a sharp slap to Adam specifically.

The wording in the passuk points out his failure in his great mission in Gan Eden and his return to his original place of creation. This is only a message suitable for Adam and his failure, not Chava.

Kli Yakar also sees in this passuk the path of atonement for Adam by working the specific land he was created out of. This again would not apply to Chava.

I would suggest based upon their words that this focusing of the lesson was the reason the chasing out was focused solely on Adam.


Adam is tzurah, Chava is chomer. The chet etz hadaas was to split the hashpaah of tzurah and chomer so each became destructive in its own right, es hakruvim (chomer) vees lahat hacherev (tzurah).

Adam (super tzurah) now needs to serve the earth to reconnect himself to chomer.

Chava (super chomer) now needs pain in child bearing to create tzurah (through tzaar).

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    Any source for this answer which under any other circumstances would just sound like useless jargon? That's aside for the fact that this doesn't seem to address the question at all. Nor is the answer clear at all as to its content.
    – Chaim
    Jun 17, 2016 at 1:10

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