Why was it not good for Adam to be alone? And why was it that he needed a ezer kenegdo?

Genesis 2:18 (Mechon Mamre) יח וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים, לֹא-טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָאָדָם לְבַדּוֹ; אֶעֱשֶׂה-לּוֹ עֵזֶר, כְּנֶגְדּוֹ - And YHVH Elohim said: 'It is not good that (the) man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.'

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Rashi points out that uniqueness would lead to misconceptions as to the meaning and purpose of the universe as well as a fundamental misconception of Hashem

Bereishis 2:18

And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man is alone; I shall make him a helpmate opposite him."


It is not good, etc.: [Gen. Rabbah] Lest they [people] say, “There are two dominions: the Holy One, blessed be He, is alone among the heavenly beings, and He has no mate, and this one [man] among the earthly creatures, has no mate.”

Rav Hirsch shows the meaning as

It does not say: לא טוב לאדם היותולבדו, that it is not good for man to be alone, but לא טוב היות האדם לבדו "this is not good, Man being alone"

that is:

as long as Man stands alone it is altogether not good, the goal of perfection, which the world is to attain through him will never be reached as long as he stands alone. The completion of "good" was not Man but Woman, and it was only brought to mankind and the world by Woman.


A task which is too great for one person must be divided, and just for the accomplishment of the whole of Man's mission, Hashem created Woman for Man.

Rabbi Levi translates the term עזר כנגדו into English as

a help meet unto him

which means a help which is appropriate to him

He adds in explaining the idea of עזר כנגדו that

In a similar way, the wife is to take over a part of the obligations which comprise the great task of mankind, and thus make it possible for her husband to accomplish more perfectly the part that is left to him. But this is only possible if the being who is to be an עזר to him is כנגדו not עמו, does not work at what he is doing, but works opposite him. Were the other being a man, he himself would have all the obligations on his shoulders, and he would again need "help". That is why it is אשה, a "feminine" man, who stands, not with him, but next to him, נגדו, who works at another point in the same line, so that each one of them fills a separate position, and they mutually complement each other.

  • +1 But did Rabbi Hirsch actually say he was giving the 'real meaning'? Seems a bit out of line. Especially here after a quote from Rashi.
    – user6591
    Aug 25, 2017 at 17:50
  • @user6591 I quoted Rav Hirsch on the pasuk. See the rest of his commentary which is too long to type in completely. I gave both Rashi and Rav Hirsch to show both possibilities. They do seem to disagree. Aug 25, 2017 at 20:44
  • Its all good. It would just surprise me if Rav Hirsch would refer to his pshat as the 'real' one.
    – user6591
    Aug 25, 2017 at 20:52
  • @user6591 I will expand that citation and remove the "real" Aug 25, 2017 at 22:04
  • Did HaShem made Adam HaRishon having 'a lack', 'shortage', 'deficiency' that he could not be by himself? HaShem saw it was not good that man was on his own, and He made him a helper, so what was it Adam couldn't do on his own, where did he need help for (where did he came short)? And last but not least why didn't HaShem create both man and woman at the exact same moment?
    – Levi
    Aug 27, 2017 at 5:48

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