I understand that Adom and Hava after getting knowledge got embarrassed and covered themselves

I know regarding sleeping in bed with your children unclothed it is forbidden (if they are of different genders) once the female is embarrassed to be seen naked by the male (E"H 21.7 end , isurai bia 21.7) (so it seams there are times when people are not embarrassed to be naked)

Also there is an idea of being embarrassed to look at something (O"H 240.4, kitzur 150.5.) (so it is not only regarding getting dressed)

Are these 3 things related?

What were they embarrassed in front of?
Each other(but they are married)? Their children? The animals? The garden? The angels? G-d?

Source please


2 Answers 2


This is fleshed out (pun intended) by some of the other Mefarshim as well, but I think Shadal (Bereishis 2:25) explains this beautifully:

ולא יתבששו – האדם בוש ממערומיו לפי שהוא יודע טוב ורע ופועל בבחירה ולא בטבע, לפיכך הוא תר אחר עיניו, וראית המערומים מביאה הרהורים בלבו, והנה הרואה בוש ממה שהוא עצמו מהרהר, והנראה ערום בוש ממה שאחרים מהרהרים בראותם אותו, ואיש ואשתו אינם בושים זה מזו וזו מזה כששניהם מהרהרים בעניני הזיווג, אבל גם הם בושים בשאר זמנים שהם עסוקים בשאר מחשבות, ואדם וחוה לא היו עדיין יודעים טוב ורע לפיכך לא היו בושים.

Shadal explains that one who sees others naked is embarrassed by what they themselves are thinking, and one who is seen naked is embarrassed by what others may be thinking about them, and as a result, married couples are not embarrassed when they are both thinking (good things) about each other, but when they are involved in other thoughts, those same people may still be embarrassed to be naked. As a result, Adam and Chava, who knew no bad at this point, were not embarrassed by the other person (or themselves) having bad thoughts.

This indicates that Shadal holds the embarrassment was from themselves/each other, despite their being married, as they were at that point experiencing bad thoughts etc, as he suggests.

This approach happens to fit in very well with the above-mentioned Halacha. Children who do not yet understand the possible "bad thoughts" would not be thinking them about others, and would not be worried about others thinking about them. (I'm not sure that every detail fits in perfectly, but it can work with this general idea...)

To see other Mefarshim on this: http://mg.alhatorah.org/Full/Bereshit/2.25#e0n7

  • +1 I think, I understand what you mean by "thinking (good things) " (that it means to have relations). But what do you mean by "bad thoughts"? (I read the Shadal text you quoted, and there it is also not very clear to me, but I think it is: that a person is embarrassed when someone is thinking about relations with them while they themselves are not)
    – hazoriz
    Dec 28, 2017 at 19:50
  • P.S. in the halacha in the op for some reason it is only the female who gets embarrassed, (maybe because the female is passive in relations)
    – hazoriz
    Dec 28, 2017 at 19:51
  • But according to my theory, clothing might not help with that since King Shaul was beautifull and girls wanted to talk to him and I do not think there is a claim that he was embarrassed. So maybe what naked people are embarrassed of is: that they think when someone else sees their erva this other person will think what it was used for, so the embarrassment is that people do not what other people to know that they had relations (even their spouse (when it is not during the deed)) (but still not very clear to me, since people are not embarrassed by their spouse when other people see them...
    – hazoriz
    Dec 28, 2017 at 20:10
  • other people know what a spouse is for)
    – hazoriz
    Dec 28, 2017 at 20:15
  • @hazoriz something along those lines sounds right. I also thought of your PS but couldn't prove it... Dec 28, 2017 at 20:16

Rav Hirsch says they were not embarrassed as such, but they were afraid of having now entered a state in which they can feel shame. This feeling meant that they were afraid of being in the presence of Hashem.

Rashi points out that it was not physical nakedness, but moral and spiritual, having disobeyed the one mitzvah that they had. Thus, even with the aprons they still felt naked (see below from Rav Hirsch). In fact according to this, even if they had been completely covered, head to toe, they still would have felt naked when Hashem came.


and they knew that they were naked: Even a blind man knows when he is naked! What then is the meaning of “and they knew that they were naked” ? They had one commandment in their possession, and they became denuded of it.

Additionally, when they heard Hashem, they were not embarrassed because of their nakedness, they were afraid

{Bereishis 3:10](http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8167#v=10&showrashi=true)

וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֶת־קֹֽלְךָ֥ שָׁמַ֖עְתִּי בַּגָּ֑ן וָֽאִירָ֛א כִּֽי־עֵירֹ֥ם אָנֹ֖כִי וָאֵֽחָבֵֽא:

And he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked; so I hid."

Rav Hirsch says:

This being afraid, not ashamed, proves that the consciousness of being naked has to be taken in the sense of its moral reason, as explained above in V.7. Not because of his body being naked, but because he no longer dared let his naked body be seen, was what made him afraid for himself.

Thus, he would have been afraid no matter what he was wearing and no matter how covered up he might have been. It was not a matter of denying that he had eaten, but the consciousness of having disobeyed and feeling the results of that.

Rav Hirsch in verse 7 says

But the consciousness of being naked is the consciousness that something is visible that should not be so. This is the feeling of shame, which as indicated above, has its roots in the consciousness of a person of the real calling of Man. As long as Man stands completely in the service of his Hashem, he is not to be ashamed of any part of his body. Even the bodily lures and attractions are pure and godly as long as they submit themselves as means for Hashem's holy purposes. But when this condition is not entirely there we certainly should be ashamed of displaying them. This shame awakes the voice within us, which is intimately connected with the conscience, and reminds us that we are not to be animals.

  • @hazoriz Now that we feel the existence of nakedness, we need to cover up to avoid the problems that it now brings. Hashem made them clothing because we have to live in the world created as a result of having eaten from the aitz hada'as. Dec 29, 2017 at 2:44
  • why physical clothing if not physical nakedness
    – hazoriz
    Dec 29, 2017 at 2:45
  • The physical clothing was to cover the physical nakedness. However, even so the fact that they were affected by the physical nakedness and felt the need for clothing was what made them ashamed and afraid when they heard Hashem even after they were clothed. That is why they would have hidden even if they had been completely covered. I saw a Mad magazine cartoon in which a woman is changing into a bathing suit in a cabana. The door blows open and she is wearing a full body slip and shrieks embarrassed. She slams the door and comes out in a bikini not ashamed at all. shame is mental and emotional Dec 29, 2017 at 4:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .