I’m sure this was asked here multiple times, but I’m having trouble finding it. Can someone please explain to me: 1) how is Adam’s punishment of “eating bread from the sweat of your brow” a rectification of eating from the tree? 2) how is pain in childbirth a rectification for Chava’s part in this?

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    Do punishments have to be rectification for the wrong?
    – ezra
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 3:26
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    Well, working for food is the opposite of being given all of it but one thing, and painful childbirth is the opposite of Chava's actions with the Nachash Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 3:34
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    @Uber - how is pain the during childbirth the opposite of chava and the nachash? Do either of these 2 punishments actually rectify the sin or are they simply an “eye for an eye?” Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 3:38
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    The gemara in Shabbos says that the nachash was boel chava at the time of the chet, causeing zuhama in all of her decendants, which klall yisrael fixed for themselves by har sinai - and an “eye for an eye" is the way to rectify the sin because they are opposite of what caused the sin in the first place. Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 3:53
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    Question 2 is a possible duplicate of judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/84674/…
    – Joel K
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 9:47

3 Answers 3


The punishments are definitely corrective: As I see it, the biggest problem is that Adam cedes responsibility for his one mitzvah to his wife, and even denies responsibility after the fact. He is given a new life which teaches him responsibility: you have to constantly be responsible to work for sustenance. If you shirk responsibility and don't work, you and your family won't eat.

Chava, who was created to be an ezer kenegdo, put herself first and tried to bring Adam down with her. And she used her special influence to bring him down. So now Chava will have pain and struggles with the process of bearing and raising her family which will lead to outward-focused, sacrificial focus on them, AND the balance of power in her relationship with her husband is tweaked so she doesn't have full dangerous control over him. All her punishments are shifting her approach to the main relationships in her life.

  • Welcome to the site! Thank you for your contribution.
    – MichoelR
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 3:06

The basic answer is that once Adam got the evil inclination, he has to keep it at bay. Therefore he needs to work or else he'll try to do sins.

Regarding Chava it seems from the pirkei drav eliezer ch.21 that it was a natural effect of eating from the tree. The Zohar says people gave birth differently before the eating of the tree.


Maybe say it a little differently. מדה כנגד מדה, each punishment is a consequence of the sin - not necessarily called a "rectification". Adam sinned against the earth that sustained him, by eating a forbidden part. The woman sinned again the man she was created to protect, by leading him into sin instead of being a wall around him against it. The Nachash (highest creature of the Earth) sinned against humanity by leading it astray instead of helping serve Hashem properly.
Thus, each of them were punished by being distanced from their proper service. Adam was supposed to be לעבדה ולשמרה, to work the earth and take care of it; that became harder for him. Chava was supposed to help man populate his world and that became more difficult for her. The Earth was supposed to serve man, and the snake was to be the greatest servant; instead the snake was fired, completely distanced, and the earth could not serve man as well.
Maybe call it grit in the three-part machinery; everything worked same as before, but not properly.

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