In Genesis 2:17 we read:

But of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat of it, for on the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die."

Later, during Eve's temptation, we read:

But of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, God said, "You shall not eat of it, and you shall not touch it, lest you die.'"

It appears that Eve has expanded the commandment from do not eat to include do not touch. Is this considered a fault of some kind? Eve had not yet been created when Adam received the commandment and the record does not explain what Eve was told of the commandment.

Does Judaism consider this a fault or sin of Eve for expanding on Divine instruction? or is it seen as simply the detail is missing and not a concern, or something else?

  • It's hard to answer what "Judaism considers", as Judaism is not monolithic. Particularly when it comes to questions of Biblical interpretation that do not impact on Jewish Law, the traditions are not as firm, and commentators feel free to voice divergent opinions. Indeed in this case the commentators dispute whether it was even Eve that explanded the commandment.
    – Alex
    Jun 26, 2018 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


The biblical commentator Rashi references the talmud when he writes:

and you shall not touch it: She added to the command; therefore, she came to diminish it. That is what is stated (Prov. 30:6): “Do not add to His words.” - [from Sanh. 29a]

The Chizkuni expands on this:

The truth is that when one adds a restriction to G-d’s commandment, instead of improving it, one causes harm to it, makes it less effective instead of more effective. Seeing that the additional restriction had not been issued by G-d directly, it is less than useless.

The Shadal says that it might not actually be an addition to what was commanded.

  • 1
    Note that the English translation from Sefaria on the Chizkuni adds more than what was written in the original.
    – user9643
    Jun 26, 2018 at 17:03

According to the explanation in Avot DeRav Natan 1:5, it was actually Adam, not Eve, that made this extra restriction as a "fence" סיג against Eve's violating G-d's commandment.

It's hard to determine from the next few paragraphs as to whether this was a fault or not. The rest of the story says that the serpent tempted Eve by showing her, "See? I'm touching the fruit, and nothing happened to me?"

  • 2
    I thought the Braisa said the snake pushed Eve against the tree and said “See? Nothing happened to you.” Am I misremembering? Mixing it up with other versions of the story?
    – DonielF
    Jun 26, 2018 at 18:53
  • @DonielF I'll have to re-read it. I may have missed that nuance.
    – DanF
    Jun 26, 2018 at 21:04
  • No, I just read it inside - you are correct. עמד ונגע. Maybe I had a different text? Maybe I was remembering a different version (Bereishis Rabbah, maybe)? Maybe I’m going insane?
    – DonielF
    Jun 26, 2018 at 21:11
  • @DonielF Before you contact your psychologist, you may want to check the other sources. Avot DeRav Nattan frequently repeats Midrashim found elsewhere in the Gemarrah. I rarely compare the two versions, as I often don't know where to locate the other occurrence. But, it wouldn't surprise me if ADN and / or somewhere else misquoted Midrash Rabba or any other original source. If you can't locate any discrepancy, then ... well, maybe you could use some Prozac.
    – DanF
    Jun 26, 2018 at 21:26
  • 1
    Phew. It’s Bereishis Rabbah 19:3 that brings that version.
    – DonielF
    Jun 26, 2018 at 21:30

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