The command not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil is given to Adam in 2(17) before the creation of Eve.

In 3(3) and with Rashi's comments we read that Eve knew of the prohibition.

The text does not tell us how Eve got to know of the prohibition. Adam must have told her but the text does not reveal this. Do the commentators have anything to say on this point?

  • Isn't it obvious how she knew?
    – robev
    Oct 3, 2018 at 20:43
  • Isn't your first sentence the answer - (as the Midrash says they were one creature back-to-back) they both were commanded.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 3, 2018 at 22:19
  • Is your question “I assume Adam told her, but I’m not sure if this is correct”? Or is it “Why doesn’t the text tell us how she came to know”?
    – DonielF
    Oct 3, 2018 at 23:35
  • @DonielF My question is that assuming Adam told her, do the meforshim tells us about this. Oct 4, 2018 at 8:30
  • Your assumption is correct. See the Siftei Chochamim there. Chava only had knowledge of what G-d required from what her husband taught her. Adam added to G-d’s prohibitive commandment in the sense of making a fence and that was the basis for the Nachash to confuse Chava. She thought she should not touch the tree either. This was incorrect. And that opened the door for doubt which led to transgression. For related discussion on the source of good and evil, see: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/130262/7303 Aug 1, 2022 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


The Kli Yakar on 3:1 writes (courtesy of sefaria):

There is a big question in this matter: If the woman added the command of "do not touch" by herself; behold, she knew the truth that God did not command about the touching. And if so, how was the woman seduced by these empty words, saying that in the same way as there is no death penalty from touching, so too is there no death penalty from eating? From a quick [survey], it appears that it can be explained that the woman did not hear the commandment from the mouth of the Mighty One, but rather from the mouth of her husband. And that is [the meaning of] what is written (Genesis 2:16), "And the Lord God commanded to (or about) the man, saying." What is [the meaning of] "saying?" Rather that he should tell his wife that this eating is dangerous. As it is for this reason that it is stated, "about" (al) and not "to" (al), meaning, regarding, that he not bring himself into danger. And the man saw in his [own] intellect to make a fence and to add upon the command; to forbid even touching to his wife, so that she should not come to eating. And Chava reasoned that everything he said to her was from the Mighty One.

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