17 votes
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Who is Adam guarding Eden from?

The Ibn Ezra says - in his initial explanation - to guard it from animals so they don't enter and sully the garden: ולשמרה מכל החיות שלא יכנסו שם ויטנפוהו The Seforno says - if I understand ...
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14 votes

Moral Culpability in the Garden

This question really touches on what the purpose of the Tree of Knowledge was. Why would G-d not want them to eat from a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Isn't that the most important knowledge ...
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13 votes
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When did people living for 900 years start to look old?

Bava Metzia 87a: Until Abraham there was no old age; whoever wished to speak to Abraham would speak to Isaac, and the reverse. Thereupon he prayed, and old age came into existence, as it is written,...
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11 votes
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Was Avrohom really born in 1948?

For example, the posuk (5:32) says that Noach begot Sheim (Chom and Yefes) when he was 500 so I added 500 on to 1056 and got 1556. But it doesn't say what order they were born in. Rashi later on (10:...
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10 votes

Where was Adam created?

Targum Pseudo Jonathan to Genesis 2:15, ודבר השם אלקים ית אדם מן טור פולחנא אתר דאתבריא מתמן ואשריה בגינוניתא דעדן...‏ And God took Adam from the mountain of worship, the place from which he was ...
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10 votes
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Connection between עָרוּם and עֲרוּמִּים

Funny, I asked myself the same thing last year, and eventually found an interesting answer in the Hertz Chumash. Hertz comments that: The same Hebrew root signifies both 'naked' and 'subtle, clever,...
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10 votes

Connection between עָרוּם and עֲרוּמִּים

While you may not be so satisfied with this answer, I do know of a commentary that discusses the juxtaposed phraseology: the Ibn Ezra. However, he says not to make anything of it, and that it's merely ...
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10 votes
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Was Adam placed in Gan Eden to keep the service of HaShem?

Avot D'Rabbi Nattan (ch. 11) quotes R. Shimon Ben Elazar who is pretty explicit that this refers to physical labor; cited by Meiri to Avot (ch. 1). This is clear from the Hovot HaLevavot (Shaar ...
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10 votes
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"Amar Rabbi Yitzchak" - Who is Rabbi Yitzchak?

Lots of acharonim theorized about this, but it turns out that this is essentially a Midrash Tanchuma (Buber edition Parshat Bereishit #11): אמר ר' יצחק לא היה צריך לכתוב את התורה אלא מהחדש הזה לכם ...
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9 votes

Snakes talking?

It's pretty hard to ask any questions from the first two chapters of Genesis, considering both the esoteric nature of both the topic and the fact that the world seems to have rather different back ...
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9 votes

And it was so? Perhaps mistranslated?

See here for more. Biblical Hebrew employs a rule called the "vav ha-hipuch." The preceding "v'" flips the tense from past to future, or vice versa. Thus "yehi chen", it will be so; "vayhi chen", it ...
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9 votes

When did G-d create darkness?

The Ohr hachaim on the beginning of bereshit quotes the Talmud Chagigah 12a. There it lists 10 things were created in the first day, and one of them is Choshech. ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב עשרה דברים נבראו ...
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9 votes
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What does Judaism teach about Eve's addition to divine commandment that she not touch the fruit?

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): “...
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9 votes

Shadal Gen.2,24.1

In short, he is suggesting that these words were written as an editorial comment by Moshe, as opposed to something that Adam said at the time. Here's a rough translation: Therefore a man... "Al Ken"...
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9 votes

How was Eve "flesh of my flesh"?

It wasn't necessarily a rib. The Talmud (Berachos 61a) presents two opinions: one is that Eve was created as a fully-formed human, with she and Adam attached back-to-back, and then G-d separated them; ...
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8 votes

Why do fish die?

I couldn't find any commentators on the Midrash addressing this issue. So, instead, I will offer a deflection of the assumptions as my answer. I will argue: Fish, along with plants and bugs, were ...
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8 votes

When exactly was Eve named?

Rashi says that the name occurred earlier and we're just being told this later: And the man named: Scripture returns to its previous topic (2:20): “And the man named,” and it interrupted only to ...
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8 votes

When exactly was Eve named?

Malbim explains that Adam had been calling her "woman" because of her role as his helpmeet. Since she failed in that role by ill-advising him to eat from the tree, he stopped calling her that. Instead,...
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  • 73.4k
8 votes

How do we explain genaelogy differences between Genesis 4 and 5?

Rav Hirsch goes over the names and discusses the meaning of the names and the significance for the basic traits of the generation that name is used for. He points out (4:18-22 and 5:11-27). For ...
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  • 41.8k
8 votes
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Apple as Forbidden Fruit?

This article suggests a bunch of explanations for where the misconception came from. The suggestions are: Latin confusion: the Latin translation of the word "evil" (in Tree of Knowledge of good and ...
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  • 18.2k
8 votes

Why was Adam Embarrassed

The OP asks, why did Adam hide in fear because of his nakedness even though he had already made clothing (the fig leaves) for themselves? Note that Rav Hirsch and Art Scroll translate this as aprons, ...
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8 votes
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When was water created?

Pirkê D'Rabbi Eliezer (ch. 3) states that water was created on the first day: שמונה דברים נבראו ביום ראשון, ואלו הן: .... ורוח ומים, שנאמר ורוח אלהים מרחפת על פני המים Trans.: Eight things were ...
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8 votes

How could Kayin have married his sister, if it was prohibited?

Yerushalmi Yevamos 11:1 (quoted by Rashi to Vayikra 20:17): "אמר רבי אבין, שלא תאמר קין נשא את אחותו, הבל נשא את אחותו, חסד הוא, חסד עשיתי עם הראשונים שייבנה העולם מהן, כי אמרתי עולם חסד יבנה&...
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8 votes
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Men's Earth vs. Women's Bone

The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 17:8) makes a similar point, but regarding being appeased, rather than when they’re still in conflict. מִפְּנֵי מָה הָאִישׁ נוֹחַ לְהִתְפַּתּוֹת וְאֵין הָאִשָּׁה ...
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8 votes

How can constant creation of new stars explained theologically?

They are not created, they are formed by means of the natural laws from preexisting matter. This has nothing to do with yesh mai-ayin (creation from nothing) which occurred at the very beginning. ...
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7 votes

Rivers in Genesis

In this article1, Dr. Juris Zarins places the garden at the north-western tip of the Persian gulf, currently submerged beneath its waters. As seen in the above image, from as far back as 6000 b.c.e ...
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  • 8,074
7 votes

Why did Chava give Adam the fruit to eat?

In a comment to the OP's question Fred cites the well-known Rashi (see above). The Bartenura on the Torah expands on this Rashi (text borrowed from Sefaria.org, produced here in full): ותתן גם ...
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7 votes
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"And it was evening, and it was morning, *one* day"?

Rashi says it is "the day of the One". Because the angels weren't created until day two, God was the only sentient being on this day. Obviously this reason doesn't apply from day two onwards, per ...
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  • 8,074
7 votes

Abel was a shepherd, wasn't it a crime?

Shepherds move herds. They help raise animals (which provide milk and wool, especially the sheep). There is nothing in the job description of a shepherd that requires killing animals.
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7 votes
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What is significant about nakedness in Bereishit?

I once heard this idea, I believe quoted from R' Moshe Shapiro: Being naked is not something that should be intrinsically shameful. The body, which is the purely physical component of man, is meant ...
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