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October 27, 2016 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Bereshit

I am done with the Arama commentary.  I can’t say I miss it; often it either repeated stuff I’ve heard elsewhere, or was unnecessarily dense.  I ordered Chaim Miller’s Five Books of Moses to read this year, but have not received it.

However, I do have something to say about this week’s parsha. I got an email from Yeshivat Har Etzion pointing out that after the Garden of Eden episode, God gave Adam and Eve clothing.  They add:

In other words, God gave Adam and Chava something that was un-natural. Until now they had lived in the Garden of Eden in harmony with nature, serving God in tranquility. Now, following the sin, man emerged from the Garden of Eden onto a new path: a path of continual competition with nature, on the one hand, and of Divine worship requiring constant effort and unceasing inner struggle, on the other. The primal, natural man who served God with tranquility, fully integrated in nature, was replaced by historical, cultural man – a completely different creature in terms of both his personal standing and his relationship with nature.

More broadly, it seems to me that the whole Eden story was about the loss of innocence.  Before then, man was essentially like other animals, following God’s will by instinct.  At some point in human evolution, people became more complex; he/she developed the notions of sin and free choice, and began to feel concepts like shame and guilt.  And that’s what, to me, the story is really about.  Before Adam (whether you think of “Adam” as an individual or as humanity collectivity) people did what they were programmed to do, and didn’t really imagine that what they did might be wrong.  At some point, man crossed a line away from that kind of innocence, and started to think more abstractly.

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