Only After the First Sabbath

So the Lord God banished him from the garden of Eden - a Rabbinic view.

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff
INN:GA

The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work that He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done (Gen. 2:1-3).

A Rabbinic view in the Midrash is that God allowed Adam and Eve to be in the Garden of Eden one more day after they had sinned.  God delayed confronting Adam and Eve for their sin of eating from the tree from which He had forbidden them because of deference to the honor and sanctity of the first Sabbath. 

It was only after the first Sabbath that: He drove the man out, and stationed east of the garden of Eden the cherubim and the fiery ever-turning sword, to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen 3:24).  The midrash states:

“The Rabbis maintain: His glory abode with him, but at the termination of the Sabbath He deprived him of his splendor and expelled him from the Garden of Eden, as it is written, You overpower him forever and he perishes; You alter his visage and dispatch him (Job 14: 20). As soon as the sun set on the night of the Sabbath, the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to hide the light , but He showed honor to the Sabbath; hence it is written, (Gen. 2:3) And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done. Wherewith did He bless it? With light.

When the sun set on the night of the Sabbath, the light continued to function, whereupon all began praising, as it is written, Under the whole heaven they sing praises to Him He lets it loose beneath the entire heavens—His lightning, to the ends of the earth. (Job 37:3).” Genesis Rabbah 11:2. 

Because of the honor of the first Sabbath, God did not banish Adam and Eve on the very day they sinned.  God allowed Adam and Eve to be in the Garden of Eden and to enjoy all its splendor including the Light from the first day of creation to continue. They probably had prophecy then of future generations as related in the midrash[1].  The midrash views the future world to be in the Garden of Eden with the Light of the first day of Creation.

At the termination of the First Sabbath, God took away the Light of the first day of creation. Adam and Eve were afraid:

They heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of day; and the man and his wife hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. The Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat of the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat?” The man said, “The woman You put at my side—she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (Gen. 3:8-12)

Rashi says on at the breezy time of day with the sun setting in the west.  Commentaries add that God made a mild breeze so as not frighten Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve knew they sinned and were ashamed. They tried to hide themselves, as Job says: Did I hide my transgressions like Adam, Bury my wrongdoing in my bosom, That I should [now] fear the great multitude, And am shattered by the contempt of families, So that I keep silent and do not step outdoors? (Job 31:33-34).

Surely God did not judge Adam and Eve on the Sabbath itself, as written: “one may not judge [in a lawsuit] …on a festival, how much more on Sabbath” (Beitzah 36b).

Possibly Adam sinned because he loved his Eve so much he could not refuse anything she asked.  We can imagine Adam reciting sentiments to his beloved Eve, such as How fair you are, how beautiful! O Love, with all its rapture! Your stately form is like the palm, Your breasts are like clusters. I say: Let me climb the palm, Let me take hold of its branches; Let your breasts be like clusters of grapes, Your breath like the fragrance of apples (Song 7:7-9).

Possibly Eve sinned because of the wiles of the Serpent, as written: Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild beasts that the Lord God had made (Gen. 3:1).  In the midrash at Saturday night, with the loss of the Light, Adam was afraid serpents would bite him[2].  The midrash says that at the termination of the first Sabbath God inspired Adam to make fire by striking one stone to another[3].

In Genesis chapter 1 the Bible relates the six days of God’s work that includes creation of man:   And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen. 1:27).  In Genesis 2:1-3 the Bibles relates the blessing and sanctity of the first Sabbath. Since one may not judge on the Sabbath, the Bible relates nothing in Genesis chapter 1 for which we may want to judge man.

After describing the first Sabbath, the Bible relates matters that occurred before the first Sabbath. The Bible here, as in other places, does not follow a strict chronological order. In chapter 2 the Bible repeats, with different details, God’s creation of man: the Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. (Gen. 2:7). In chapter 2 God commands: but as for the tree of knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat of it; for as soon as you eat of it, you shall die.” (Gen. 2:17).

 In chapter 3 the Bible tells of the Serpent and of Adam and Eve’s sin which happened before the first Sabbath described in Gen. 2:1-3: When the woman saw that the tree was good for eating and a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable as a source of wisdom, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate (Gen. 3:6).

After Adam and Eve sinned, came the first Sabbath with its light of the first day, the light that goes to the ends of the earth in an instant.  With the termination of the first Sabbath, Adam and Eve become conscious of their sin and fearful.  God approaches them.  The result was God’s curses and God expels Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

I see today in Israel, because of the Sabbath, the rabbis postpone minor holidays and minor fast-days that occur on Sunday as that may impinge on the holiness and sanctity of the Sabbath.  This is what happened at the first Sabbath. God delayed man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden for the sanctity of the first Sabbath. It was only after the first Sabbath So the Lord God banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he was taken (Gen. 3:23).

Sources

[1] “And that is what Resh Lakish meant when he said: What is the meaning of the verse This is the record of Adam’s line (Gen. 5:1)? It is to intimate that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed him [Adam] every generation and its thinkers every generation and its sages. When he came to the generation of Rabbi Akiba, he [Adam] rejoiced at his learning but was grieved at his death, and said: How weighty Your thoughts seem to me, O God, how great their number! (Psalms 139:17)” (Sanhedrin 38b).

[2] “When the sun sank at the termination of the Sabbath, darkness began to set in. Adam was terrified, [thinking,] If I say, “Surely darkness will conceal me, night will provide me with cover,” (Palms 139:11): shall he of whom it was written [serpents], They shall strike at your head (Gen. 3:15) now come to attack me! (Genesis Rabbah 12:6).

[3]  “At the termination of the Sabbath the Holy One, blessed be He, inspired Adam with knowledge of a kind similar to Divine [knowledge], and he procured two stones and rubbed them on each other, and fire issued from them” ( Pesachim 54a).






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