Unless otherwise noted, this paper is based on Jewish Social Philosophy Class taught by Gabriel Fagin, MA, LCSW, Adjunct Professor at Wurzweiler School of Social Work.
I always believed that when Adam and Eve were created, they were created together, connected as if Siamese twins at their backs. As a student learning the Bible, I also came to the awareness that Eve was formed from Adam’s rib subsequent to his creation. The Bible tells of the creation of Man and Woman in Chapter One of Genesis, as well as Chapter Two of Genesis. There are numerous differences stated in the text between Adam and Eve created in Chapter One of Genesis and Adam and Eve formed in Chapter Two of Genesis. Below I will delineate the differences and explain how the dynamics are played out through future generations in the nature of humankind.
The Adam and Eve created in Genesis, Chapter One were “formed in the Image of G-d” and there is no actual mention of ‘parts of man’ created at that time. Furthermore, Adam and Eve’s main purpose and mission in life as stated in Chapter One only comprises statements of ‘active verbs’, such as “subdue, dominate, rule, multiply and replenish”. Adam and Eve appear to have been created at the same time and there were no restrictions placed on them.
In contrast, the Adam and Eve creation described in Chapter Two of Genesis appears quite different. Adam was created first, from the dust of the earth as well as G-d blowing into his nostrils. Furthermore, unlike Adam’s creation in Chapter One which included Man’s Purpose as active verbs, the Adam in Chapter Two’s mission in life includes only passive verbs, such as “keep, guard, protect”; these are verbs of submission. Moreover, as stated earlier, Adam was created first in the second chapter of Genesis; while Eve was created later from Adam’s rib. In Chapter Two, the Bible states the reason for Eve’s creation—as a ‘helpmate’ to Adam as well as the fact that it is “not good for man to be alone”. Finally, contrary to the previous chapter, Adam and Eve are given a ‘restriction’ after they are created--not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. How can we explain these two contrary creations of Adam and Eve stated one after the next in Genesis?
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, a noted Rabbi and Torah Scholar, explains how we can understand the differences and how we can apply this concept in our modern-day lives. The following is an explanation based on Rabbi Soloveitchik’s essay, which is titled “The Lonely Man of Faith”.
Rabbi Soloveitchik (1965) demonstrates in the essay (originally a speech given to Nuns) how the creation of both Adams (and Eves) can assist us in arriving at an understanding regarding human nature, even today. He asserts that we, as human beings are both Adam and Eve in Chapter One as well as Chapter Two of Genesis. We are individuals of ‘functionality, practicality and distinction, as well as individuals of loneliness and faith. Furthermore, there is a constant...