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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Beresheet: Parashat Beresheet: What the Nahash Wanted

Contributed by: R. Eric Mizrahi

The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Beresheet 2:25)
Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals Hashem had made. He said to the woman, "Did Hashem really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" (Beresheet 3:1)
Hashem made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Beresheet 3:21)
In this weeks parasha, we read that Adam and Hava did not feel any shame being naked in Gan Eden. We then read the entire episode regarding the sin of the eating from the Tree of Knowledge. We then read how Hashem made Kotnot Or- literally garments of leather- for Adam and his wife. As the order of the verses indicate, these verses lead one into the other, after eating from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and his wife realized their nakedness, were embarrassed, and Hashem did hesed with them, and provided them with clothing.

However, in the midrash, Hashems providing clothing did not stem from their sin. Rather, according to R. Yihoshua ben Qorha, Hashem made the Kotnot Or from the very beginning of their existence, as a human being is not built to survive bare exposure in the world, even to mild heat or mild cold. After this act of hesed, the entire episode with the snake transpired.

Meaning, according to this opinion, the verses are out of order.

Rashi, understanding the peshat like this opinion, asks- why interrupt the verse which states that Adam and Hava had no shame from the verse that indicates that Hashem made them clothing? Why insert the story of the snake in the middle, before completing the idea that Hashem provided for his creations from the very beginning?

Hashem explains that the verses are portraying the reason why the snake approached Hava. The snake had seen Adam and Hava having relations, and desired Hava. Although (according to this opinion) Adam and Hava already had clothing, because they did not experience shame, they had no issue undressing and having relations in front of the animals. Upon seeing this, the snake reacted and tried to isolate Hava for himself.

The Nesiv from Volosion explains that this answer is farfetched. As we learn in the gemara, animals specifically crave their own kind, and do not crave other species. To do so would be unnatural. Therefore, the Nesiv brings a different answer why these verses interrupt the natural flow of the story. He explains that the snake witnesses the deveqout, clingingness of Hava to Adam. It was not about the relations. Quite the opposite. In the animals kingdom, the mate usually only interacts with the female when they are desiring to procreate. However, Hava clung to Adam at all times. She was created FROM Adam, and was attached to him mentally and spiritually.

Beezrat Hashem we learn from this example, how to treat our own spouses. The connection one should experience with ones spouse should never only be on a physical level, but rather should also be established in other facets of life, strengthening the family unit, in our great nation.
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