Bereshis-In the beginning" The Vilina Goan writes that the first word in the Torah is an acronym for the values that fill life with meaning.
Beis- Bitachon trust in Hashem
Reish-Ratzun-Desire to live according to His will
Aleph-Ahava- Love for Hashem and Man is the essence of the Torah
Shin-Shtika- Silence, for it is the degree of control one exercises over his mouth that defines his spiritual level. One cannot learn while speaking.
Yud-Yireh-Fear or Reverence, while love is essential, one must not over familiarize himself with Hashem.
Tuf- Torah- Only through the study and practice of Torah can one truly transform one's life into one of sanctity and meaning.
(1:1) “Bereishis Boro Elokim-In the beginning G-D created.” We begin the Torah with the name of Hashem Elokim that means strict judgment. Rashi says that this was the original plan, to create a world that would be judged immediately. But Hashem saw that the world could not exist this way so he tempered it with Rachamim. Thus the second chapter adds Hashem Elokim to the narrative. But the entire first chapter does say that Elokim created the world? Where is this world? Also in the entire first chapter there is no mention of the first sin? In fact it says that man may eat from all the trees of the garden with no exception? Then the story of creation advances into Shabbos with no interruption?
The first place in the Torah where we find the use of the name of Hashem that implies the attribute of mercy is (2:4) “Ayleh Toldos Hashomayim V'Haretz B'heBorom B'yom Asos Hashem Elokim Eretz V'shomayim-These are the products of the heaven and earth when they were created in the day that Hashem Elokim created earth and heaven.” Rashi explained that the original plan was for the world to be created with strict judgment but Hashem knew that it could not endure. Therefore he tempered it with mercy. Thus the expression in this verse of the two names of Hashem/Elokim are used. The Kli Yakar adds that in telling of the creation of the Universe as a whole, Elokim is used. This is why this verse mentioned heaven first, for indeed the celestial beings can endure being governed by Justice alone. But when man is to enter the scene, earth is mentioned first and the added use of Hashem signifies that His justice must be tempered with mercy. This would seem to imply that the entire first chapter of the Torah deals with the creation of the spiritual realm. This is why there is no mention of the original sin. No mention of the forbidden fruit. We know that every physical aspect of creation has its spiritual counterpart. Perhaps we can say that this is the meaning of this first chapter. Elokim did create a world able to withstand strict justice, the spiritual world.
According to the G'ra, for every posuk in the Torah there is a corresponding year in history, therefore the last posukim in the Torah represent the last years of the world, as we know it. There will be the coming of Moshiach, followed by Techiyas Hamaisim and then Olam Habo. What is Olam Habo? Olam Habo is what happens after that last posuk in the Torah? We might therefore suggest then that we begin once more, that this new beginning will be the way Hashem originally had in mind. The cycle is complete. A world where there can be strict judgment and we go straight into Shabbos- Yom Shekulo Shabbos. Right from the start we are shown this goal. This first chapter of the Torah portrays this ideal for us to strive for.
(1:1) “Bereishis Boro Elokim-In the beginning G-D created.” The last letters of these three words spell the word Emes - Truth. This alludes to the idea that the signature of Hashem is truth. One might ask why use the last letters rather than the first? R.Frand writes a very insightful answer. The truth of Hashem can sometimes only be recognized at the end. Often times while a person lives through certain events and life circumstances, he is unable to see Hashem’s “truth”. However, in the end, in retrospect, a person can sometimes see and appreciate the “Truth” of Hashem’s ways, which he could not see or appreciate earlier. A person often goes through difficult periods in which he might question why G-d is doing these things to him. We must always bear in mind that the “Signature of Hashem is Truth”. We might not see it ahead of time, we might not see it when events unfold, but hopefully we will see it in the end.
(1:1) “Bereishis-In the beginning.” The first word is an acronym for Berishona Rah Hashem Shyikabel Yisroel Torah- Originally Hashem saw that Israel would accept the Torah. (Baal Haturim) Also, among many other variations, the word Bereishis contains the letters rearranged to spell Aleph B'Tishrei.
(1:2) "V'ruach Elokim Mirachefes al Penei Hamoyim-And the spirit of Hashem Hovered over the waters." Why is this mentioned? There seems to be no particular act of creation performed here? This comes to teach us that Hashem is constantly involved in this world. Before man and before any separation due to man's sin, Hashem is close and actively overseeing the physical world.
(1:5) “Vayehe Erev Vayehe Boker Yom Echad-And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” The verse does not say it was evening then it was morning. Rather it says there was evening and there was morning. According to the Ba'al HaMaor at the same time that it was day in one place on earth, there was another place on earth where it was night. Thus there is always day and night at the same time on earth.
(1:8) The word “Tov” does not appear on the second day for several reasons. 1- The fires of Gehenom were started. 2- The angel of death was created. 3- The first division occurred. 4-It was foreseen that Moishe, who was called “Tov” would have his downfall through water. 5-The world was created for the benefit of man. Until there was an earth for man to exist upon the world, the term good could not yet apply.
(1:10) Vayomer Elokim Yikvu Hamyim...El Mokom Echad Vteroeh Hayabasha-Hashem said let the waters be gathered unto one place and let the dry land appear.” The Zohar writes that the earth was called dry land before the waters receded. This is why the earth (Eretz) comes from the word “Rotz”to run. Because the earth rushed to do the will of its creator in anticipation of His word.
(1:11) “Eitz Pri Oseh Pri-Hashem commanded the trees to bring forth fruits.” Originally it was meant to be that the taste of the fruit should be equal to the taste of the tree. But the earth did not listen and the trees did not have the taste of the fruit (1:12) Eitz Oseh Pri. Yet on this verse it is written “Hashem saw that it was good.” How could it be good if the earth did not listen?
The answer is that by the earth not listening Adam was able to give the excuse that he was created from the earth which did not listen to the words of Hashem so how could he be expected to be different from that which he was created from? His innate nature was deficient. That’s why Hashem said “Tov”even when the earth didn't listen. Now Adom's punishment could be less severe. This is why the earth was punished along with Adom.
Alternatively we may ask Why did Hashem wait to punish the ground instead of doing so immediately at the time of its sin? The Taz explains that it was the sin of the ground in disobeying Hashem’s command which was indirectly responsible for the sin of Adam.
According to one opinion in the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 15:8), the forbidden fruit which Adom and Chava ate was an esrog, and the Gemora (Sukkah 35a) teaches that the esrog is the only fruit which followed Hashem’s command and tastes like the tree on which it grows. Because of its unique status, Adom had a tremendous desire for it, which would not have been the case had the earth obeyed Hashem’s command, in which case all fruits would taste like the trees on which they grow. Therefore, the earth was punished at the time of Adom’s sin. Alternatively, the Kli Yakar points out that the primary victim of the earth’s punishment, which was that it would be full of annoying insects and thorns, was man. At the time of the earth’s initial disobedience, Adom hadn’t done anything wrong and didn’t deserve to suffer, but once he sinned, the earth could now receive its punishment.
The question remains however how could the earth disobey Hashem's command? The Mahari’l Diskin explains how it was possible for the trees to deviate from Hashem's command to come into being as trees of fruit making fruit to their species, meaning that the taste of the wood of the tree should be the same as that of the fruit, as pointed out by Rashi, and how they could deviate. The Mahari’l Diskin answers that Hashem gave them the leeway and ability to not follow his command.
The Maharal of Prague also deals with this problem. According to this Mahari’l Diskin trees also had free will in this one aspect. Perhaps this is what is meant by "Ki ho'odom eitz haso'deh" (Devorim 20:19). This would also explain why there is "ki tov" mentioned twice on the second day. The other vegetation came into being as per Hashem's wishes and retained their nature invested by Hashem, hence once "ki tov." The fruit producing trees did not do this, as they deviated from Hashem's wish that the taste of their wood should be the same as the fruit, but once they came into being, they no longer were able to deviate from their nature, hence a second, and different level of "ki tov." As mentioned before, the Meshech Chochmoh says that this is the intention of the word TZELEM - form, freewill. Eitz, a tree, also had some free will. A mathematical allusion to this might be that Eitz = 160 = Tzelem. It is interesting that man's sin enabled by free will took place with a tree.
The Kol Torah writes that the Earth’s sin mentioned here was committed before the advent of natural law, when the onrushing flow of creation was replaced by the powerful rhythm of the working universe. It stemmed from a feeling which, in itself, was just but overzealous. The Earth was aware that Hashem wanted to preserve the species and reasoned that when man is created and becomes numerous; men will need large quantities of food. They will not wait patiently for years until the fruit grows but instead will cut down trees and use them for food, thereby killing them off rapidly. Therefore it would be better if the tree had a different taste than the fruit. This coincides with what we mentioned above (1:10) as to why the earth (Eretz) comes from the word “Rotz”to run. Because the earth rushed to do the will of its creator in anticipation of His word. However in this case, second guessing Hashem was a mistake very similar to the mistake Adom made in eating from the Eitz Hadas.
Regarding the sixth day (1:31) the word “Sheshe” is written with the letter “hey-Ha’Sheshe.” This comes to teach us about the sixth day of Sivan (Matan Torah). But right after that (2:2) the verse writes about the seventh day “Ha’sheve” also with the extra “Hey”? If the beginning of the Torah speaks about the perfect world before the chet, where Adom had all his needs taken care of and the malachim would feed him, what need then was there for Shabbos. Rest from what?
It could be that each day of creation was of itself separate from the other days. Each day was a different aspect of creation. Shabbos came and harmoniously joined together these seemingly unrelated aspects of creation into a functioning unit. So the “Hey” of “Hasheve” means that the seventh day was Mashlim the Beriah (Completed Creation).
In the above posuk (1:11) it also says “vayihe chaine” (and it was so). If the earth didn't listen how could it say it was so? It could be that when the posuk says “Vayehe Chaine” it is referring to the trees in Gan Eden. The next posuk says Eitz oseh Pri this is referring to the rest of the trees in the world. In addition later (2:9) when Hashem planted the trees in Gan Eden it says “Kol Eitz Nechmad Limareh Ve'Tov Le'Machel ”- Every tree that is pleasant to look at and good to eat. It mentions tree not fruit so it would be proper to say that in Gan Eden the earth did produce trees that have the same taste as their fruits. Outside of Gan Eden the earth didn't listen to Hashem it was Eitz oseh pri. The order of the words in the posukim (1:11-12) read first “eitz pri oseh pri , vayehe chaine” then it says “eitz oseh pri.” Therefore perhaps “veyehe chaine” pertains only to the land inside Gan Eden.
(1:16) “Vayas Elokim es Shinei H’Mioros...V’es Hakochavim-Hashem made the two great lights...and the stars.” Rashi says that the stars were added to placate the moon after it had been reduced. But the moon and stars have their own purpose? The Tiferes Tzion writes that the stars were originally not supposed to have been seen. Only after the moon accepted its reduction was the light of the stars added.
(1:22) “Vayivorech Osom Elokim- And Hashem blessed them” Only the fish and birds received blessings to be fruitfull. The animals were left out so as not to bless the snake. This could be why certain animals become extinct and need preservation. Which is not the case with fish and birds for they have this blessing.
(1:25) "Vayar Elokim Ki Tov-Hashem saw that it was good." Hashem saw that it had reached its intended state. This phrase is left out by man? The standard for man is higher. He is Biden not to stagnate, but to constantly strive for a higher standard to reach the potential intended for him. (Rav Yosef Albo)
(1:26) “Vayomer Elokim Na’aseh Adom- Hashem said let’s make man.” Many commentators have struggled with this statement. Who is Hashem talking to? Why is the making of man said in plural? One answer said over in the name of R. Sholomo Freifeld is that Hashem is speaking to all the future generations. Man was created from the start to develop into a stature of greatness. But it takes a cumulative effort of all of mankind for this process to be achieved. This could possibly be the connection between the end of the Torah and the beginning. At the end in parsha’s Zos Habracha Moishe Rabeinu is called “Eish Elokim” a man of G-d. Here at the start of mankind there is a reference to what man can become.
The Zohar HaKadosh suggests that Hashem wanted man to be comprised of all of the creatures in the world. He should be a veritable microcosm of the creations preceding him. This is why when Hashem was about to create man, He called together all creatures and said, Naase Adam, “Let us make man.” He should have a bit of every creature in him. Thus, all the creatures “shared” in the creation of man.
(1:27) “Vayivra Elokim es H’Adom B’Tzalmo, B’Tzelem Elokim Boro Oso-G-D (Elokim) created man in His image, in the image of G-d (Elokim) He created him.” How is it possible for man to be created in G-d’s image when G-d has no image? One of the fundamentals of Judaism, “The thirteen principals of faith” states that we believe that the creator is not physical? The answer lies in the name of Hashem used here “Elokim” According to the Shulchan aruch the name conveys “Master of all energy in the universe.” This is much more than just the architect of a building. Once the building is complete there no longer is a need for the architect. But Hashem’s relationship with His creation is radically different. The universe can only survive through His continuing input of energy. Using this idea, Man created in the image of G-d means that just a s the universe is totally dependant on constant input from Hashem, it is equally dependant on constant input from Man.
When He created man and gave him free will, He implemented the policy that all further inputs of Divine energey would be supplied by Him only in response to the thoughts, words and deeds of man. The amount of energy aupplied to the universe by Elokim at any time , on every level, from the sphere of the highest angels down to the most physical aspects of being, is totally dependant on man’s actions. This makes man an active partner in creation whose contribution very much resembles G-d’s.
(1:29) “Vayomer Elokim Hinei Nosaty Lochem- es Kol Ho’eitz Asher Bo Pri-Eitz-Lochem Yihiyeh L’achlah-Hashem said behold I have given to you every tree that has seed yielding fruit, it shall be yours for food.” This verse seems to neglect to mention the one tree that was forbidden to eat from? In this, the first chapter of the Torah there is no mention of the sin of Adom nor is there any mention of the prohibition either? The Ohr Hachaim says that the prohibition was only meant to be until the first Shabbos. This entire first chapter refers to a perfect state where man has reached Shabbos and therefore the fruit would no longer be forbidden. Perhaps we can say that this was the goal and the Torah is displaying what the model world should have been. This would also answer why the entire first chapter uses the name of Hashem that represents “din”- strict justice. As the first Rashi explains, originally Hashem wished to create the world with strict justice but He saw that it would not be able remain in existence. He therefore tempered it with mercy (Rachamim) thus the second chapter exclusively uses the names of Hashem/Elokim which represent both justice and mercy
(2:4) “Shomayim V’Eretz” The Posuk then reverses the order? This verse begins speaking of Hashem using the name of Hashem that connotes mercy. The narrative will now begin being concerned with man. (Kol Torah)
Was Man originally created to be eternal before the chet of the Eitz Hadas?
There are several questions that can possibly be tied to one aspect of the creation. That is whether Adom was originally created to be eternal before the chet of the Eitz Hadas?
The first question is regarding the two trees it says were in the center of the garden (2:9) “VeEitz Hachaim betoch hagan VeEitz Hadas Tov Ver'ah.” But then there is no further mention of the Eitz Hachaim until after the chet (3:22) when it says Hashem took Adom out of the garden lest he eat from the Eitz Hachaim and live forever. What was its' purpose and why is it mentioned? Plus it wasn't included in the command not to eat from.
The second question is if Adom was originally created to be eternal what difference would it make if he ate from the Eitz Hachaim?
The third question is the posuk says (2:7) that Hashem “created man from the dust” the word used for created is “vayetzer” spelled with two “yuds”. Rashi says this represents two creations one for this world and one for “Techiyas Hamaisim”. But if man was not supposed to die he would not need this ability to have been placed in him from his very creation?
The fourth question is when Hashem warned Adom not to eat from the Eitz Hadas he said (2:17) “The day you eat from the tree is the day you will die”. Yet after the chet there is no mention of his dying? It only speaks of cursing the ground, having to get food by the sweat of your brow and eventually returning to dust. What about “The day you eat from the tree is the day you will die”?
The fifth question is if death were the punishment for disobeying Hashem's command what would be the reward? It could not be eternity if he already had that?
To answer these questions perhaps we can say that the Eitz Hadas was a test for Adom to get through, having past, he would have merited to eat from the Eitz Hachaim. Then he would have lived forever. That’s why the two trees were in the center of the garden. He had to pass one to get to the other. This would answer the first two questions about the purpose of the Eitz Hachaim and also explain the third about Techias Hamaisim. From the start his eternity was in question.
To answer the fourth question about the day he would die, we might say that the day he ate from the Eitz Hadas he was denied access to the Eitz Hachaim and therefore lost eternity on that day. So now the fifth question also no longer exists because the reward would have been the opposite of death. It would have been an eternal life which Adam had the potential for but never attained.(Nirreh Li)
(2:9) “Vayatzmach Hashem Elokim-Hashem caused to grow.” The Gerah explains how every posuk in the Torah corresponds with a year in history. That means that if you count the pesukim from Bereishis you would find a posuk that relates to a particular event of that years history relevant to Klal Yisroel. For example the year Israel became a state. 1948 or in the Hebrew calendar 5708. The 5,708th posuk in the Torah reads (Devarim 30:5) “V’heviacha Hashem El Ha’aretz Asher Yorshu Avosecha V’yerishtah-I will bring you to the land of your forefathers and you will inherit it.” If you counted back nine posukim or nine years to 1939 we arrive at the end of the Tochacha. The posuk just before it says “When the nations of the world will ask why are these things terrible things happening to Israel?” The answer is (Devarim 29:24) “V’omeru Al Asher Azvu Es-Bris Hashem...Asher Koras Imam B’hotzi Osom M’eretz Mitzraim-Because they forsook the covenant I made with them when I took them out of Mitzraim.” A few posukoim later we find the last verse in that chapter. The year is 1945 the end of WWII and the end of a terrible chapter in the history of Klal Yisroel. But it is perhaps a statement that sums up the Holocaust better than any Eli Wiesel novel ever could. Many people have tried to explain or rationalize the Holocaust. However this statement by the Torah sums it up best.“Hanisterous L’Hashem V’haniglos Lanu U’livaneinu- The hidden things are for Hashem and the revealed things are for us and our children.” We cannot understand how Hashem works in this world. The hidden things are beyond our comprehension. We just have to know that there is a Cheshbon.
The destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh, the stories of Chanuka and Purim, Over and over throughout history the Torah defines the events of a particular year. If that is true then how many posukim are there in the whole Torah? Are there 6,000 posukim, are there more? How can this be? But in fact there aren’t 6,000 posukim there is only 5846 according to the Bible Scholar. What does this mean?
We say in Davening “Acharis K’reishis” Which means that the final Geulah will be like the first one. Regarding the first Geulah, Klal Yisroel were supposed to be in Mitzraim for 400 years but they were only there for 210 years. It was shortened by 190 years. Maybe this the final golus will also be shortened by 190 years? However if you subtract 5,846 from 6,000 you don’t get 190. You are left with 154. The thought is as follows. Pirkei D’Rebelezer writes that there are letters in the Aleph Beis that are written one way in the middle of a word and differently at the end of a word. These are known as Menatzpach The letters of Geulah, Mem, Nun, Tzaddik, Phey, Kuf. According to Pirkei D’Rebelezer all of them have been used for Geulah except one. The Tzaddik. The letter used for the name of the Moshiach - Tzemach. Now when Moishe Rabeinu was sent down to Mitzraim he was given a sign so that Klal Yisroel would know that he was the true Moshiach. He was told him to say “Pokod Pokadity” The double Phey of Menatzpach
The question is that really anyone could have known this secret. Why should that alone cause them to believe him? The Baal Haturim writes that only Moshe knew the real meaning behind the words Pokod Pokadity, that the gematria of the word Pokod equals 190. Only the true Moishiach could say that Pokod (190) Pokadity (should be subtracted) Only the true Moishiach could have known that the time to leave Egypt is now, that the golus was to be shortened by 190 years.
We know that one of the names of the Moshiach will be Tzemach and the letter for the final geulah will be the Tzaddik. If you subtract 5846 (the number of posukim in the Torah) from 6,000 your left with 154. The first place in the Torah where we find this Gematria is the word Vayatzmach (from the root Tzemach) is in Bereishis (2:9) during the six days of creation when Hashem created Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden). This is the first place in the Torah where this number appears. So if the final redemption will be like the first, the number of years to be removed will connect to the letters of Geulah.
There are two other words that have this numerical value. 154 equals Tzemach Dovid which is the name of the Moshiach as well as the words Olam Habo the world to come. This could be the meaning behind the words said by Sefardim daily in Kadesh "Vayatzmach Pirkunei V'korev M'shichei"
(2:3) “Vyivorech Elokim es Yom H'Shevi-And Hashem blessed the seventh day.” Rashi explains that Hashem blessed the seventh day with the Munn by having a double portion fall on the sixth day. In the vast span of history how do we understand how a relatively brief 40 year period during which the munn fell, could serve as the blessing of Shabbos for all time? The answer is that this blessing illustrates for all future generations who may come along and question, “How can we refrain from work for an entire day? How will we be able to survive without providing sustenance for ourselves?” For this did the blessing of the munn come. So that every generation will know that by observing the word of Hashem an entire nation was sustained in the dessert for forty years by means of this heavenly bread.(Nachalas Yakov)
(2:5) “V’chol Siach Hsodeh Terem Yiyeh Boretz- All the plants of the field were not yet on the earth.” Rashi writes that the plants did not grow because it had not yet rained. It did not rain because there was not yet Man on the earth to work the soil, to appreciate the benefits of rain. The Oznayim L’Torah writes that the work was the work of the heart, prayer.
(2:15) “Vayikach Hashem es H’Odom Vayanicheihu B’gan Eden L’Ovdo U’Lshomro- Hashem took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to guard it.” The purpose of placeing man in the garden was to teach us that life is meaningless without duties. Gifts are unattractive without effort. The Torah Temimah writes that only after working the garden was man permitted to eat from it. It is improper for man to benefit from this world without contributing something.
(2:16) “Mikol Eitz Hgan Achal Tochal- You may eat from every tree in the garden.” This was the first command given to Man. A positive command before the negative command.
(2:22) “Vayiven Hashem es HaTzelah asher Lokach min H’Adom L’Isha- Hashem fashioned the side that he took from the man into a woman.” Chazal learn from here that women are given an extra measure of understanding that men do not posess. Woman’s intuition.
Rashi says (3:1) that the Nochosh saw the intimacy of Adom and Chava and desired her. But if that is the case why would he trick her into eating from the eitz? That would cause her to die? It could be according to the Netziv that what he saw was the special relationship that they had with each other. Unlike all the animals that mate instinctively, man and woman have this unique bond which comes from them having been created of the same flesh. This special bond is what the Nochosh envied. So in reality he wanted them both to die since he could never have this relationship with Chava.
(3:1) “V’hanochosh Hayu Arum..And the snake was cunning.” The word Nochosh equals 358 in Gematria. The same as Moshiach. This teaches us that had they passed the test it would have brought the Messiah. In the future there will once again be a test. May we be worthy enough to pass it the next time.
(3:12) “Vayomer H’adom Hoisha Asher Nosatoh Imodi He Nosnah Li Min HoEitz V’Ochal-The man said the woman that you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate.” What Adom was saying was that he assumed that the command was not to eat from the tree directly. But he did not eat from the tree rather he ate from what was given to him. Chava, the woman given to him plucked the fruit from the tree and gave it to Adom. (Malbim)
(3:8) “Vayishmu Es Kol Hashem Elokim Mishalech B’Gan-They heard the sound of Hashem travelling through the garden.” What sounds did Hashem make and why was this frightening to them? Had they not previously spoken with Hashem? Rather earlier they had direct contact. This was now removed for sin causes seperation. What was left was a Bas Kol, a heavenly sound which in their post sin lowered state, was more than they could bear.
(3:14) Part of the punishment of the snake was that the female would have the longest gestation period of any of the animals. How is this a punishment for the male? He was the culprit in all of this? However when the female snake becomes pregnant she no longer has relations with the male. Thus the punishment for the male is to have to wait before fulfilling its desires.
(3:16) “El Ha'Eisha Omar Harboh Arbeh Etzvonech- Ve'El-Eishaich Teshukusech Ve'hu Yimshal Boch” For the woman I will greatly increase the pain in childbearing- Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule you! The question is what does this have to do with eating from the Eitz Hadas? What kind of mede keneged mede is this punishment meant to be?
In all of this narrative we don't find that the “peri” is mentioned when speaking of the trees that are permissible nor the tree that was not permissible. All that is mentioned is the “Eitz Hadas” not the “peri Eitz Hadas”. It was Hashem's intention that the means should be as important as the ends. The Eitz is just as important as the peri. Originally the spiritual aspect of man (neshama) wanted the same thing as the physical (guf) .They were equally important. The first mention of the peri is when the snake asks Chava (3:1) “Did Hashem say you can't eat from any of the trees in the garden?” Note he does not mention the fruit of the tree. And Chava answers “from the fruit of the trees we can eat but from the fruit of the tree in the center of the garden we may not eat, nor touch it lest we die.” Rashi says on the spot she should not have added to the original restriction.
This could perhaps explain the punishment that ensued. For Chava it says (3:16) “I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth.” And for Adom it says (3:17) “Through hard labor will you find your livelihood.” Hashem had emphasized the means are important (the Eitz) while Chava was only interested in the ends (the peri). So her punishment was that she would be forced to see the effort it will take for her to come to her peri. The pain of childbirth will show this mede keneged mede. As for Adom he was not interested in the means of getting his food. But rather the end result was he had food. Now he must toil for his livelihood mede keneged mede. As for her desire being towards her husband, the Ohr H’chaim writes we see by the Chet that she looked at the fruit, she desired it, and she took it. Now she will no longer be able to take what she desires. She would pine for her husband as a passive partner, her husband would decide if and when to indulge her desire. Her husband would always derive satisfaction from the mating process without a guarantee that her desire would be satisfied. And finally, instead of being like Hashem, which is what the snake told her she would be if she ate from the tree, she would be dominated not only by Hashem but by her husband as well.
As for the snake, he wanted to take the place of man as the highest of all living things. As mentioned before he wanted them both to die. This would mean that he who could stand upright and could speak would now be next in line. So his punishment was (3:14) to be “the most cursed of all the animals.” Now he would be the lowest of all animals. And because he tried to come between man and his wife, he will have strife between him and his wife.
We don't find that the ability to speak was taken away from the snake. Why then don't snakes speak today? The Ohr Hachaim says that Adom was so in tune with the cosmos at that time that he was able to understand all of the animals. We see that he named all of the animals with such perception because he understood what each of them was. He could even hear how the leaves were praising Hashem. After the Chet this ability left him along with the ability to see from one end of the earth to the other. Therefore he no longer had the ability to understand the animals.
(4:2) “V’atosef Loledes es Achiv es Hevel- She gave birth again, to his brother Hevel.” Cain was born with a twin sister. The fact that the Torah uses the extra word “es” by the birth of Hevel indicates that Hevel was born with two sisters. This could be the reason they fought. Cain wanted two wives because he was the older of the two. But why did Hevel deserve to die? There must be justice in the world? It says that when Hevel brought his korbon Hashem made a fire come down and consume it. Hevel looked at the Shechina and received pleasure from it. This is why he deserved death. Moishe they say was the reincarnation of Hevel. He corrected this act by not gazing at the Shechina when he stood before the burning bush on Har Sinai.
(4:8) “Vayomer Kayin el-Hevel-Kayin said to Hevel.” The posuk never mentions what was said just prior to the murder. Rashi says that he engaged him in an argument in order to find a pretext to kill him. The Midrash says that Kayin and Hevel divided the world. The earth belonged to him while everything above belonged to Hevel. Kayin then argued that Hevel should remove himself from his property. Since this could not be done Kayin killed him. This would explain the mede keneged mede (measure for measure) of Kayin’s punishment. Noh V’nod Tihiyeh B’aretz- You will be unsettled, and a wanderer on the earth. Wherever Kayin went the Earth would tremble beneath him.
(4:14) “V’haya Kol Motzi Y’hargeiny- Whoever finds me will kill me.” Hashem postponed the retribusion of Kayin by placing a letter of His name upon him. This was the letter “Yud” which changed his name from it’s original Cain to Kayin. Acording to others he was given a dog. The dog is considered man’s best friend. That loyalty was meant to be a lesson to Kayin for when he had struggled with Hevel he was overtaken by him. When Hevel released him he rose up and killed him. Now wherever he would go the dog would serve as a reminder of his lack of loyalty.
(4:25) “ Vayeida Adom Ode es- Ishto- And man once again knew his wife.” The posuk does not mention Chava’s name. Adom now had additonal desire for his wife after 130 years of being separated. Originally man had to see his spouse before having desire. Here no name is mentioned to indicate that the desire can come even without visual stimuli.
(5:5) “Va’Yiyu Kol Yimei Adom Asher Chai Tisha Ma’ous Shoneh U’Shiloshim Shanah Vayomus-All the days that Adom lived were Nine Hundred and Thirty Years and he died.” Adom gave seventy years of his life to Dovid Hamelech. The letters of Adom are Aleph Daled Mem. Aleph-Adom, Daled-Dovid, Mem-Moshiach. Adom was the one responsible for the Shechina's departure from the world. Dovid made the foundation for the Beis Hamikdosh which would return the Shechina. Moshiach will bring the Shichina back permanently.
We don’t find any mention of the death of Chava. However the Zohar Chadash writes that when Adom died Chava petitioned Hashem saying that they had spent their entire lives together, she came from Adom’s side, and they were together in Gan Eden, she pleaded not be separated in death. She raised up her eyes and said “Hashem receive my soul.” Hashem granted her request and she was buried in the Moros Hamachpeila along side her husband. What is interesting, as an epilogue to this story, the numerical value of the number of years they spent together (930) is equal to the verse in this weeks parsha that began it all (2:18) “Vayomer Hashem Elokim Lo Tov Heyous H’Adom Livado-Hashem G-d said “It is not good that man be alone.” is B'gematria 930. Man must not be alone neither in life nor in death.
According to what we just said it would seem as though Chava also gave 70 years of her life to Dovid Hamelech? Perhaps we can say this is why the number 70 is equal to the gematria of Adom V'Chava.
(5:24) “Vayishalech Chanoch es -Elokim V’einenu-Chanoch walked with Hashem, and he was not.” Rashi says that he was a Tzaddik but was susceptible to outside influence. Therefore he was taken at a relatively early age. This is the meaning of the word “einenu-he was not.” The Chasam Sofer writes that Avraham also walked with Hashem. But there was a tremendous difference. Everything that Avraham did was to promote man’s awareness of Hashem in the world. He would constantly reach out to spread the word of Hashem to anyone who would listen. His influence was so greatly felt that he became known as Av Hamoan Goyim-A Father of a multitude of nations. Chanoch, on the other hand, while he too was a tzaddik, did little to spread Hashem’s word beyond his immediate family. His influence was very limited. This is the meaning of the words “einenu-he was not.” After he died there was little trace of anything he left behind.
(6:1) “Vayehe Ki-Heicheil Ha’Adam Lorov Al-Penei H’adama Uvanos Yuldu Lohem-And it came to pass when Man began to increase upon the ground and daughters were born to them.” What is it that the Torah wants to teach us here? Would we not expect daughters to be born to man? The Malbim explains a natural phenomenon that still exists today. That is that as a country is monogamous the numbers of male and female babies born are about equal. But in those countries where polygamy is practiced the number of females born doubles. At this point Lemech began taking many wives, and others followed his example. Therefore more daughters were born than sons. This we are taught was the beginning of the story of the flood. In just a few sentences the Torah describes the underlying causes of this cataclysmic event. First there was moral anarchy, then social and moral corruption to the point where any hope of survival was beyond their reach.
(6:3) “Be'shegam Hu Basar”- Man is predominately flesh. Man's deeds became increasingly corrupt. The characteristic of Tzadikim is that they refine the body to give it spiritual content. The characteristic of the Rasha is to do the reverse. They degrade the spirit making it the tool of the body. This is what the Torah refers to here when it say's “Be'shegam Hu Basar.” His essence became flesh. Man had regressed to the point that there was no longer the Ruach in him worthy of remaining in existence. This could be why the Gemarra in Sanhedrin (108) says that the people who were destroyed by the flood did not receive life in the Hereafter.