Unfortunately, due to my own error last week, the beginning of my article was cut off, so I will give somewhat of an introduction now.
The familiar story of Adam and Eve’s creation and, eventually, ejection from the Garden of Eden is the story of humanity and, therefore, the story of each and everyone one of us. A deep and close reading of the verses can convey messages about the nature of mankind and give an eye-opening view on one of the most powerful forces that drive man; the search for intimacy.
Last week, we saw Adam’s desire for a significant other, for his opposite helper, who would not only be a co-worker but who would complete him and be his soul-mate.
Adam was lucky and did not need to search for too long as God created the perfect woman for him from his own flesh and bone.
God built the rib that He had taken from man into a woman and He brought her to man.
Even though God had formed her and knew that she was the ultimate mate for man, still He had to bring her to Adam to get approval. Intimate connections cannot only be formed on paper. They may look perfect in the planning stages but that is not enough to create a perfect couple. Anyone who has tried to match up two people knows how true this is. Obviously, the root elements must exist before we can even contemplate fixing up a man and woman to become a couple. However, even when it all looks good on paper, it may just not click. That metaphysical element of connection may be missing and, try as we might, the shidduch just will not work.
God brought the woman that He had formed from Adam’s rib to man to see that they would be attracted to each other. Intimacy relies heavily on attraction. Often first impressions are what will make or break a relationship. While this may be annoying and frustrating for some who find it hard to make a good first impression, this is the reality of relationships. Do not despair since this element is impossible to predict and is not an objective quality. The subjective nature of attraction means that people will be attracted to their mates and spouses irrespective of other peoples’ opinions of their choice. Often it is impossible to explain what one person sees in another and finds attractive. Yet this attraction can contribute greatly to happy couples and healthy relationships. So without Adam’s approval, God would never have left him alone with the woman.
The man said “This time a bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh, she will be called woman because she was taken from man.”
Adam approves, because he realizes that this is the one, This time it is different. He makes that decision and arrives at that realization immediately without any communication with the woman. This seems a little reckless and even foolish. However, the sign that the connection is real is his ability to call her by a name. We already saw Adam’s talent of giving names in relation to the animal kingdom. He gave names that then became their names forever because he was able to understand and define their essence.
When man gave woman her name, he showed the deep connection to her soul. Later, he will give her another name, Eve, that expresses her role as the mother of all humanity (see BeReishit 3:20) but, initially, he called her Woman since she came from Man, or in Hebrew, Isha from Ish. The name implies the deep soul connection between the two. Eve, Chavah, is woman’s role in relation to the rest of humanity and creation, but Woman is her name in relation to Man himself. Man and Woman will connect together and create a life for themselves. They will find an intimate connection that will give rise to new life and new creativity. When man calls his new mate a name, he recognizes their connection. God must have been happy and left them alone to discover each other.
More on that next week.