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Dvar Torah (Bereshit): Ben Kafin

Shabbat shalom. In my parshah, parshat bereshit, there are many major things that happen. God creates the world; he creates life, plants, animals, and lastly humans. Also there is the matter of Adam and Eve getting sent out of Eden. Here is the story, in case you don’t know it; god made Adam and Eve on the sixth day placing them in the Garden of Eden, and then on the seventh day he rested. He told Adam and Eve that “from all the trees in the garden you may eat, but from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you may not, because it will surely bring you death.” Then came the snake, he said “even if God said do not eat from the tree...” this statement suggests that it is okay to eat from the tree, he proceeds to then trick Eve to eat the fruit and give some to Adam. God saw this and banned them from Eden. He also gave the snake a punishment for tricking them.

Why did the snake do what he did? Let’s look in on that. Rabbi David Fohrman, who directs the Areivim Curriculum Project, and is interested in teaching us how to understand torah in a new way, said “In the eyes of the Midrash, perhaps, the snake gives a voice to these doubts.”Are you really so sure you need a human as a companion?” it whispers, "Why not choose a soul-mate from our world...?" We asked facetiously what the children of such a union might look like. But that's precisely the point. They would be "snake-men". The snake would have co-opted the world of man and made it part and parcel of the animal kingdom.” Basically Rabbi Fohrman is saying that the snake wanted to be part of the human race.


Rashi says “the snake jumped at them (Adam and Eve); he saw them naked and engaging in relations, and he desired her (Eve).” Basically he is saying that the snake loved Eve. But if the snake loved Eve, then why did the snake trick her into eating the fruit? My theory is that in his search for finding a way into being part of the human race, he saw eve and fell in love with her, he tried so hard to get her

attention, but she just ignored him. This would make anyone pretty upset, so upset in fact that in his anger, he hated her. He wanted to get her out of his life. He then came up with the great idea to get them kick them out of Eden. This obviously did not work out well for him.


The snake had an identity problem. He wanted to be better than the humans. But he did not realize that there is a specific order that creation is in. he did not understand why god had made the humans better. He wanted to be better than them, he wanted to be created in god’s image, and he wanted to have the world made to nourish him and not the humans, which is why he thought the humans were better than him. He did not want to be a snake, he wanted to be a human, and he wanted to be better than a snake. He doesn’t know this but, he is the only talking animals in the torah besides Balaam’s talking donkey. So maybe in a way he is better than just the average snake, god gave him voice. But the snake does not realize this, or maybe he does and he still wants to be better.


The snake’s problem was also that he was jealous. He was jealous of Eve because she was human and he was jealous of Adam for being with Eve. What is jealousy? Jealousy is, wanting something you can’t have when somebody else has it. The problem with that is that you then act cruel or mean towards that person. The snake wanted to be better than an average snake. He wanted to be human, if he married and mated with Eve, his offspring would be part of the human race, and in a way, so would he. He was jealous of Adam because not only was Adam human, but he was also with Eve. The snake loved Eve, he wanted to be with her forever and also be part of the human race forever.


What I see here is “People should not act on jealousy and always try to be the best them they can be” And I begin to explain this theory by stating the evidence. The snake, I believe, was jealous; he wanted to be the best. He wants god to favor him the most instead of the humans. Because of his jealousy he did something that would obviously not work. He would obviously get caught persuading Eve to eat of the tree from which she and Adam had been forbidden by god to eat.


Now what does “being the best you” mean? It does not mean being the best person you can be, if you were to try to be the best person, you would be trying to reach for the unreachable. Being the best you can be means thinking about who you are and deciding right from wrong. Jealousy makes you act without thinking. When you don’t think about your actions; it’s hard to see who you really are. If the snake were to think about what he was doing he might have realized that he is who he is and he shouldn’t need nor want more than what he is and what he has. Learn from the snake and don’t act on your jealousy. Shabbat shalom. 

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