Parshas Bereishis - Why was Adam sent out of Gan Eden?

The passuk says in this week’s sedrah (Bereishis 3 – 22:23)

וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֱלֹקִים הֵן הָאָדָם הָיָה כְּאַחַד מִמֶּנּוּ לָדַעַת טוֹב וָרָע וְעַתָּה פֶּן יִשְׁלַח יָדוֹ וְלָקַח גַּם מֵעֵץ הַחַיִּים וְאָכַל וָחַי לְעֹלָם. וַיְשַׁלְּחֵהוּ ה' אֱלֹקִים מִגַּן עֵדֶן לַעֲבֹד אֶת הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר לֻקַּח מִשָּׁם.

And Hashem said, “Behold אדם has become as one of us to know good and bad. And now lest he send out his hand and take also from the עץ החיים and he will eat and live forever.”

So Hashem sent him out of Gan Eden to work the earth from which he had been taken.
  • Why was Hashem concerned that אדם knew good and bad?
  • Why was Hashem concerned that אדם may eat from the עץ החיים, which would cause him to live forever?

The Chasam Sofer explains as follows:

The word אחד (one of) sometimes has the vowels segol and kometz (אֶחָד), and sometimes has two patach’s (אַחַד).

For example, in Devarim (1:23) we have אֶחָד

וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינַי הַדָּבָר וָאֶקַּח מִכֶּם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲנָשִׁים אִישׁ אֶחָד לַשָּׁבֶט

“And the matter was good in my eyes, and I took from you 12 men, one man for each tribe.”

But in Bamidbar (16:15) we have both אֶחָד and also אַחַד

וַיִּחַר לְמֹשֶׁה מְאֹד וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל ה' אַל תֵּפֶן אֶל מִנְחָתָם לֹא חֲמוֹר אֶחָד מֵהֶם נָשָׂאתִי וְלֹא הֲרֵעֹתִי אֶת אַחַד מֵהֶם

“And Moshe was very aggrieved and he said to Hashem, ‘Do not turn to their korban, I have not taxed a donkey from one of them and I have not done evil to one of them.’”

The difference between the two forms of echad is that אֶחָד means “an important one of”, whereas אַחַד means “the least consequential one of”.

The nesiim who were chosen to be the meraglim, were the most important members of each shevet, so Moshe said אִישׁ אֶחָד לַשָּׁבֶט. However when Moshe said that he had not exploited the benei yisrael, he said “I did not tax the wealthy (חֲמוֹר אֶחָד מֵהֶם), nor did I take advantage of the poor (הֲרֵעֹתִי אֶת אַחַד).”

When Hashem said הֵן הָאָדָם הָיָה כְּאַחַד מִמֶּנּוּ, He meant, “אדם has become like the least of (אַחַד) the malachim, who know of good and bad, and he has not become like one of the great malachim who only know good.”

If אדם would live forever, he would never change and would never be able to advance from the מדרגה of being like one of the least of the malachim. Only if אדם would assume a mortal existence would he be able to break out of the relatively low madregah he had assumed, after he would merit תחיית המתים.


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