Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Breishis

Eve of Life

Volume 3 Issue 1

by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky

Doom and despair and destruction. It all happened so fast after the promises of an idyllic life. And all from two bites of the forbidden fruit. Man, who was promised eternal bliss in the Garden of Eden is now cursed with a plethora of misfortunes. He must toil by the sweat of his brow, work an earth that will produce thorn and thistle. His wife must bear the pain of childbirth with all of its physiological implications. All these are crowned with the most powerful malediction that "you are of dust and to dust you shall return.

But it seems that Adam takes all the news in proper perspective. In the verse that immediately follows the curses, Adam does not spread blame or lament his fate. He continues developing civilization exactly where he left off. Prior to his meeting Eve and partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam began classifying all living things with names that appropriately described their attributes. After the curses he continues. He names his wife.
"Adam called his wife Chava because she was the mother of all life." (Genesis 3:20)

Isn't it unsuitable for Adam to name his wife Chava -- the mother of all life -- immediately following the curse of death? What message is the Torah sending us with that juxtaposition?

Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev was known for his love and good will toward his fellow Jews always trying to assess the good in people rather than expose the bad.

Once on the Fast of Tish'a B'av he saw a Jew eating in a non-kosher restaurant. He tapped lightly on the window of the establishment and summoned the man outside.

"Perhaps you forgot that today is a fast day?" Rav Levi Yitzchok queried.

"No, Rebbe," the man replied.

"Then perhaps you did not realize that this restaurant in not kosher."

"No, Rebbe, I know it is a traife (non-kosher) eatery."

Rav Levi Yitzchok softly placed his hands on the man's shoulders and looked heavenward. "Ribbono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe," he exclaimed. "Look at how wonderful your children are. They may be eating on a fast day. In a non-kosher restaurant to boot. Yet they refuse to emit a falsehood from their lips!"

Adam heard the curse bestowed upon himself, his wife, and humanity for eternity. His immediate reaction was not scorn or criticism. He named his wife Chava, derived from the word life. He viewed the woman whom he had once blamed for his downfall with a different perspective. He saw only the eve of life -- and thus named her so. After tragedy and defeat there is enough blame to share and spread. Adam picked up the pieces and cherished the beauty of what was left.

He did not see himself on the eve of destruction. He saw himself standing at the dawn of life. And he appreciated that life dearly.

Dedicated in memory of Rebitzin Itta Brocho Lipschutz -- Itta Bracha bas HaRav Eliezer HaLevi

Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Associate Dean of the Yeshiva of South Shore.


 






ARTICLES ON NETZAVIM AND VAYEILECH:

View Complete List

For the Love of G-d
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

So It Is Written
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Why Bring the Children?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

ArtScroll

He Will Return
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Wake Up, and Choose Life
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Family Values
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Paying Attention to the Voice of the Almighty
- 5767

Lost in Translation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Parting Words
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

School of Soft Knocks
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

One Teaspoon, Or Two?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

A Hundred Bucks vs. Regrets
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

> Rabbi Frand on Parshas Vayelech
- 5769

Taking Stock Of The Nation When The Time Comes For Transfer Of Power
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Inspiration - On the Spur of the Moment
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Knock, Knock, Knocking on Prayer's Gate
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information