Allen S. Maller

Eve beside Adam on Tu B’Shvat or Valentine’s day

Some say the day when God created Eve out of Adam’s side, was Shavuot because Shavuot commemorates the partnership entered into by God and Israel at Mount Sinai; which is a fulfillment of the partnership that God envisioned when God first formed Eve to stand side by side with Adam, as his help mate.

Thus, in mystical terms, Israel as God’s partner, is to stand close to God; behaviorally and emotionally.

Most people take the Biblical account of God creating woman from Adam’s rib literally and simplistically. Since humans have many ribs it seems to be no big loss for men.

But the word mistranslated as rib in the Septuagint, actually means side (for example Ezekiel 41:5,11 or Exodus 26:26, 27, 35).

God took a side (the right side or the left side), from Adam and built woman (who is well built to this day).

Built seems to be a strange term to use, but the Hebrew word for side appears mostly in the context of building a structure. A wall with only one side does not exist. A one sided building cannot shelter anyone.

Adam without one side was only half a man. Thus the Torah concludes, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

Two sides become one whole. Two sides can stand together. Which side did God take?

Probably the right side because Psalm 45:10 says, “A royal consort stands at your right side” This is why the bride stands at the grooms right side under the Hupah.

The woman God built is described as an “ezer kenegdo”- a helper corresponding to or equal to him i.e. a partner or a teammate. The right side does not differ greatly from the left side in bilateral creatures but psychologically perhaps she is the ‘inside’ and he is the ‘outside’.

This would symbolize a greater difference. Good partners bring different abilities and talents together. Thus, as partners, one plus one is greater than two.

Even a skeptic like Kohelet declares, “If two lie side by side, they keep each other warm; but how can one keep warm alone? ” (Ecclesiastes 4:11)

Some people think the day when God took Eve from Adam’s side to stand beside him was Tu B’Shvat because it is a man’s duty to plant seedlings in the earth for future generations.

Valentines day was celebrated at first on the 15th of Shvat. This is why God says, “ It is not good for a male to dwell alone. I will provide a partner for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Valentine’s day celebrates the blessing of having found a partner to stand beside you as a helpmate.

And the Qur’an adds:”[One] of His signs is that He created you from dust; then, suddenly you were human beings spreading [throughout the earth].{Another] of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. (30:20-21)

Thus, binding partners in love is a sign of God’s blessings and should be celebrated once just prior to the summer on Shavuot and twice in the midst of winter on both Tu B’Shvat and Valentine’s day.

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 850 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
Related Topics
Related Posts