Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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Understanding the Primordial Sin

A different rendering of the basic meaning of the Torah text

G^d had set out to solve humans’ loneliness (Genesis 2:18). With creating Eve, He even created the possibility of becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

More than educating the first couple, the Torah text teaches the readers when it says a man should leave his parents. After all, Adam was created an orphan. And this Commandment precedes them becoming aware of their sexual attraction and mortality, so it was not addressing them.


Adam said, according to the basic meaning of the words: ‘This female shall be called a woman for from a man was this female taken’ (Genesis 2:23).

Rendered like that, it makes no sense to me. One of my assumptions is that all of the Torah was given to school us. So, if we can’t understand a Torah ‘interpretation,’ then that can’t be a proper rendering.

The Hebrew for man and woman are eesh and eeshah. The second is the first plus the Hebrew Letter H as suffix. In the Torah, the suffix H means: toward. Egypt: Mitzrayeem. Mitzraimah: toward Egypt. So, Adam predicts that Eve will have a propensity to go toward him. That is a euphemism for him being attracted to her. Now it makes sense why he called her that.

So, instead of woman, maybe a translation can be to-man. And to people devoted to Woke consciousness, this isn’t a denial of non-heterosexuality among women. The Torah always restricts itself to the common person. The Rabbis are tasked with finetuning the text to fit more people’s details.


The classical (mis)understanding of the Primordial Sin is, simply stated:

The first human transgression was with food. Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowing Good from Evil. This transgression brought death into the world. In the eyes of most people now, this tendency to consume without limits is not as bad as the tendency to cross sexual boundaries.

Of course, this is not it. A fruit that makes you drop dead after 1000 years? We know of no such tree, while the Torah portrays this world’s creation.

We don’t need an impossible, illogical, or nonsensical text to masquerade as a ‘rendition’ as long as what it says literally can make sense.

G^d said: Do not eat of it. They did it anyway. Then they understood:

1. Not everything is going well here.

They ate from the tree. Only now, they really grasped the fundamental difference between Good and Evil and were able to tell one from the other. The basic reason why the type of tree is not revealed is that it wasn’t the Tree whodunnit. The sinning taught them. This should not be underestimated. Children raised by honest educators can’t even wrap their heads around an idea that one could lie or be negligent and eat anyway.

2. Then they realized there was more trouble in Paradise besides their disobedience. ‘And then, the eyes of them both were opened’ (Genesis 3:7), that they were dying. G^d had predicted [the notion of] death would come [after] they would eat from the Tree (Genesis 2:17).

And that is the basic meaning. Why? Most literally, it says the Tree of Life stood [exactly] in the middle (Genesis 2:9). Then, the Tree of Knowledge must have surrounded it. If the latter was poisonous, the former should’ve surrounded the latter for G^d provides the antidote before the ailment.

So they didn’t die from their eating. They were created mortal already. Otherwise, a Tree of Life would not have had any purpose.

Previously, I explained why their eyes were opened at the same time.

We are told of a Tree of Life to know we’re destined for immortality. This means the same as the future Messiah. G^d could’ve completed this world on His Own, but He gives us a chance to team up with him. A partnership with Him entitles us to more reward. Our physicians should work harder to bring physical immortality, while our activists should chase world peace.

3. But a good thing then they realized too. ‘And it also penetrated their awareness that they were naked’ (Genesis 3:7). The Hebrew verb for knowing deeply is the same as the verb for having intercourse. They felt sexual attraction and understood we can live on through our children.

So, Eve became the mother of all life (as far as we humans are concerned). That would’ve been a cynical title had she brought Death into the world.

4. Death and sex had entered the equation. The end of their innocence. Time to look for a job. A lesson for all people ever since.


G^d says: ‘Because on the [very] day one eats of it, one dies irreversibly’ (Genesis 2:17). It turns out that this was not a promise or prediction but rather a warning as deterrence. After the Sin, He modified this verdict.

1. Adam and Eve repented, and G^d accepted their contrition. How so? Complete saints (King David) die on their birthday. Adam and Eve sinned on their first day on earth, a Friday. I find the suggestion they also died on a Friday meaningless. To die ‘on the [very] day’ must mean that very date.

2. ‘For a thousand years are in Your Eyes like the [past] day of yesterday’ (Psalms 90:4). This verse follows a verse that speaks of repentance.


This most basic understanding shows how much G^d loves us. Any image of an angry god who just metes out punishment comes from assimilation. Gentiles may be fond of idols as gods, supposedly constantly moody, non-stop in need of having their egos stroked, or else … they will harm us.


G^d wanted to create Eve from Adam’s side (Genesis 2:21), which I don’t think describes how He did it. It should mean: The spouses are to be side by side, shoulder to shoulder. But He planned to make a helper opposite to him (Genesis 2:18). What is it: as if side by side or in opposite? Perhaps we can say that in opposition refers to sex and side by side to the rest of life.

BTW: Rabbi Quint once told me the first sin was not about illicit eating. Transgressing with some food is not that bad. The real sin was not saying sorry, making excuses, and blaming others. That’s the mother of all sins.

May we eat of the Tree of Eternal Life, soon and in our days, in this world.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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