Adam and Eve
We cannot deal with the Torah’s different way of relating to men and women without first discussing Adam and Eve, for there is no deeper schism in the chain of human behavior than Adam and Eve’s defining event.
As we understand it, Adam and Eve’s act is widely considered the first sin. Adam enters the larger world with a need to rectify the historical injustice he committed at the beginning of his journey. The Torah points to Adam and Eve’s relationship as the source of that historical error.
As a result, an argument ensues between man and woman, whose basis is man’s immortal sentence: “The woman you placed alongside me – she gave me from (the fruit of) the tree, and I ate.” Man and woman enter the world with the commonly perceived notion that women are a problem, a temptation, and a sin.
There is no better way to develop religiosity and religious people than through the story of Adam and Eve. Through a short story, the Torah creates a very significant buffer between these two beings. An internal anger is created between them that will form the basis for the nature of male and female relationships. From this point forward, men seem to drive all morality. By adhering to the Torah and its study, men stake their claim as those more responsible for the spiritual world and are tasked with directing the entire family in following its laws.
Religiosity in its various forms, as reflected in Islam and Christianity, connects men directly to matters of the spirit and women as a factor that needs distancing from religious matters. Women remain in the background, on the other side of the curtain in the women’s section, while men wrap themselves in the aura of a sacred talit.
The Torah’s need to form a separation between man and woman and its need to create “religious people,” stems from crucial evolutionary sources for its existence. The Torah was introduced to the world during a very primitive era in human morality. Our forefather Abraham could not leave the house with his wife Sarah without facing the real danger that she would be raped or kidnapped. Noah’s generation suffered from excessive sexuality, which also prompted God to destroy the world and try to rebuild it after the flood.
Sexuality has always been very central to males’ behavior. In light of that, how does the Torah hope to successfully develop a group of people who focus not just on women, but on the holiest of books?
This is the purpose of the first sin – to separate between the genders and to enable man to engage in the study of the Torah and its letters, without the interference of his thoughts and human desires. This is how the religious world slowly developed, allowing the Torah to blossom to its current state.
Women, with their high level of perception, realized the benefit of connecting men to the spiritual world and their separation from the world of women. They saw with their own eyes how this would enable civilization to reach higher levels of morality, humanity, and submission to God’s will, even without in-depth Torah study. Women’s well-developed faith brings them to higher realms – at times even higher than the level achieved by men through the scholarly study of the Torah.
The Torah ensured that female figures were given a very central part in the stories of our forefathers and foremothers, particularly in the latter’s maternal role. It was Sarah who asked that Isaac be favored over Ishmael, and Rebecca who asked for Jacob to receive Isaac’s blessing instead of Esau. As such, male Torah-oriented religiosity understood the need for balance even while learning the holy scriptures.
Angles of observation
In a sense, the Or Yahalom Bible represents these unique and unusual angles of observation of man and woman in the world of creation. Man must hold onto the letters of the Torah to intellectually grasp God’s presence in the world. He clings to the letters to elevate himself spiritually and distance himself from the world of the evil inclination.
Women are associated with diamonds and with the connection that passes through the dimension of spiritual light. In an analogous sense, you could say that women connect to the Creator through the heart, and men connect through the mind.
It was not an accident that two opposing schools of thought emerged in the world. The first perspective is that of man tirelessly poring over holy books, seeking to study each letter and every verse. The second is that of women of faith, about whom the Midrash says, “The redemption will take place only in the merit of the righteous women of that generation.”
This is the Diamond Bible: Diamonds for those who seek to connect through the light of their souls, and the letters of the Torah for those who wish to connect with God through their intellectual ability.