by the Reisha Rav, HaGoan Rav Aaron Levine TZ"L
Elucidated and Adapted by Efraim Levine
in Honor of
Margalit Gita Mitzner
Upon Her Birthday
To Dedicate Please Contact Hadrash Ve-Haiyun
Adam said the woman whom you gave to be with
me gave me of the tree and I will eat.
With regard to this posuk the Midrash comments: Rebbi Abbah bar Kahanah said: The posuk does not record that Adam said, I have eaten, but rather I will eat. This is interpreted as meaning I have eaten and I will continue to eat, i.e., I have sinned and I will continue to sin. Rebbi Shimon ben Lakish said, Adam Harrishon was not driven out of Gan Eden until he was guilty of blasphemy and cursing.
Let us ask two questions. First, what is the connection between the statements of Rebbi Shimon be Lakish and Rebbi Abbah bar Kahanah? Second, precisely how does Rebbi Shimon Ben Lakish derive the notion that Adam was guilty of blasphemy and cursing?
In order to answer these two questions, let us first focus on understanding the cause of sin. There are two different reasons why a person would be driven to sin. The first is due to an uncontrollable desire to have or do something that is forbidden. In this case, the sinner does not really wish to rebel against Hashem. Unfortunately, he cannot control his desires and is thus driven to sin. The second is when a person has premeditated intensions to rebel against Hashem. He sins solely to spite Hashem. It is obvious that the first type of sin is far less severe than the second.
Let us note that the way to determine the reason for a sin is to evaluate the feelings and attitude one experiences afterwards. If the individual is filled with remorse and regret then it is clear that he sinned because the evil inclination got the better of him and not because of any intension to rebel against Hashem. On the other hand, if the sin does not bother the individual then this is a sign that the real motive for sinning was to rebel against his Creator.
When we read and study the sin of Adam Harrishon there is really no way for us to determine the true motive for his sin. We can suggest that Adam merely had an uncontrollable desire to partake of the forbidden fruit. Or, perhaps we may suggest that Adam desired to rebel against Hashem. In order to understand the rational for his sin we must look at his attitude after the sin. This is precisely what Rebbi Abbah and Rebbi Shimon are focusing on. Rebbi Abbah notes that the posuk does not record that Adam just admitted that he had eaten, rather it records that Adam said, I have eaten and I will continue to eat. This statement conveys the fact that Adam had little or no regret for his sin. This attitude proves that the intent of the original sin was not due to an uncontrollable desire to partake of the forbidden fruit but rather to rebel against Hashem. Therefore Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish comments that from here we see that Adam was driven out of Gan Eden due to blasphemy and cursing, i.e., rebelling against Hashem.
This framework can be helpful to gauge our motives and actions. If heaven forbid one commits a sin he can immediately evaluate his reaction weather he feels guilty or just doesnt care. If one finds himself feeling badly then it is a good sign. He knows that he needs to exercise more self-control in order not to succumb to the evil inclination. However, if one merely doesnt care and his conscience remains oblivious to what has transpired then he should be aware that his soul is in great danger. He needs to make a serious reckoning with himself.