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Shabbat is the state of Adam before the Sin

 Shabbat  (photo credit: NDLA)
(photo credit: NDLA)

Understanding the reason for Shabbat and its importance.

In this article I will attempt to answer the following questions: 

  1. Why were the commandments of Shabbat given? 
  2. Why is the violation of the commandment of Shabbat punished by death and karet – the most severe form of punishment? 

At first glance, if a Jew works on Shabbat, he doesn’t do any harm to other people; he doesn’t kill, doesn’t steal, doesn’t commit idolatry. At the same time, murder and idolatry are punished by death, and the violation of the  commandment of Shabbat – by death and karet. From that we can conclude that the violation of the commandment of Shabbat is the most serious crime in the eyes of the Almighty. And why is that? 

In the Torah we read:

  1. “And you, speak to the children of Israel and say: ‘Only keep My Shabbats! For it is a sign between Me and you for your generations, to know that I, the Lord, make you holy.’” (Ki Tisa – 31:13) 
  2. “Between Me and the children of Israel, it is forever a sign that [in] six days The Lord created the heaven and the earth, and on the seventh day He ceased and rested.” (Ki Tisa – 31:17)
  3. “For [in] six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Shabbat day and sanctified it.” (Ytro – 20:11)

Before analysing the quotes form the Torah, I would like to remind the readers that, according to the Kabbalah of Information, the creation of Adam took place in the information zone of tbe Sefira Malchut of the world of Atzilut. The creation of the worlds of BYA was the result of the Sin of Adam (see articles The first creation of Adam – Where, when, why? and The first creation of Adam: can we make G-d work? in Jerusalem Post).


For his Sin, Adam was punished by death (see articles The ‘Red button’ of Adam – Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 4 – The relativity of Death: instantaneous death of Adam in Jerusalem Post): “But of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat of it, for on the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die.” (Bereishit 2:17). 

Also, Adam was punished by work: “And to man He said, “Because you listened to your wife, and you ate from the tree from which I commanded you saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’, cursed be the ground for your sake; with toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life.” (Bereishit 3:17).

“With the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground, for you were taken therefrom, for dust you are, and to dust you will return” (Bereishit 3:19). 

Actually, Adam and his wife started working immediately after the Sin, even before the punishment. “And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves and made themselves girdles.” (Bereishit 2:7).

Taking into account that the general goal of the Creation is the return to the state of Adam before the Sin, we can analyze the above-mentioned quotations as follows.


In my understanding, the Almighty is saying to the children of Israel: “And you should know that I created the First Man in order to actualize the concepts of information space and communicate with Me. He was not supposed to do any physical work except for serving Me.

By sinning, he forced Me to work for six days creating the worlds BYA. Therefore, he, and you, his descendants, were punished by death and work. But My goal is to return the Creation to the state as it was before the Sin of Adam. I am giving you the commandment of Shabbat. On this day you must not work and dedicate all your thoughts to Me, exactly like the First Man did before the Sin. By giving you the commandment of Shabbat I’m making you holy – absolutely different from other nations. I am blessing Shabbat – opening for you the information channels and sanctifying it by making it different from all the other days. This day should govern all the weekdays. Shabbat is a gift that I am giving to you, but if you don’t want to fulfill the general goal of My Creation, your existence doesn’t make sense to Me and you will be punished by death and karet.” 

From the mentioned above follows that the aim of Shabbat is to return Jewish people to the state of Adam before the Sin. There are several hints about that in different sources. 

The prophet Isaiah said of the Shabbat (58:13): “You honour it by not engaging in your own affairs, by not seeking your own needs or discussing the forbidden”. 

In the philosophy of Chabad the Shabbat is considered to be equal to the Tree of Life. 

In the Zohar it is said that Shabbat is equal to the whole Torah. 

I would like to give the reader some justifications for the thesis that the main goal of the commandment of Shabbat is to bring Jewish people back to the state of Adam before the Sin. 

In the Torah we read:

  1. Now the Lord G-d took the man, and He placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it (Laavoda - Hebrew) and to guard it (Lishmora – Hebrew) (Genesis 2:15).
  2. Remember (Zahor - Hebrew) the Shabbat day to sanctify it (Exodus 20:8).
  3. Six days you may work (Taavod – Hebrew) and perform all your labor (Mlacha – Hebrew) (Exodus 20:9).
  4. But the seventh day is a Shabbat to the Lord, your G-d; you shall perform no labor (Mlacha - Hebrew) neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities (Exodus 20:10).
  5. Therefore, keep (Shamor - Hebrew) the Shabbat, for it is a sacred thing for you. Those who desecrate it shall be put to death, for whoever performs work (Mlacha) on it, that soul will be cut off from the midst of its people (Exodus 31:14).

In Hebrew, the word “work” could be expressed by the words avoda or mlacha. According to the opinion of our sages in the Torah, the word avoda – “work” or laavod – “to work” connotes “the service to G-d” (prayers and sacrifices). Mlacha means “everyday activities”. Therefore, Adam (Genesis 2:15) was supposed to serve G-d (laavod) and not to engage in any other everyday activities (mlacha). Another confirmation is that on Shabbat (Exodus 20:10) work (Mlacha) is prohibited. 

Now the question is: what is the meaning for Adam to guard (lishmora) the Garden of Eden? In my opinion, we can derive it from Exodus 31:14: keep (shamor) the Shabbat. It is clear that “keeping the Shabbat” means “not doing any work” (mlacha). 

Hence, Adam was given the commandment to serve G-d and not to do any physical work in the Garden of Eden. The question is, why. 

In physics, any kind of work entails a change in entropy and information. We can then interpret the meaning of the commandment as if G-d was telling Adam: “Don’t make any changes in the Garden of Eden; it is perfect”. 

The commandment of Shabbat holds the same meaning: not to work, not to cause any changes. 

And since animals also can cause changes, not only we but also the animals under our control should not work (Exodus 20:10), 

As I mentioned above, Adam and Hava started working, i.e. causing changes, immediately after the Sin. 

They were punished by work and death, and these notions go together. 

The very structure of our reality is determined by the punishment of Adam. 

The Anthropic principle says that our universe is fine-tuned for life, but is obvious that our universe is also fine-tuned for death.

Our body is made of the same entities (protons, neutrons, etc.) as our reality, but the structure of the body is much more ordered (low-entropy) than the reality around us. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, in order to support life, we must apply continuous work. But paradoxically, this work is what gradually kills us. 

After the Sin, Adam and Hava made themselves girdles out of the shame that they were naked. But we should note that here we encounter the first mention of clothes in the Torah. The purpose of clothes is not only to conceal some parts of our flesh but also to support the existence of our low-entropy bodies. 

The thesis that the commandment of Shabbat was given in order to bring Jewish people to the state of Adam before the Sin is also supported by the Kabbalah. 

In the Kabbalah, the commandment to keep (shamor) and remember (zahor) Shabbat is associated with the Sefirot Malchut – to keep, and Yesod – to remember. The Sefira Yesod is associated with the Names of the Almighty El Chay and El Shadday. 

The Sefira Malchut is associated with the Name Ad–y. 

In his book Gates of Light (Sha’re Orah), Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla explains: “Therefore anyone who keeps SHaBaT in accord with the Law brings these two Names together, joining one to the other. And when these two Names join together then all the Spheres are connected in unity”. 

“When these two attributes, El Chay and Adonay, are joined together, the whole world [exists] in completeness. YHVH gave Israel the Shabbat to correspond with these two attributes: Zachor for the day which corresponds to El Chay, and shamor (to guard, to keep) for the night which corresponds to Adonay. Therefore it is written zachor (remember) and shamor (keep) [regarding the commandment to keep the Sabbath] in the [two renderings] of the ten commandments.” (p. 68)

In the book The Tree of Life (Vol.2, The Palace of Points, English ed. Ch. 6, p. 34), we read: 

“As mentioned above, the place of the cortices and the outside ones is the back of Nukva of Zeir Anpin. They attach there. However, some also attach to the back of Zeir Anpin. Now, before Elohim created Man (Adam) upon the earth, the cortices had the power to suckle holy abundance in the secret of “and there was no man (Adam) to cultivate the soil (Adamah)” (Genesis 2:5). One of the cultivations of the soil is the removal of the thorns from the vineyards, which the positive commandments stipulate. However, when the lower seven were emanated and the first lower Adam was still not created in the world, Zeir Anpin and Nukva emerged back-to-back, because they feared that the outside ones would suckle from them. If they had been standing face-to-face, the ten cortices would have attached to their backs to suckle, because they are unable to suckle from the front. Therefore, they had to be joined back-to-back so that the outside ones could not suckle from there. When the first Adam was created and performed the positive commandments, he caused them to turn face-to-face. There was no fear of cortices, because he had already dug, tilled, removed stones, and removed the thorns from the vineyard. Now, when they were back-to-back, there was only one wall between the two of them. One wall separated the two of them, and they were touching the one wall – half of the wall by Zeir Anpin and half of the wall by Nukva. When Adam caused them to turn face-to-face through the commandments and good deeds, both of their backs were finished and completed, and they were able to turn face-to-face. This was because the upper coupling was completed through the actions of the lower Adam.” 

The abovementioned teachings of Rabbi Itzhac Luria and Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla indicate that the tasks of Adam before the Sin and of Jewish people in keeping Shabbat are one and the same. 

It also follows that before the Sin, Adam and Hava had been in a state of Shabbat, which they broke. 

Another approach to analyzing the significance of the commandment of Shabbat is considering the notions of “covenant” and “sign”. It is obvious that “covenant” is an agreement that can be written or spoken. “Sign” is a symbol of something else; something that can be seen. “Seeing” in Kabbalah is associated with the Sefira Chochma (Wisdom). 

It makes sense to analyze cases from the Torah that deal with the signs or the covenants. The results of my analysis are presented in Table 1. 

Cases from the Torah that deal with the signs or the covenants (Credit: Eduard Shyfrin)
Cases from the Torah that deal with the signs or the covenants (Credit: Eduard Shyfrin)

From Table 1 we can clearly see the uniqueness of the commandment of Shabbat – and “the sign between Me and you”. 

I attach the following meaning to this line. It may be G-d saying to Men: “You cannot exist without Me, but my Creation does not make sense without you. And the sign of it is Shabbat”. 

To purchase Eduard Shyfrin’s book ‘From Infinity to Man: The Fundamental Ideas of Kabbalah Within the Framework of Information Theory and Quantum Physics’ please click here.

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