Not Good for Man to Be Alone
by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, author of Unlocking the Torah Text
God creates all creatures in pairs – male and female – except for Man. Only after Adam is created in isolation does God declare: “It is not good for Man to be alone. I will create for him an eizer k’negdo – a helpmate.”
God then brings the animals before Adam to be named. When, in the process, Adam fails to find personal companionship within the animal kingdom, God causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and fashions Chava from a portion of Adam’s body. Upon awakening, Adam proclaims, “This time, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” The first man realizes that he has now found the companion he seeks.
An all-powerful God cannot arrive at delayed realizations. God obviously knows from the beginning that man needs companionship. Why, then, doesn’t God create Chava at the same time as Adam?
The phrase eizer k’negdo, used to describe Adam’s potential companion, is also deeply puzzling, even self-contradictory. The word eizer means “help,” while the root word neged means “against.” Why would God want to create a “help against” Adam? What message could this phrase possibly be conveying concerning the male-female partnership?
Finally, why does God parade the animals before Adam to be named at this particular juncture? God clearly knows that Adam will not find a companion from within the animal kingdom. What, then, is the purpose of this exercise?
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Adapted from one of the multiple essays on this parsha in Unlocking the Torah Text by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin.