Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Seed of the Woman

When Adam and Eve challenged G-d's authority, it became necessary to mete out punishment for the act of disobedience.  However, the punishment would be accompanied by a blessing and a promise.  The woman is told that out of her seed One would come who would bruise the head of nachash ha-kadmoni, the Serpent, HaSatan, the Accuser. 

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15).  

The Aramaic paraphrase of the Torah, Targum Jonathan, connects this prophecy with the Messiah:

But they will be healed [shuph] in the footsteps [heels] in the days of King Messiah (Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel).

The word shuph used here is not translated as bruise but in the sense of 'rubbing with a medicine' and thus, healing.  In the 12th and 13th century, Rabbi David Kimchi [the Radak] also supported the idea that this Scripture in Genesis 3 is a prophecy about the Messiah's redemption of mankind.  He understood that salvation will be through the hand of the conquering Messiah "who would wound Satan, the head, the king and prince of the house of the wicked." 

There is indication that Eve understood this to be a prophecy of sorts as well.  When she bears her first son, Cain, she declares, "I have gotten a man from the L-rd" (Genesis 4:1).  The Targum reads as follows:

And Adam knew . . . his wife . . . and she conceived and brought forth Cain, and she said, 'I have obtained the man, the Angel of the L-rd' (Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel). 

This rendering implies that Eve was expecting more than an earthly child, perhaps one who would literally fulfill the promise in Genesis 3.  Later, when she bears Seth, she exclaims, "For G-d has appointed me another seed . . ." (Genesis 4:25).  The Sages comment:

[She (Eve) hinted at] that seed which would arise from another source . . . the king Messiah (Midrash Rabbah Genesis 23:5).

Thus, the "Appointed One" would arise from Eve's Son, Seth.  The genealogical line is now further identified and pinpointed.

 

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