Sheva Berachos #7 – Adam


The Week of Sheva Berachos, Day #7 – Adam[1]

א”ר אלעזר כל אדם שאין לו אשה אינו אדם שנאמר זכר ונקבה בראם ויקרא את שמם אדם
Rabbi Elazar said: Any man who doesn’t have a wife isn’t a complete man, as it is written[2]: “Man and Woman he created them, and he called their name Adam”[3]

As part of the Jewish wedding ceremony[4], seven blessings known as sheva berachos are recited under the chuppah. As well, our Sages tell us[5] that once a couple gets married, they are to spend the first week of their marriage rejoicing. During these seven days, the sheva berachos are again recited, at the end of a festive meal. Some say[6] that these seven blessings correlate to the seven things[7] that a man acquires[8] when he gets married. Our Sages inform us[9] that until a man gets married, he doesn’t have joy, blessing, goodness, Torah, fortification, peace, nor is he a complete Man[10]. As such, it would be appropriate during this week to elaborate on each of these seven qualities, and how they relate to marriage.

The Torah tells us[11] that Adam was originally created as both male and female. One opinion from our Sages[12] believes this to mean that Man and Woman were originally two bodies fused together, and were subsequently separated[13]. Although they were separated, it was decreed that it was not good for them to remain this way[14]. As such, the institution of marriage was introduced, as a means to bring the two genders back together. Only after reuniting can they recreate the original state of Adam, the primordial Man. Reenacting the original creation of Man is one of the unique benefits of marriage.

However, there’s more occurring than a simple reenactment of the beginning of Creation. The new couple each achieves a more perfected state of being once they’re married[15]. This is because each one has aspects and a unique nature that the other lacks[16]. Men have affinity towards things that women don’t, and vice versa. By completing the other with what each is lacking, they each become one step closer to perfection. This is one of the goals of marriage.

Mazel Tov!

[1] Based on various sources I found from the Maharal

[2] Genesis 5:2

[3] Yevamos 63a

[4] Kesubos 7b

[5] Ibid 7a

[6] Nachalas Shiva 12:4:3. See also Levush Even HaEzer 61:1 and Shnei Luchos HaBris Sha’ar HaOsios § קדושת הזיווג 384-386

[7] Nachalas Shiva loc. cit. points out that Bereishis Rabbah 17:2 counts more than seven (it adds helpmate, atonement, life, and that he stops diminishing the Divine form), but the Tur Even HaEzer § 1 only lists these seven (although he replaces joy with “a living place”, see Beis Yosef ad. loc.)

[8] Interesting to note that according to the Rambam (Mishneh Torah Hilchos Ishus 12:1,2), when a couple gets married, besides the husband’s three biblical obligations towards his wife (Cf. Ramban to Exodus 21:10), the Rabbis enacted seven additional obligations upon the husband

[9] Yevamos 62b, 63a

[10] Nachalas Shiva loc. cit. brings and explains how they correlate: (1) ברכת היין – Blessing (2) שהכל ברא לכבודו – Torah (4) אשר יצר את האדם – Adam (5) שוש תשיש – Peace (6) שמח תשמח – Joy (7) אשר ברא – Fortification. For some reason he leaves out the third of the sheva berachos (יוצר האדם), and it would presumably correlate to the remaining attribute, which is Goodness

[11] Genesis loc. cit.

[12] Eruvin 18a

[13] Each becoming only “half” a body (Gur Aryeh to Genesis 36:3 § 3, his source being Zohar III p. 83b)

[14] Genesis 2:18

[15] Gur Aryeh to Genesis 35:17 § 12; Tiferes Yisroel Chapter 36, 49; Chiddushei Aggados to Yevamos 62b and Bava Basra 74b

[16] Chiddushei Aggados to Bava Basra loc. cit.