Rabbi Huna said, [the word for] dust [in Hebrew] is masculine, [that for] ground [or “land”] is feminine, the potter [or, “the Transformer”, i.e., the Creator — see explanation given ff.] brings the masculine [or “male”] dust and the feminine [or “female”] ground together so that his vessels may be sound. (MidrashRabbah chapter 14)
Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman said, in the hour in which the Holy One Blessed be He, created man, He created him two-faced (Ibid., ch. 8)
Everything that was created in the six days of creation needs to have [something] done [to it], even man needs improvement. (Rabbah chapter 11)
The intelligent reader, who has read the four [preceding] chapters, will understand and grasp from the origin of the present chapter, that we wish to show that there is no contradiction between the sayings of our forefathers and those of the science of our generation, not when the believers in vain things shall wish to demand the sayings of our forefathers of blessed memory as their desire for the sake of atonement for [the sin of] knowledge, therefore it is required here to publish the views of the wise men of our generation on the subject we are discussing, and to show that even our Torah which precedes [them] in degree and in time, opened in the beginning to clarify [the subject of] creation, as at this time the wise men of the generation have interpreted, and even the first rabbis became wise intelligent and understanding [as to] its sayings and at what its words hinted, and they too in the ways of science threw precious light on its texts.
B. The Creation Of Man And His Perfecting.
In our generation natural scientists have sought to give an answer to the question “Whence have you come?”, that is to say, when has man emerged and the origins of his emergence, from which trunk did the branch of the human species sprout, (Abstammung des Menschen); and from what time he emerged on the face of the land; and how did the human species become differentiated into different forms and colours. As regards the three first-mentioned of these concepts, the wise men of Israel of generations gone by have given their opinion: “The concepts that the intellect conceives, all [of them] are found in the lower world area; the “where” (his place) the “when” (his time) the “how” (his quality).” And these are among the ten decrees [literally, “sayings”] which created the world which the Talmudic text Dabut chapter 5 (see Ba’al ’Akidah third chapter and the explanation given there) on these [matters] those who have carried out research have written many books, and we have come to speak only of that which touches our subject under discussion, and therefore let us begin with the question “when” (time) for to it we have found answers [literally, “solutions”] in act and in sense. In the Book of Invention6 we find eye-witnesses who testify to finding man in the earliest times: on the shores of the islands of the land of Denmark (an den Kuesten der Daenischen Inseln) are seen places filled with tens of thousands of human skulls (Menschenschalen) and such mounds of bones are called in their language Kjoeken-moeddings that is to say, rubbish [or “sweepings”] from cooking-houses (Kuechen Kehricht) for in such places men used to set up camp, and tribes of fishermen used to eat there in days gone by. According to the clearest research [carried out] by the researchers A. Steenstrup and Forchbammen, ten thousand years have passed from the time at which the above-mentioned tribes lived, up to our days, for the human skulls are found at a period when the pine (Fichte) was still green [or “fresh”] (gruente) in the land of Denmark; in bogs [literally, “glues”] of torf (Torfmooren) pine trees are laid in the lower row, and upon them is laid a layer of torf; in that period when the earth gave birth to the holm oak [lit., in Hebrew, “stone pine”] (Steineiche), and when upon them were laid a layer of summer oak [lit., in Hebrew, “summer pine”] (Sommereiche), at that period traces of our mixture of trees were not known. And it has been proven by researchers of nature that in the Pine Period (Fichtenperiode) man already lived in the land of Denmark, [and] from this it may be proved that even in times previous to that, there lived a shoot from the trunk of the lineage of man [figuratively speaking] in the lands of the living — .Regarding times even more ancient, the Book of Invention hints to us in its proofs: In the Mississippi Delta (In den Mississippi-Delta) there lie many forests like flat carpets on the surface (Taxodienwaelder) [and] between the layers of pine, were found rings of [a] vertebra which testified to the age of the pine for it was six thousand years old. And after the determined calculation of the emergence of the Mississippi Delta which is sixty thousand years, and since in the fourth of these carpeted [layers of] forests, were found a skeleton (Skelet) and skull of [a] man, whose build is similar to that of the race which is in America, therefore [it can be concluded that] these bones are thirty thousand years old! Thirty thousand years ago man walked and roamed these flourishing woods, and in this Delta was the cradle of his infancy and the home of his dwelling and he was its inhabitant — [“torf” [sic], in Hebrew characters; Torf means “peat” in German]
Many reckoners of the end of days — end of all ends — will limit the existence of animals on earth to a depressing number [of years] in their calculations of the raising of the crust of the earth from the time it hardened and was made ready, so that animals could inhabit it, it is at the [very] least ninety million years, and at the most two hundred million years; but it is proper to repeat here the words of the researcher of our generation Charles Darwin7 “I myself, consider ancient geological information simply as [a] chronicle of the world, which is incomplete, and written in different languages and changing idioms, and from the last [or “latest”] chronicles only one part comes to us which includes two or three countries, and a few lands. And even from the separated part, only the tiniest portion remains in the science of the earth, and from every sheet and page, only a few paragraphs have reached us” etc. [See margin note.]
[Translator’s note: this, as also several other quotations from Darwin in this article, is not the original passage written by Darwin, but a translation into English of the Hebrew of Naphtali Lewy, which is itself a translation, made by him (probably imperfectly, since he was not a professional translator) of the German text which served him for an original, and which was in turn a translation of Darwin's own (English) words. The above is therefore a translation three times removed, and thus very likely contains many imperfections. The original words of Darwin may be found in Darwin's own writings. This fact should be kept in mind for the purposes of criticism.]
And even if thirty thousand is the number of years man has lived on the face of the earth, though it be strange in the eyes of many and even of the [most] perfect of the perfect in faith of the children of Israel, withal a thousand years in the time scale of creation are as a single day; and the man who has made [profitable] use of the universities of science of our generation, or has read and studied the books which are published by the hundreds and the thousands [written by] the most respected scientists in the enlightened lands, will understand and grasp with his intellect that not a shred of doubt remains in the [minds of] the researchers of nature as regards the enormous length of time that man has existed on the earth; and natural scientists speak of the establishment of such a time period as something accepted and agreed upon by all scientists who study the chronology of the world.8
The knowledge of the precedence of all living flesh on the earth since thousands of years of antiquity, is a result of the study [lit., “method”] [known as] “theory of the origin of the species” which in our generation has caused a sensation in all the corners of the seats of learning, and on the basis of this theory natural scientists of our generation are building their ascent [into higher realms of science]. Therefore to this it is necessary to listen to the principal enunciator of this theory, the researcher of the generation Darwin, whose honour fills the scientific world, and look into his words how they may help us in attaining the aim of our inquiry which we have undertaken in this article — . And if sometimes our tongue and the speech of our lips grows heavy upon the reader in coming to the root of the inquiry in the matter of the theory in all honesty and sincerity, then he should understand that we are not one of those theorists who explain to their readers their practices and their experiments in longwinded explanations, but the adornment of words of truth we are compelled to [do] from the spirit which is upon them and therefore our words shall be few.
In the article entitled “Historische Skizze der Forschritte in den Ansichten ueber den Ursprung der Arten” the researcher says: I shall desire to give here in brief before the reader the results of the knowledge on the matter of the early source of the species (ueber den Ursprung der Arten).
Until not many years ago most natural scientist believed, that the species (Arten) are created unchanging, and that each individual species was created independently in its existence and character: this idea has been verified according to [the writings of] many authors. However, a small number of researchers into nature held the idea that the species falling under the changes and life forms which we possess (die jetzigen Lebensformen) emerged from other and different earlier forms, from those which were born which [in turn] gave birth to others in their special and different image and pattern.
Lamark was the first whose ideas on this true point awakened and jolted the hearts of contemporary scientists, he is a man, who can justifiably be termed a natural scientist, he published his ideas in the year 1801 and later expanded them to a greater extent [lit., “with greater vigour”] in the year 1809 in the book Philosophie Zoologique as well as in the foreword to Natural History (zu seiner Naturgeschichte der wirbellosen Thiere) in these writings of his he established his theory which in brief is that all the species and man as well emerged and were generated from other species and other genera. He began teaching and proving by means of reasonable assumptions that all change in the organic world (in der organischen welt) and in the inorganic world (inorganischen welt) are results of natural laws, not of miraculous occurrences. Lamark lay down as the basis of his research the differentiation between species and varieties (Arten und Varietaeten von einander zu unterscheiden), by means of continual ascents, which [caused to] rise, degree by degree, the forms in some groups of organisms (Organismen, Gruppen) without cease, and by means of comparison with the breeding of offspring (Zuechtungserzeugnissen) came to hold to the theory of continual change in the species taking place all the time. And as regards the causes, by means of which the changes and transformations in the species are caused and take place, he relates them to the external actions of living conditions, according to the needs of organisms and inorganic [matter], and therefore relates them in large measure to behaviour [lit., “habit”]. To this last-mentioned force, he relates the beautiful proportions which exist only in nature. And nevertheless he has seen and understood that the determining law is in the continual improvement and perfection which keeps on adding [to life], and according to [this law] all life forms proceed.9 In the year 1813 Dr. W.C. Wells read the article Nachricht ueber eine Frau der Weissen Race [sic], deren Haut zum Theil der eines Negers gleicht. In this article the aim of growth in [lit., “of”] nature is recognized, and this is the first [such] recognition that took place in our generation. However he proved it only for human races (Rassen) and in known and marked details. Since the Negro races resemble the mulatto, he commented that every specific kind of animal will make vigorous efforts towards change, and the owners of domestic animals will cause such changes to take place by means of their breeding and [controlled] growth, but what the hand of the trainer does, the marvellous hand of nature completes step by step [lit., “one by one”], and slowly, slowly emanates among the creation, the perfection in the change of the varieties (Varietaeten) of the human species, in the place prepared for their inhabitation. Among the varieties found [lit., “distributed”] in the middle of the land of Africa, there will be some which are better than others, as a result of which they will be [better] able to resist the illnesses of that land. And with the force of this resistance they will increase and multiply in the land [compared with] the rest who do not possess the strength to compete with them. And according to this established hypothesis, I determine that the colour of this stronger variety will be dark (dunkel). And since the tendency to increase and multiply is eternal, with the passage of time the colour of this variety [of humans] will grow darker and darker, and since the burnt [colour] is the most desirable in that climate, with increasing time this variety will become the dominant one in that land.
The researcher Patrick Matthew published in the year 1831 his book10 which determines also that the source of the species is the strong chain one after another of completion of changes, and in the year 1860 in the Gardener’s Chronicle 7. April clarified his theories, and apparently he holds: that all the inhabitants of the universe, after long and boundless times and periods all died, and after that the universe was filled anew with inhabitants, and signs appeared that new forms and images could again come to light, without any mould or seed of the previous bodies. Upon this Darwin remarks: I do not know if I have understood every place in his book; however it appears that he has taken as his cornerstone the external conditions, and recognises the breeding and training of nature as motive power [lit, “the desired end”] of continual changes. Rafinesque determines [or “remarks”] in his book: All the species, were in the beginning hybrids. And Leopold von Buch also holds that one by one the the offspring of mixtures became species. And in the book “Die Vestiges of Creation” [sic!] 1853 p. 155 the author wrote words to this effect: “Since examination and experiment testify, that all possessors of soul and spirit, from the simplest and oldest to the most perfected and youngest, which have been born under the Providence of God are possessed of (a) an impulse (Impuls) which at regular periods, in the course of their creation into their [different] families, will lift and raise [them] one step in the scale of organisation, to the limit of the last step few be they in number, and in most gaps (Luecken) will fill between organic rows for it is hard to thicken and join the glues of the families — [and] (b) an impulse which will be its possessor, and [which] in the course of creatures into their families will change, alter and transform the material pattern, according to the degree of external conditions, such as the place of habitation, nutrition, [and] the force of circumstances [lit., “force of the fates”] which is in the surroundings. By this criterion do we measure the natural knowledge of God — “ This author expresses his idea, that the organism evolved [or “became perfect”] by means of a sudden leap [or “all of a sudden”], and the action of external living conditions, was fulfilled gradually [lit., “one by one”]. He builds his theory on strong foundations for the species cannot be unchanging products (Producte). But this I do not understand how the establishment of two impulses (zwei Jmpulse [sic]) can [lit. “will”] be a foundation in the study of natural science, and withal his above-mentioned book found grace and honour [in the eyes of the public], and spread greatly in the world; and for this I shall give the book credit, that it arouses the spirit of the reader to this great subject now published all over the world, and put an end to [literally, “annihilated”] the strange [ideas] and deceptions which have pursued men from generation to generation.
The author of the above-mentioned article is not a son of the covenant [i.e., is not Jewish]. Nevertheless it would appear that he built [on] the theory of our forefathers and forebears, who previously proclaimed: And he created: two creatures (zwei Impulse) upon which the folklorists [lit., “the lords of legend”] expanded their judgement according to their opinion one says creation from the lower ones and creation from the higher ones; in the image and likeness from the higher ones increased and multiplied from the lower ones, their creations the good impulse and the evil impulse etc. (and this is in the MidrashRabbah Chapter 14), and all these we can bring under the wings of the impulses, ((a) den Lebensformen ertheilten Impulses [sic], (b) im Leufe der Generazionen die organischen gebilde, abzuendern steht.). Obviously, if we take only the start of the decision as the cornerstone of our inquiry — and thus it is in all the books of our forebears, we find the first hypothesis of the ideas of the latest researchers, and this is the first Mishnaic doctrine which the wise men taught and did not budge [or “deviate”] from it [lit., “from its place”] — .
[“glues of the families” is a literal translation; however, it is hard to understand what the author is trying to say here]
[Translator’s note: the German in this passage is written in the original in Hebrew characters, and I am not sure that this is how it is spelt in roman characters]
[“Mishnaic”, i.e., from the period of the Rabbis Hillel and Shammai, contemporaries of Jesus]
Professor R. Owen remarked in his speeches to a gathering of British scientists in the year 1858 on the expansion of the creatures, saying: The examination of different layers brings us to the surmise that the Apterix in New Zealand, and the ruddy wood-fowl in England, are special [or “separate”] creatures, particular only to these islands. He will say so, because he cannot understand why only there these creatures are found, and by these species, will come to the conclusion that certainly emergence and existence preceded them, which first gave birth to the great and mighty force of creation growth and shaping [or “moulding”]. And since we have become accustomed to employ our saying: “The continual action in the act [ma’aseh] of the Creator” which Prof. Owen also employs, there is easily place for error, for we shall hold the theory “there is no change in species”, and I too (says Darwin) made a great error when I read the Professor’s article, until I found in his document11 that he is talking about [lit., “determines”] a quantitative process, as regards the theory of natural breeding and training.
From this we learn, that even the best and greatest of natural scientists, who have occupied themselves and are busy all their days with the research into the roots of breeding and training, the emergence and the step-by-step progress of the species did not leave off using in their language regarding the continual force of being and existence “Action of the Creator” or in their words: Die bestaendige Wirksamkeit schoepferischer Thaetigkeit — “ therefore let it not any more be heavy in the eyes of the reader to bear our idea in this that we are proceeding according to the method established in our generation, and [we] see the passage on creation in our Torah on the one hand, and believe in truth and honesty, that the writer of our Torah in the hour in which the Lord wrote [His] actions [ma’aseh] every day (in the language of the Midrash) he aimed at the transformation the change and the variation and the progress and the emergence of the species, according to the laws of nature and also displayed before us in bright light His idea in this — as shall be seen yet more in this chapter — and more with regard to man and his perfection — and withal correctly employed the general saying, well known in the mouths of the wise men of the generation: Bara Elohim la’asot. [Translator’s note:“Bara Elohim la’asot” — these are the last words of Genesis 2,3, which the King James version has as "God created and made". However, a more precise translation would be "God created to make", and the author is obviously using the exact Hebrew words to make his point, for the word la'asot and the word ma'aseh used earlier by him are both from the same linguistic root. This point is however difficult to make in English].
Dr. Freke in the year 185112 set forth his teaching: that all things organic emerged from one [single] form (von einer Urform). And in the year 1852 the scientist Naudin expressed his idea in these words: “[the] hidden and unknown force in Divine Providence to some, and the contrary will in others, according to the unlimited influence upon animals in all [their] generations for eternity, the form the area and the existence of each and every one of them, according to its order and according to that which is necessary, this force is that which links every organ to the whole, and it equals and resembles in its general proportion [or “scale”, or “format”] the organism in all of nature, and this is the primary cause of all existence and reality. — ”.
The great author Dr. Schaafhausen in the year 1853 also determined the continuing perfection [or “evolution”] of organisms on the face of the earth, and says, that some species remained for many generations without any change, and only a few changed during this long time. The cause of the separation of, and differences between, the species is explained by the loss of intermediary steps and rungs, which were lost between them. “The flowering plants and the animals, they are among those which were destroyed and rose up to oblivion — not new creatures. Only those of their offspring which established themselves and thrived, emerged as they are at this time”. And Adam Powell in his book die Philosophie der Schoepfung proves [that] eternal creation for the behaviour of new species13 is a law of the behaviour of nature, and not by happenchance so. [Translator’s note: the passage on the left is a literal translation of the Hebrew original; however, it is not clear to me what the passage means]
All these scientists, who envisioned in their imaginations this great vision in the study of the forms of the roots the branches of creation, moved and stood at a distance, did not approach the mist wherein G-d completed His handiwork, until the coming of these great researchers, of whom the first and foremost in degree is thought to be Charles Darwin, and after him Haeckel.
The theory of transmutation (Transmutationstheorie oder Umbildungslehre) which scientists in our generation, researchers and philosophers of nature designate by name and glorify [as]: “the great triumph and victory of the spirit of man, and his overpowering of the dominion of blind belief” — the understanding reader will see that it is found also in our Torah which sets forth, that the most adorned creation in perfected organisms emerged from foundations inorganic without previous parents or offspring and one by one the metamorphosis (Umbildung) went on during limitless times.
What science calls Umformung, Umbildungslehre, the Torah calls yatsor and that is the giving of continually changing form to known matter, and this activity is found the scriptures, [as in] leyotser, cheresh (Jeremiah 19, 1) We are the clay [literally, “matter”] and Thou art our potter say unto him that made it [lit., yotser] (29, 15) and it all points to formen, bilden and every form this teaching includes, and from this also “makers of idols” [in Hebrew, tsiyur charshei tsirim (Isaiah 45, 15) bildhauer, and in Daniel (10, 16) “my sorrows are turned upon me” [in Hebrew, nahafchu tsirai ’alai], meine form, gestalt, and in Samuel (1, 2, 2) “neither is there any rock [in Hebrew, tsur] like our God” which our ancestors interpreted [or “explained”] as “neither is there any artist [Heb. tsaiyar] like our God who draws a picture within a picture” and it hinted at the method of Umbildungslehre, as we have proved sufficiently, [in] that the intention [or “meaning”] is the ascent of the forms, from the lifeless to the living.
[“yatsor”— literally, “forming”, as in the passage “The Lord God formed man ...” etc. — Genesis 2,7]
[ “potter” — literally, “former”, or in Hebrew, yotser (Isaiah 6,4) Shall the work [lit., yatsar[ say unto him that made it …(etc.)[
[“draws a picture within a picture” or, “who draws a picture within that which is formed” — all the above make sense only in Hebrew, for the Hebrew words for “form”, “picture”, “sorrows”, “rock”, etc are all derived from the same linguistic root]
That which we call: Unorganische Stoffe, aum [??] Welchen die Organismen entstanden sind und sich auf natuerlichem Wege allmaehliger Umbildung innerhalb ungeheierer geologischer Zeitreime entwickelt haben, — the passage on creation [in Genesis] calls that by two words: Dust from the ground, and upon this comes the broad explanation to discover its meaning Rabbi Huna says “[In Hebrew] dust is masculine [and] land [or “ground”] is feminine, the Potter brings the masculine [lit., “male”] dust together with the feminine [lit., “female”] land [or “ground”] so that his vessels may be sound —“ This Rabbi Huna has greatly clarified to us [the matter of] parents without organs [or, “inorganic parents”], and we shall hear a clear and decided judgement from him regarding the laws of nature, for [creatures possessing] organisms [literally, “the offspring of organisms”] emerged from previous forms — Urformen (simpler, in [that] they were self-manifesting (selbst zeigung) from inorganic sources which had no father and mother, yet these primary [creatures] are themselves called male and female, and gave birth — he too saw and discerned that our Torah teaches by this the transformation, die allmaehlige Umbildung, and thus it does not employ the word bri’ah, [which literally means “creation from nothing”], but the exchange of forms and the repeating change in the nature of the world and he too sets forth clearly this yotser!
[Translator’s note: the passage on the left is written in German with Hebrew characters, and it is not clear to me whether the spelling of each and every word given here is correct]
[Translator’s note: in Hebrew the phrase “Dust from the ground” consists of only two words, hence the author's remark on the left.
[Translator’s note: this argument sounds convincing only in Hebrew, not in English, which employs, besides the masculine and the feminine, also the neuter gender]
[Translator’s note: in the Bible there are several different Hebrew words used for the term we call in English “creation”, each possessing slightly different overtones; and here the author is distinguishing between two of them: bri'ah and yetsirah. The former, used for the creation of the world ex nihilo, refers to the creation of such things as the heaven and the earth; while the latter, used especially in the case of the creation of man, distinguishes itself from the former in that it presupposes the existence of matter out of which man is formed]
The passage on creation [in Genesis] does not inquire into the steps and ascents, upon which ladder the order of existence rose step by step, as these wise men have caused to pass before our eyes, yet it hints at the lowest rung of the ladder of creation, and points [lit., “sends forth”] its finger at the highest rung, upon which man stands; it also does not limit the time whence the exchange of forms in creation [literally, “in transformation”] began to be counted, yet it hints at a past time which is now completed and finished. The Creator [in this case, literally, “the Transformer”] formed one form into another until He reached the form of man; and in its general outlook, it looks upon the first steps of man and teaches us to understand that at this time he is known only as the possessor of the breath of life, and except for that, stands [several] steps removed in the ladder of improvement and perfection. And thus I shall interpret this passage: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground”. Innerhalb geologischer Zeitreime umbildete die ewige schoepferische Gottheit eum [??] unorganischen Stoffen — den organishcen Menschen.
And since we began inquiring after the root of the new theory, to discover its traces in the act of creation in our Torah, we shall lay our eyes further in Darwin’s articles in that which touches our subject, and that is the contents of his article “Unit-Pillars [or “Unit-Supports”] of Creation Visible to the Eyes”14 in which he says: Now we have reached, the question of natural scientists, whether the species, were created in one place, or in separated places on the earth. No doubt there is place for error, and it is very hard to understand and grasp, how one species emerged from one known location and passed over to the corners and limits of other locations, yet nevertheless our imagination establishes before us the image, that every species must have emerged from one single place of birth, and everyone who rejects this conclusion, rejects the true cause in simple begetting with its migration (Wanderung), and accepts miracles. It is accepted by all, that the places inhabited by a species, are in the majority [of cases] joined and close to and united [literally, “glued”] together and if one species inhabits different places which are separated by mountains and rivers, in such a manner that they cannot easily move and travel there from their place of birth, then that is [a] marvellous and extraordinary [occurrence]. There was once a time when these separated [locations] were joined together, and in places of seas [or “lakes”] and rivers there was dry land on the earth and also vice versa. Hence it seems to me clear, and it is in the eyes of many natural scientists a firm saying: that every species was born in one [single] place [and] only afterwards did the species travel and move, according to its power and ability, to distant [places] and settled down there according to the living conditions prepared for it. One dwelling place for one birthplace of a species, is a firm [literally, “determined”] law which applies to all. As answer to the above question, we shall require [or “demand”] another explanation, whether different species of the same genus (Arten einer Gattung) which according to my theory emerged from a [single] original [literally, “primeval”] birthplace, whether in their travels from place to place, they change, if we can prove, that the inhabitants of a particular area, which resemble their neighbours the inhabitants of another area would be proximal by reason of the movement of the latter to the former, then faithful establishment will emerge for our general idea; for then the aim [or “purpose”] of the Deszendenz which goes hand in hand with the renewal of form will be seen by the eye and the sense.
To the question, whether there is a single central point to creation, or several separate points is related also the related question: whether all the individuals (Jndividuen) [sic!] were born from one pair, or their roots emerged from a creature [which stood] by itself which was androgynous or according to the opinion of some authors, from many individuals of a [single] species, which were all born at one time and emerged into existence? Whether among those organisms which were never assembled by means of opposition [but] only evolved in a straight line, then all renewal of forms in individuals, comes from the same form (von einerleie Form) and all the offspring emerged from one primitive father (Stamvater). And among the vast majority of these organisms, which in all their ways were put together [literally, “assembled”] by means of resistance, all the individuals which changed in their time, did [indeed] relate to a single father-trunk, from whose loins they emerged.
[ Deszendenz — sic, in the original: in German it means “evolutionary principle”]
The researcher chooses between the three different possibilities [mentioned above] according to the theory of “one central point in creation and its proofs multiply to determine the law that from one pair did the hosts of the species multiply. And that there is only one place of birth to every species, and by means of distribution — verbreitungs mittel — we can expand the assured investigation over the wide earth and its inhabitants, in days gone by.
And in order that this theory may not be strange and hard [or “difficult”] in your eyes, we shall recollect here what the researcher has determined in another place15 in his words regarding the relationship of the criteria of multiplication and reproduction, and these are the contents of his passage: The war of existence, [which] is the war of life (Kampf um’s Dasein) shall raise its hand in the awesome relationship [according to which] which every organic thing makes a vigorous effort to reproduce. Every creature which in the course of its natural life sows seed or lays eggs, must at some time in its life die [literally, “in one of the periods of its life come to loss”], for if there were no loss and destruction, the land of its inhabitation could not support all of them together with their ancestors.
If there were no destruction then from one pair the entire earth would be filled, [with their] offspring. In the case of man, in whom multiplication and reproduction is not great his seed will multiply in twenty five years’ time, and according to this mathematical progression, in a thousand years the entire universe would not be able to clear enough space for the family of one household. From one elephant and its mate after seven hundred and fifty years their offspring would number approximately nineteen million. —
And after having known all this, there will not be in you the slightest doubt, that our Torah has from times gone by laid two stones in the foundation of the passage on creation, of which here is the cornerstone: (a) One [single] place of inhabitation and origin of man whence the human race emerged: (b) and from one [single] pair the entire human race descended and spread over the earth.
Here we stand on the last rung [of the ladder] which is the rung we can also call: the first [rung] on the ladder of perfection, for it is the first in renewal of improvement. After the Torah makes known the last limit of the creation [literally, “formation”] of forms (formationen) it begins with the first state of the formed man, who possessed only the breath of life, [and] except for that, generations passed [with] only with the breath of life in his nostrils, he lived in a wild state among the other animals, our Torah does not count the number of days which passed over the wild [or “savage”] man who lived on the land, [and] also does not count the time and the generations which separate the wild [man] from the perfected, while research loves to keep track of the roots of his plantation, but identifies for us the observed rising steps, and therefore jumps from period to period, which the faultless reader will believe for the Torah spoke in the tongue of men in a story [whose events are] arranged one after the other, and a thousand years are as a single day in its sight, and therefore let us not reduce the honour of the Torah nor desecrate its splendour.
In my opinion greater honour and glory would be given to the Torah of Moses our Great Teacher, if we hold to the new theory and reject the measure of formation and broaden the limits of knowledge in [the matter of] the origins of man, and go according to the theory, that the Creator so guided this His world many generations in the laws of nature until He transformed and brought the deed to a completion — rather than that we should attribute to Him, and to the scriptures [in what they write] about Creation that in one [single] day the curtain of darkness was destroyed and from this the universe and all those that inhabit it were laid bare to the eye of this sun! — [“transformed” — in Hebrew: tsarah (see earlier note regarding this linguistic root)]
And as the passage preceded to speak of the preparation of the vegetable kingdom, the time that its aim was finished, so that nourishment may be prepared for man who was ready for coming, it noted [literally, “established its mark”] “And there was not a man” so it established the first step in the ladder, after the creation [literally, “formation”] of man, and was breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and for several thousands of generations lived in the wild state with only the breath of life in his nostrils, it indicated his status, before he arose in degree by saying: “And the man became a living soul”, a wild living soul untaught to speak like every other living soul in the passage on creation, and [this is] no [Biblical] text twisted out of its real meaning. All researchers of our generation who hold to Darwin’s theory will agree that early generations were wild and uncivilised [literally, “uncorrected”]; up to the point that they trace the lineage [of man] down to the apes, the forefathers of the perfected man. The author [lit., “Lord”] of the Book of Invention has decided: If it were in our hands to come unto [lit., “after”] the root of the order of the generations in the ascent of man to perfection, until we reach the rungs of the ladder upon which the apes (Affen) also climbed, and we saw the changes and upturnings which took place in them at the hands of time, and we do not miss any period in the history of their [ascent to] perfection, then without doubt we will have seen a single form (eine Form) in which even today, their descendants live in their image, and they would be as one flesh. And all the scientists of the generation have hypothesised that if we do not determine, that the apes are the forefathers of man nevertheless they have a [single] primeval source, the only thing being that they separated during the course of their evolution. The perfection and evolution which groups of mankind created for themselves in [different] lands progressed gradually on the path of life, according to the gifts of nature which are given unto them; to this there are particular details in particular places in particular varieties [or “adaptations”], [for instance] the North American Indian possesses keen eyes for all his life he stares hard from great distances to bring prey to his teeth, and according to the nature of his land so will his talents develop. If there is a generation in the desolate desert, which does not need to use its sense of hearing, then [its] capacity for hearing will be totally lost, and from generation to generation the inheritance of this trait will [pass like a] stream until in the course of time a generation will be born devoid of the sense of hearing, and will be differentiated from the preceding generation. Thus natural science has made a great statement [or “enunciated a great theory”] “that man is a product of [his] surroundings or of necessity” (Der Mensch is ein Eergebniss [sic] der Umgebung oder der Nothwendigkeit [sic]).
And I shall proclaim loudly giving honour to man as a living soul, a living thing [literally, “an animal” or “a beast”] from the field; and there will be those who will be shocked at the fact that I correctly interpret Darwinism in the Torah, and I believe more in his theory than the text which says “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”!
However, my friends, do not rush to condemn me, hear me out and speak afterwards! I know that habit is second nature, and you have become habituated to hearing the texts according to the ancient interpretations which have spread and [have been] accepted by the people, before having known and listened to natural science and its rule on earth, though this is not the way of scientific investigation, this does not [conduce to] the glory of the Torah, and this is not the teaching of our forefathers. Our ancestors the lords of the Talmud according to [the words of] whose mouths and according to whose writings we live — see your remarks in my chapters concerning [a] decided saying of our forebears, how the theory of science is appropriate at all times, and now come and I shall show you that between their lines they declare their opinions concerning the ascents of man on the steps of perfection, and they also belived that man resembled the ape [literally, “man was as the ape”] in the build of his body, and in the sin of excess according to his improvement, and that [is] in our MidrashRabbah chapter fourteen: [The text saying] “And man became a living soul [in Hebrew, nefesh chaiyyah]”, Rabbi Yehuda says, teaches that he made him a tail like an animal [in Hebrew, chaiyyah] and returned and took it from him on account of his honour! And the Midrash there repeats in these words: “Point tail and to be precise it is written animal [in Hebrew, chaiyyah] and [this] signifies like an animal really and this is [a] tail regarding which, [in] its form and size, [was] already written “in our image, after our likeness” — I showed you that if our [our ancestors] of blessed memory understood the living soul [nefesh chaiyyah] in the created [literally, “formed”] man to be really [that of an] animal [chaiyyah], and moreover presented man among the apes as the superfluous tail attests to his origins — and without any covered up disguise on the face of the [Biblical] text, told [us] what they saw as right and proper in possibility, and which the meaning of the passage on creation supports. —
So every intelligent researcher of the books of natural science, will wholeheartedly acknowledge that the great ancient periods in the stretches [or “expanses”] of creation, which are counted in many thousands of years, are divided in the first section [of the Bible] into days; these days are mentioned by our forefathers by a special name: The Six Days of Creation, and they said that man who was already created on the sixth day — and this is a period which lasted thousands [upon] thousands of years — when his family pulled along from generation to generation, then it was necessary for him to evolve so that he may enter into the parlour of perfection, and that is what we established as the cornerstone of our article: all that was created in the six days of creation needed work [carried out upon it] — even man needed improvement — !
[Translator’s note: here the author seems to playing upon words: in Hebrew the words for “living soul” are nefesh chaiyyah, while the word for “animal” is chaiyyah, which literally means “that which lives”; and so finding that these two terms share a word, he draws the conclusion that they share a meaning as well]
[Translator’s note: this time the author actually uses the term “created” and not “formed”]
[“evolve” — literally, “to improve himself and become more and more perfect”]
It is known now to natural scientists that the [capacity to] migrate and to change [one’s] place [or “position”] makes all creatures more perfect and brings them to [a] higher and more respected status [literally, “step”], and movement and change of place show us that these creatures fought the war of movement in their lands for their souls and their lives [or, “for their living souls”] and were compelled for their existence to leave the place and evolved in the new place and gave birth to offspring more perfected than themselves.
And after having uttered these [words] we have clarified and interpreted the passage “and man became a living soul” in this way. If however I do not attempt to show that the passage of the Torah refrains from easily saying, that we have emerged out of the loins of apes, nevertheless it is clearly seen from its words that it describes man in his ascent step by step in the ladder of knowledge. Here Darwin and other scientists have said in decided manner that the natural tendency (Instinkt) which is found in animals, is not the result [literally, “the daughter”] of habit as some [people] thought, for in the actions of many animals it is clearly seen that it is not the hand of habit which taught them their skill, like the bee and the ant, and the cuckoo bird that it may lay its eggs in a strange bird’s nest, for this instinct [literally, “tendency”] is stamped upon it, and after all a little understanding or judgement (eine kleine dosis Urteil oder Verstand, as Pierre Huber says) is mixed in it, and the natural instinct will perform its actions on every living condition and they will change and be transformed by it for arm in arm will progress the training and education [or “learning”] and the passage points also to this natural tendency [or “instinct”] in its description of the wild state of man who has not yet reached will, intellect, knowledge and judgement only natural tendency [or “instinct”] gave birth to his will, but not free will, only obligatory [or “necessary”] will. That which we call “instinkt” [sic, in German], or natural impulse (Naturtrieb), required of the savage [or “wild”] man at the initial time of his ascent on the ladder of evolution, our Torah calls by a name which is the more required to clarify [or “explain”] all this which is being said: “living soul” [in Hebrew: nefesh chaiyyah]. In the scriptures we found that they employ the term nefesh [most often translated as “soul”] [as a synonym] for will and natural tendency [or “instinct”]: “If it be in your mind” [in Hebrew, im yesh et nafsheichem] (Genesis, 23, 8) “And hast a desire unto her” [in Hebrew: ve-shalachta la-nafshah] (Deuteronomy 21, 11) in these [passages] the meaning is “will”; “Hell hath enlarged herself” [in Hebrew: herchiva She’ol nafshah] (Isaiah 5, 14) “I am sad in my soul” (Psalm 27, 12) “That the soul be without knowledge” (Proverbs 19, 2) its meaning is natural tendency [or “instinct”]. And if [the term] “soul” [nefesh] is linked to [the term] “living” [chaiyyah], then the meaning [of the two words together] is, “the natural tendency belonging to living [things]”. And after the scripture says “And man became a living soul [nefesh chaiyyah]” the scripture testifies that the human species which lived in that period was like the animals feeling everything, which they did and performed [and] was without choice, will and consciousness. “Eats and drinks like [the] beast, is fruitful and multiplies like [the] beast, drops [his] droppings like [the] beast and dies like [the] beast” (words of the MidrashRabbah chapter 14), this natural tendency, was the cause of bringing the wild [or “savage”] human species to the step which ascends to perfection, and that is movement and [the capacity] to migrate [i.e., move from place to place]. [Translator’s note: there must be a misprint in the original, for these words are not to be found in this Psalm]
Therefore in that regard Darwin has suggested16 a true theory in his saying: Everyone sees that all the species of one genus, even if their place of habitation is as distant as east from west, nevertheless emerged from one location and were born in one birthplace. And those species, which during the entire period changed only a little, it is not hard to believe that they emerged only from one place and migrated here. And these species only migrated from one place, whence their ancestors at first emerged to existence, and these species were not created in different primary forms (Stammformen).
The great law of migration and dispersal (Wanderung und Verbreitung) to exchange living conditions, this law emerges on account of the primeval man; our Torah takes precedence in hinting at the marvellous law on the steps of the ladder. After having proceeded to prepare nutrition according to the system of the vegetable kingdom which proceeds slowly, “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden before the coming of man” (see the third chapter [of Genesis]) the Eden in the west of the world, and in the opinion of many of the great wise men of our [time]17 by one of the great [men] of our generation the treasure of books and the Rabbi of authors the respected [literally, “sublime”] compiler and worthy researcher the wise Rabbi our teacher Shlomo Rabin (may his light shine!) Wien 1871 in Hasshachar page 12 quotes [that] the Garden of Eden with its four rivers was in India, one of [the four rivers] was called [in the Bible] “Pishon”, this is the river Pego which surrounds the land of Havillah which is Ara where there is much gold, the name of the second river [in the Bible] is “Gihon” [and] that is the Ganges which surrounds the land of Cush which was in India (Isaiah 18) the name of the third “Hiddekel” (when the [Hebrew] letter daleth is emphasised [even when] lacking the letter nun [it] is called [or “pronounced”] Hindekel [and] this is the Hindus [sic]), and the fourth the Tigris (and the name of the river is “Prath” [which] according to the opinions of these wise men was added later after the Babylonian Exile [of the Jewish people] and the Canaanite was then in the Land [of Israel] according to the opinion of … … from the two [names] of which the name had-dekel [literally, “one palm [tree]”] which is to say, “Hind” (the original name of this river) [and] “Dikla” which is the Tigris. From the land of India all the works [of creation] were divided. And this excellent Doctor is one of the great [men] among our people, and I found him very well versed in all of Hebrew literature and he knows how to proceed in all his researches in the spirit [of that literature]. And therefore fortunate is the generation which chooses his books and articles which enlighten the earth.” [Thus the Garden of Eden] is in the land of India (Indien) a blessed land, the air and the climate [of which] was temperate, our Torah explains that the Lord God took man from his place of birth and that was in the eastern [part] of the world that is to say the journey [or “migration”] began to beat inside the breast [lit., “living soul”] of man. And man walked on his journey [or “migration”] till he reached the western boundaries where the Garden of Eden was made ready the day before and he “put the man” in the Garden of Eden [Genesis 2,8]. [“coming” — or “creation”? there may a typo in the original at this point]
The analysis of the scriptures is therefore [as follows]: “And God planted a garden eastward in Eden” Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman said, the interpretation of [the term] “before the creation of the world” is naught but “before man” (MidrashRabbah chapter 16) and therefore justifiably translated “Their hooks from before”, “And there he put the man whom he had formed”. At first the passage says in a general way that the created [literally, “formed”] man was brought and set down at the extremity of the earth far from his place of birth, in the Garden of Eden and in the midst of things began to itemise the merits and characteristics of the garden with [literally, “in”] its many plants and its trees and its refreshing arbours planted by waterfalls [and] streams, and the flows of rivers which are ever the ferries and rafts for the plants from the earth harvest and every tree bringing forth fruit as explained in the third chapter, they helped perfect the garden to be a delight marvellous pleasure and all prepared for [a] feast, the passage on creation completes its object to reveal that man travelled [or “migrated”] from the eastern extremity of the earth till he came and settled himself down in the west of the world and that is in its [the Torah’s] words “And the Lord God took the man” [Genesis 2, 15] and our forefathers came and explained the meaning according to our theory and took aid of the explicit Biblical text which throws precious light on the subject of the law of migration: and that is in Rabbah (Chapter 17) Rabbi Yehuda said “he raised him” (in this [he] rose on the steps of the ladder and this Midrashic exposition is also upon [or “applicable to”] the term veyasem “he put”) and thus the verse which says (Isaiah 14, 2) “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place”, it is seen quite clearly that the term “took” is [or “signifies”] uprooting [from] a place to carry and bring to another place, and in this regard in our holy scriptures [we find the terms] “I took thee to curse mine enemies” (Numbers 33, 11) the meaning of which is, “I took thee from thy place and brought thee here”, or “and he brought him to the field of Zophim” (ibid, 14) [which means] they took from his place and guided him to the field of Zophim, and so [also] this verb is expanded upon further in [the passage] “taking them by their arms” (Hosea 11, 3) tranen fuehren “Placed it by great waters” (Ezekiel 17, 5) by means of a sprinkler as explained in the dictionary of Hebrew roots.
[here a word which is unclear due to poor reproduction of the small print of the original]
[Translator’s note: Hebrew possesses the same word for the terms “east” and “before”, and here the author seems to be taking advantage of this ambiguity to put forward a theory that where the Bible says “east” it means in actual fact “before’]
“And he put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” in this blessed land the wandering man found rest; [a] garden full of delights in the breadth of the pleasantness of nature which was around him, the clear skies stretched over the width of that that land, the stars in their courses full of splendour and producing light, the moon with its charms proceeding [in the heavens], the sun with its strength making manifest its rays, and with great pleasure and charm beaming down upon those who walk beneath; silent breezes blowing from the east, birds flying and chirping in the shade of the cypresses and from their summits giving forth their voices, the high mountains for the ibex, the broad meadows for thousands of sheep, the river coming out of Eden watering [the land] as it descends, Pishon and Hiddekel, Gihon and Prath the rivers together. — All this land rejoices and is glad, nature celebrates its festival by the month and by the season — all these are prepared and they have the power to change living conditions for the better [lterally, “for the good”], for the sake of man who comes for afar to find rest there.
[Translator’s note: the word "eden" in Hebrew literally means "delight", and the term "garden of Eden" therefore literally means "garden of Delight"]
[Translator’s note: the word translated as “take” or “took” in English, is in Hebrew in both the cases on the left lekichah “taking”, which is the word seized upon by the author in his argument]
The growth of the land of Eden [was] in [a] natural upbringing during the course of generations specific to man, the savage, [brought up] to be a faithful son at her knees; in the land of Eden his living soul was refined [lit., “made delicate”] and engraved [as a jewel] its name upon him, [he was] assimilated [within it] to love its portions [of sustenance] guarded [or “preserved”] for his sake. During [the course of] known time, when man found rest in Eden, he lived without disturbance, off the fruit of the Garden’s yielding, having the sense to stop the beasts and animals of the field from robbing him of the food and sustenance which nature had prepared. He became wise in this [matter] with the help of the knowledge that emerged from the rule of instinct in [a] restricted measure, to be a worker for [the sake of] the food, sustenance and economy which [was] in the garden and to guard every fruit [so that it may] not become prey to the teeth of robber-animals (Raueb-thiere) which lurked around him. This ascent on the ladder of perfection, is conspicuously seen in the above scripture in two words, after the announcement in the passage that the Lord God put man in the garden of Eden, which [took place] over several generations, until they [i.e., human beings] lodged there and found a dwelling in the Lodgings of Paradise [literally, “of Delight”], [the Torah] hints yet again at the ascent in the perfection of [man’s] abilities [literally, “assets”] and I see the two words: “to dress it and to keep it”!!
[Translator’s note: the two phrases "to dress it and to keep it" are in Hebrew just two words, hence the author's remark above].
Again I see hidden in this Biblical passage the progress of man on the ladder of evolution in the initial stages, observable in all creatures, and in particular in creatures possessing organs; and the end of this passage is an introduction to the next passage: that is to say the demonstration of the state of man in time and as he is prepared [for it] to ascend on the steps of perfection as is fitting [for it] to happen. And thus is the way of the passage on creation which always gives signs of the limits of his imperfection, before he had begun his ascent up to the summits of his talents [or “capabilities”]. As I brought this to your attention at the beginning of the passage: “And there was not a man” and as you shall see yet again in the passages [to be] explained by us.
The next stages observed in the ladder of nature, is called by the researcher of the generation the struggle for existence (Der Kampf um’s Dasein[sic]). From the struggle for existence, emerged all manner of changes, if only they benefited the aim of particular individuals, to hold on [to life] and to [continue] living, and in the majority [of cases] they [are such as] tend to be bequeathed to their offspring which come into existence after their parents, and according to the degree of change the existence of life comes to be more in favour of the offspring (Nachkoemmlinge); for from [any] particular species which from time to time reproduces, only a few can keep a grasp upon the tree of life. The well-known researchers De Candolle and Lyell have proved, that all organisms stand at all times each against the others in the struggle for energy [sic]. And the researcher Darwin has put forth the statement “it is very easy to recognise and acknowledge in speech and language the truth of the struggle for existence, but it is very hard — in my opinion — to remember it at all times, so that it may not be forgotten. As long as this knowledge is not engraved upon the tablets of our hearts, then every natural treasure-house, in the abundance of its variety, richness and preciousness, the means of livelihood and the change in this house, will appear [to us] as from within a cloud or even enveloping fog. We observe that the face of nature is [like] a ray of light, we observe [an] abundance of economy; but we do not observe, that the sparrow which rejoices and is glad in heart sustaining its life with the entrails of the corpses of the insects it preys upon, is [also] destroyed and annihilated; or it falls [and is] killed in the struggle against its enemies; we shall not remember that the greater part of the abundance of economy is not found at all times and [that] periods of scarcity also exist.
If we are speaking about the struggle for existence in a general way, then we must speak of the relationship of the creatures which are dependent on each other, and not only in the life of particular individuals standing by themselves, but the higher relationship, and that is in the influence on the offspring which will come to take the place of their parents. And in truth and with justification we may state that two hundred species of animals of prey (Raeubthiere) struggle for life and for food and sustenance.
“The struggle for existence” will therefore [have to] come about, if the organism has to reproduce and multiply. And everything that reproduces must at some time in its life come to death, for if it were to live [lit., “stand”] for ever without destruction, the earth would not be able to support them and give food and sustenance to every creature. And therefore at the time of reproduction of many individuals, a vigorous struggle will arise between them for existence, the struggle will take place between [members of] the species itself or against other species, or even between them against the living conditions around them. This law will set up a block to absolute destruction, in order that organisms may not increase in the earth and [a] man swallow his neighbour’s life.
Food sustenance and economy, these will limit mostly to a fixed number the reproduction and multiplication of a species of animals, which lives therein; but not these alone, but also enemies and preying [animals] will reduce their numbers, but these reducing factors may be termed “loss in its time” and the greatest destruction will occur when a species comes to sudden death, or a [similar] hard thing, for experience has taught us that if species of many animals reproduce in one place, room for them will grow more strait and utter destruction will come upon them. And if we observe well this struggle we see clearly, that nature acts in wondrous ways [as] between one [organism] and its neighbour and blesses one species or genus with all the good things [of life] and thus prolongs its days and takes away its good things from a second [species or genus] as a result of which it falls killed by those stronger than it and disappears [literally, “ends”] from the earth. And yes, in all the groups of animals and of man, the strong will drive away the weak or subjugate it and take its place.
Even the primeval man, of whom our passage shall speak, we observe that he is seized in the struggle for his existence; our Torah shows us that he migrated from the west of the world, and came as a wanderer and settled down in Eden, there he found rest for the sole of his foot, and there Highest Providence brought him to rest. After his settling down and quartering in this new land, man emerged into the air of the new land to perform his deeds [and] to struggle in the fight, began to teach himself to live the Edenic [or “delightful”] life, changed in accordance with its many influences upon him, enjoyed himself [in] his days — and the struggle for existence aroused him to emerge to battle against the inhabitants of the Eden area from previous years. Now [there arose] before him [a] fierce and vigorous struggle, its beginning [manifesting in] the rising up against his enemies, the haters of wandering and migrating [species], so that they may not rob nourishment and sustenance from his mouth [and] that his soul may live, and to demonstrate his power and the strength of his hand, for his hand [was] in everything and every tree and garden producing fruit in its kind of every variety [lit., “from variety to variety”] [were] prepared only for him and his family. [The] fruit tree, off which he lived and [which] sustained his life [and] the life of his species, was for him the Tree of Life [for] many days and years and generations, until the necessity of the struggle for existence aroused him (and that undoubtedly during many generations during with much seed from him reproduced, and as a result of the pressure of necessity and of the hour) then in the flowering of his enemies like grass blossomed all manner of evil deeds unto him, then [was] the struggle for existence aroused [lit., “hoisted”] within him in order that he may not fall killed by his enemies, and death lurk [in wait] for him at every step of his feet.
The struggle for existence was the wet nurse, the foster mother, the educatrix of man to [teach him] to differentiate what is good before him, if he were to succeed in being victorious in the land then what would be his good portion in Eden to be Lord and to bequeath to his descendants after him, and if he were to be upturned under various and evil changes, and the hand of the previous inhabitants upon him then why should he live? The struggle for existence [was] the natural educatrix, necessity and opposition brought him to the highest rung of the ladder of improvement and perfection, they established him upon the highest stages [of perfection or evolution] and these are knowledge and understanding.
The aim [or “object”] of the struggle for existence which [was] to guard [for] man his livelihood and his nourishment; (and if there is guarding then certainly there would be found those who would desire to steal or rob it from him) and to be a worthy servant for his house his seed and his species that they may be sated and live in abundance, is that which our pure Torah calls by [these] few words: “And put him in the garden of Eden — to dress [lit., “to work”] it and to keep [lit., “to guard”] it” and when our Torah expresses its saying, man’s being in [a] state of struggle for his existence should awaken our ear to discern the second Biblical passage, for his food and nourishment [was] from every tree of the Garden which the struggle for existence aroused him to “keep” and to “dress” [it] and eat of its fruit, which in the language of the Torah [is as follows] “And the Lord God commanded [lit., “came out upon”] the man saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat” [lit., “thou shalt eat thy food”], they were unto him livelihood and Tree of Life, before he came to this realisation, before he felt the pressure and the necessity that his life is [full of] hardship, and now the struggle for existence commands him with its hard spirit to guard his life from death which lurks and hunts him down, he [being] the enemy [newly] inhabiting Eden, [that] there would be food for him to eat only upon his being rescued from [potential] death, and bring to his life his bread, therefore the tree of nourishment raised him to the heights [or “altar”] of knowledge, to discern that which is good for his children, and to distance himself from the evil which lies like a net [or “a snare”] at his feet. Hence the passage on creation looks upon this as the first gift given to primitive man, that is the knowledge which came to him from the eating of the tree, what I mean to say is from his knowledge that food [comes] from the tree which at the beginning he did not know and was not aware but [only] as a “living soul”, lived on the face of the earth, and as the death of [a] “living soul” so he died, passed [from] and ceased [in] the world — this first gift was given to him as an indispensable condition and as the giver of a gift to his comrade must make aware so [it] made him aware — (and that in metaphorical language (bildlicher-Auesdruck) which science loves to dress in temporal garb, its sayings, heard by the ear of men — as is well known) that the good gift which you shall receive is under condition that you shall become conscious of your defects, and you have come to the knowledge that you are destined to die and this is the advantage of knowledge over instinct, from the side [or “aspect”] of your self-consciousness that on the day that you shall taste [with] your life [that] food is pleasant, and with knowledge discern [that which is] good, and differentiate [it] from evil, then at the heels of this knowledge follows [or, “is bound”] death, and you shall become aware that death is the Lord of your destruction, and you are predestined [literally, “foreseen”] for its sword, which until now by your being only a “living soul”, your lack of knowledge [of this fact] supported the success of your life and hid from you the shadow of death. ]“living soul” — nefesh chaiyya” (see explanation of this phrase given earlier)]
If we interpret [literally, “translate”] the [term] “voice of God” walking in Eden, which commands man not to eat of the tree of knowledge, and the man did not listen to [or “obey”; the word sham’a is ambiguous in Hebrew] this commanding voice, as the voice of [lit., “the word of”] instinct for man upon his emergence to free life according to the spirit of his understanding turned his back to the voice of instinct, we shall understand from this that from this time [was] the start, or the beginning of his moral [or “ethical”] existence, and in this step to his freedom, is founded the cornerstone of his moral [or “ethical”] life. The lawgiver terms this step: “einen Fall des Menschen”, and the philosopher calls it “einen Riesenschritt der Menschheit”.
And our passage which deals with the order of the steps in man’s perfection [or “evolution”], does not withhold from telling [us] its opinion that this ascent in the acquiring of knowledge — is [in fact] a descent and it were better for man not to emerge to the freedom of knowledge, and he does not need to come to the differentiation of good and evil, but that of every tree of the garden could he eat freely, and his life was not hanging in the balance [lit., “hanging from opposite”], for food and sustenance were prepared in sufficient measure to satisfy all the creatures henceforward that the creatures in all their varieties may multiply and spread in the garden of Eden — and perhaps between [the members of] the human species itself, due to the great extent of their being fruitful and multiplying, there arose a vigorous struggle for existence in the land of life, [and] therefore the tree of food, which he had been instructed to know to “keep” [lit., “to guard”] the good [that was] before him so that his soul might live, this tree of knowledge taught him that death hunts and ambushes his soul to take it — and this knowledge — according to the opinion of our passage, diminishes the success of this creature which has been living thousands of years on the face of the land. [“varieties” or “species”: the word min in Hebrew is ambiguous]