The sacred and holy union of Adam and Eve understood from a single Hebrew word.
Just one word.
One word and how it is translated into — or from — another language makes all the difference in the message and tone of where it is placed.
The introduction of Eve (in the currently translated book of Genesis in the Bible) sets the tone of her and Adam’s relationship, and by extension, the relationship between all men and women.
Part of something whole and holy
Genesis 2: 21–22 reads that God took a rib from Adam and built a companion for him. While we understand the entire story, while speaking about a real historical couple, is known as an allegory. It is a poem that, with its frame and prose is meant to teach us about men, women, and marriage.
Moses was trying to teach about partnership.
Let’s examine the current translation.
The Hebrew word tsela is currently translated as “rib” in Genesis. Many poetic hearts have attempted to explain this.
A rib is used because:
Eve/woman is to walk by Adam’s/man’s side — not in front of nor behind.
It represents that Eve is his other half.
It represents that since Eve is made of the same substance as Adam, she is also in the image of God, just as much as her companion.
It shows that, although an integral part was taken from Adam/man, he gained more than he lost — a wife and companion to make him more complete.
A better translation
This Hebrew word tsela occurs in 40 places in the Bible. Only one time, in Genesis 2:21–22, is it translated as a body part — a rib.
Former Rabbi Shira Halevi writes in her book, “The Life Story of Adam and Havah,” tsela is normally translated as “side,” usually in the context of a holy edifice, such as a tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant, or — as she points out — a temple.
Closest to God
In many scriptures, holy men (and I assume women as well) ascended mountains to commune with God, as it was the closest place on earth to the sky, to the heavens. Symbolically, a mountain was considered holy; the axis that linked heaven and earth.
A temple is considered a mountain unto the Lord, a place where one can visit to commune more closely with God. Thus, a temple is also a holy place that can be thought of an axis point that connects heaven with earth.
As we consider this new context of tsela as it relates to Adam and Eve, it is time to reflect on the significance of this better translation and how it affects the partnership of Adam and Eve, as well as what it means in terms of their purpose, mission, and potential as a couple.
With this better translation, Eve is symbolically created to be part of something holy.
When God creates Eve, she and Adam, together, are now whole as a temple. He needs her — and vice versa — to create a very Holy place. Theirs becomes a sacred union.
Eve and Adam are created as significant individual parts that, when joined together, represent, according to the allegorical template, the holiest place on earth.
Imagine what Moses is trying to articulate, what God is trying to teach us regarding our roles as men and women as individuals and as partners?
Taking a piece of Heaven with them
While living in the Garden of Eden, they have full access to God, walking and talking with Him, seeing Him face to face as their father, their creator.
But with the Fall, they are forced to exit the garden, leaving behind that sense of Heaven where God was visible.
But, more importantly, they take something with them, something God has created: they take access to heaven.
They were created earlier like unto a temple, and they keep that with them as they travel into the “lone and dreary world.” Together they have the capability to create a holy place/space that, especially when children enter, they and their children can experience heaven, can be taught how to access God, how to commune with Him.
This also gives us a better vision of marriage itself, a rendering of how holy it is, or meant to be.
So, the current translation of “rib” is okay. But if kept within the same mindset of how this same word was translated in the rest of the Bible, it enhances and deepens the meaning.
Eve wasn’t just created so Adam wouldn’t be alone. She was created as a necessary half of something that can be as holy as a temple of God.
Ramona Siddoway’s new book, “We are ‘adam: the Partnership of Adam and Eve in the Garden and What it Means for You,” published by Cedar Fort, will be released in September.
Read more about the Divine Femine, gardening, and healing at RamonaSiddoway.com