Re: The Nachash [Snake]
Fri, 24 Jan 1997 14:35:05 -0500 (EST)
I would like to share a fascinating interpretation by Rav Shimon Schwab
about the Nachash, the "Original Snake".He explains that at the beginning of
Creation, there were creatures who were human-like, except that they didn't
have spiritual souls to them.They were called "chayos hasadeh".That's what
the Torah means when it says that the Nachash was the most sly of all
the"chayos hasadeh".These creatures had human intelligence, inclinations,
lusts, etc.Their original purpose was to serve man, like the animals.
This is how the snake had designs on Chava, tried to lure them into eating
the fruit,and had other human characteristics.After the sin, its human
qualities were taken away from it and it remained a plain animal-snake.
Perhaps the reason the Torah only mentions its feet being cut off and
forced to slither is like I once saw from the Steipler Rav, that the human
being is the only creature which walks erect with his head held high.Even the
monkey, ape or bird does not hold its head up high like a human being does.
This represents the human's superiority , which lies in his head, i.e.
intelligence and ability to make moral decisions.
By causing the snake to slither on its belly, Hashem was showing how it
was being pushed down to the lowest physical existence possible,with its head
literally on an equal footing with its tail,as punishment for misusing its
Rav Schwab wants to posit further that this may be the explanation for some
of the fossils of cavemen and Neandrathal man- they don;t contradict Adam at
all. They were created with Adam as contemporaries-without souls- to serve
I found this idea answering many different problems in the whole story,
especially coming from a very well respected authority.