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    Only one Adam – B’reshit

    A famous interpretation of Genesis comes from Rav Joseph B Soloveitchik who says that since there are two Creation stories there could have been two Adams.

    Adam I is Technological Man. He is placed there to till and toil, to exploit and utilise the earth.

    Adam II is Poetic Man. Instead of a utilitarian approach (“What can I do?”) he is an existentialist who wonders what it is all about (“What am I?”) and why he is alone apart from God.

    You and I are both of the Adams; our identity oscillates.

    The Tosefta (quoted in the Talmud Sanh. 38a/b) asks why only one Adam was created, and it answers that it is to prevent quarrels between people. One person might say, “I have better lineage than you; my Adam was better than yours”.

    One person might say he was righteous because he had a righteous ancestor; an evil person might put the blame on a wicked ancestor.

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