The First Snake

Question

Was the snake in Breishis a Human or an animal or some sort of being that was both a human and an animal?

15 years

Answers

  1. The first snake – nachash – seems to have been an animal with certain human-like features. Saying it was human would be going too far.

    The concensus of commentaries is that it was a serpant and refer to it as representing the force of the Satan, Evil Inclination and the Angel of Death (which according to our Sages are in fact all the same force).

    The Midrash teaches that this cunning creature – before it was cursed to move on its belly and eat dust (“bite the dust”) – was able to stand upright and communicate with humans (see 3:2 and 3:14 Rashi). It also wanted to have Adam killed when Adam would eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and then be able to “marry” Eve (3:15 Rashi).

    So while today’s snake appears to be purely animal, the original snake, before it was cursed, had human traits as well as animal – and respresented negative forces. Nowadays, it is still is pretty frightening in my opinion!

    I hope this was helpful.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team