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The time: the sixth day of creation. Adam, man, had just been created, and G-d declared:

"Lo Tov Heyos Ha’adam Levado, E’eseh Lo Ezer K’negdo"

It is not good for man to be alone, I will make for him a helper against him.

This, of course, refers to Woman.

Rashi asks the obvious question: why does the Passuk use the contradictory phrase, ezer

kenegdo, helper against him, to describe Woman?

As an answer he brings a Gemara (Yevamos), which succinctly states :

Zacha - ezer. Lo Zacha - K’negdo.

If he is worthy, she will be a helper. If he is unworthy, she will be against him.

But a question still stands. From the Gemara, it sounds as if the passuk is talking of two separate men - one who is worthy, and one who is not. However, from the passuk it is obvious that there is only one man. Why does the Gemara take the passuk out of its simple meaning? An additional question on the passuk is, why is it not good for man to be alone?

Chazal state: "Ayn tov ela Torah"- there is no good other than Torah. The "lo Tov" in this passuk refers to Torah. Meaning to say, man cannot reach the state of perfection which is required by the Torah, alone.

The passuk in Mishlei says: "Ki kol derech ish yashar b’eynav"- A man’s every way is right in his eyes. Human nature is such that a man doesn’t see his own faults. And when he receives criticism from someone else, he disregards it since he doesn’t believe that the other person really has his own good in mind. True, he does want to perfect himself and reach his potential, but alone this is impossible, since he does not see his shortcomings and does not know in which areas he must improve.

Thus, man is held back from achieving personal perfection.

Therefore, Hashem said, "E’eseh lo ezer k’negdo" I will make for him a helper against him.

Meaning - I will give him a wife, who will have two qualities. On the one hand, she is k’gufo, a part of him, and thus, man cannot suspect that she does not have his own good in mind. This is the meaning of Ezer, a helper. On the other hand, she is a separate being, K’negdo, and such, she can behold his shortcomings. The job of the wife is to use the quality of K’negdo, the fact that she is a separate being, as an Ezer -to help man perfect himself by pointing out his faults and guiding him how to correct them.

  • Sources: Yalkut Lekach Tov, from Zichron Meir

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In Loving Memory Of Our Father, Mr. Joseph Black (Yosef Ben Zelig) O"H
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