Originally, the Torah, the Law, comprised only two commandments. The first commandment that the Lord gave to our first parents Adam and Eve was in fact not even spoken to them as a commandment, but said over them as a blessing. “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground”
(Genesis 1:28). The first of God’s commandments to us was a positive commandment, and contained within it abundant blessings.
The second commandment was different. It was a negative commandment, the first of the ‘Thou shalt nots,’ and moreover, it was spoken only to the Man. Why is this? Well, Woman had not yet been pulled out of Man; she was still hidden within him. The mystery of the Two becoming One had not yet been revealed. In this first example of the Great Reversal that seems to meet us everywhere we look, the second commandment now becomes the first, according to time, and the Man and the Woman he bore within him must learn obedience before blessing.
But at the beginning there were only these two commandments:
“You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17), a negative commandment, God’s naked will revealed for Man, so he could know God’s mind as a child knows the mind of its father. And then, “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) and the rest of the commandment and blessing that is carried within it, when faithfully carried out: ownership, lordship, and mastery, of the outer world but, yes, of the inner world as well.
Following the two commandments, Man is created free.
This is not what happened. Before the second commandment could even take effect, the first was broken and, as scripture says, to break one commandment is to break them all. At the time, there was only one other commandment that also fell by Man’s disobedience: What should have been mankind’s glory thus became his shame, and the water of life in him became a poisonous spring, that everyone who has ever drunk from it has come to know and, against his will, fallen sick, irremediably sick, with sin and death. Thus the Physician of souls appeared, to save us.
Breaking two commandments, then ten were revealed to replace them and hold back, as much as possible, the flood of sin and death, but even these were broken, and could not effect the cure. Within themselves, within the Torah, the Law, was prophesied the coming of the Physician who would cure this sickness, death. But those who read the words overlooked Him, and instead they planted a hedge around the Torah to protect it: the Ten Words that God gave at Sinai were multiplied into six hundred thirteen mitzvot, commandments that no one could keep.
Finally, our last Parent was born of His Mother without a father, begotten by His Father without a mother, and the overlooked Physician became the rejected Messiah. A new Adam came seeking His lost Bride, a new Eve, though when He found the first of them—for they would be multitudes—she was His own Mother, who now became the new Mother of all living, whom He gave to His own beloved disciple as Mother, revealing for all time who He is, who She is, and who We are. And the Torah which He wraps around Him as a cloak because He is the only one who ever fulfilled all of it, He wears worthily as He stands before His Father and Our Father, interceding for us.
Having broken first two, then ten, then six hundred commandments, we have been delivered from our disobedience, and again, just two commandments have been laid upon us, this time both comprising blessing. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Glory to You, O God! Glory to You!