Was the Man’s Rib Stolen?

The Holy One, blessed be He has endowed women with a special sense of wisdom which man which lacks. (Niddah 45a) A rabbi’s daughter addressed the accusations of a Roman Emperor.

The Roman Emperor once summoned to Rabban Gamliel and accused: “Your G-d is a thief. For it says, ‘G-d cast a deep sleep upon the man [Adam]… and He took one of his ribs’ (Genesis 2:21).” Rabban Gamaliel’s daughter said, “Leave him to me and I will answer him.” Turning to the emperor she said, “Give me a judgment to avenge a wrong that was done to me.” “State your case and I shall judge” asked the emperor. Rabban Gamliel’s daughter stated “Thieves broke into our house last night and stole the silver, but they left a gold in its place.” The emperor shot back, “I wish that such thieves would come to us every day!”   Said R. Gamliel’s daughter to the emperor, “Was it not better for the man (adam) that G-d took one rib and gave him a wife who takes care of him? Is not a woman far more precious as it is written: ‘A woman of valor, who can find? For her value is far above rubies. (Prov. 31:10)”

The Emperor thought for a moment and asked: “If what you say is true, then why didn’t G-d take the rib from the man (adam) openly? Why did He put the man to sleep and take the rib like a common thief?” Rabban Gamliel’s daughter answered: “give me but one day and I shall answer you question and grant me the privilege of preparing a fine meal for you”

The Emperor looked at the girl and decreed: Very well then tomorrow I expect an answer from you.” Rabban Gamliel’s daughter reqwuested: “Bring me a fine young calf suitable for the Emperor.” When they brought her the calf, she slaughtered it, skinned it, removed the guts, then placed it upon a spit and roasted it with savoury herbs. After it was finished cooking, she took it out and offered it to the emperor to eat. “It is disgusting,” said the emperor. She replied, “By the same token, The woman would have been repulsive to the man if he had seen where she was taken and how she was formed.”

Based on Sanhedrin 39a.

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

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One Response to “Was the Man’s Rib Stolen?”

  1. I like the story – but it had never occurred to me to think that G-d stole the rib from the man! God had just recently made the man and did not the man, not having yet rebelled, belong to G-d? I just assumed the deep sleep was a natural anesthesia! There is a saying that woman was not taken from man’s foot to be under him, nor from man’s head to be above him, but from his rib that woman might be as close to him as his own heart and breath, and so that the two might walk side by side… Karen