Project Genesis

The Chumash (Five Books of Moses)

Adam and Eve story

Adam’s Garments

Question: What were the heavenly garments that G-d made for Adam (Genesis 3:21)?

Answer: That is a great question that several of our Sages have addressed, and I will share with you some of their answers. Indeed, according to our understanding of the verses, Adam did not kill animals for meat and death had not yet come to the world. Therefore, it doesn’t seem that these were animal skins.

In the Talmud (Sotah 14a) , Rav and Shmuel attempt to give alternative readings for the Hebrew term “Katnot Or” (Gen. 3:21), often translated as “garments of skin.” One says that it should be understood as “something that comes from skin,”—which Rashi ad locum identifies as wool. The other says that it refers to “garments for the skin” (i.e. comfortable and soft for the wearer)—which Rashi identifies as linen. Regardless, it is not a reference to the skin itself.

Additionally, there is another opinion, quoted by Rashi on Genesis (3:21), that says that the garments were of material similar to human fingernails, and were closely attached to the bodies of Adam and Eve.

Finally, Ibn Ezra (Genesis 3:21) comments that, although it is difficult to comprehend the origin of these skins, G-d is all-powerful and can cause the garments to come about miraculously if that is His will.

R’ Daniel Fleksher

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