The Hebrew Meaning of ‘Deep Sleep’ and Advice for a Good Marriage

In the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, man was placed in the Garden of Eden, but he was there alone, so the Bible tells us the story of how Adam’s wife was created (she is later known as Eve):

“So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:21-23)

In the original Hebrew, the word for ‘deep sleep’ is ‘Tardemah’ {תרדמה} and it is a rather rare word which can only be found a couple of times more in the entire Hebrew Bible and only ONCE more in the Book of Genesis, in God’s covenant with Abram:

“As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.” (Genesis 15:12)

The Hebrew root of this word is ‘R-D-M’ {ר-ד-מ} and it describes the deepest stage of sleeping. That is why, there is no surprise to discover this Hebrew root is also used to describe a status of ‘coma’ (‘Tardemet’ {תרדמת} in Hebrew) and ‘anesthetization’ (‘Hardamah’ }הרדמה} in Hebrew).

Interestingly, this Hebrew word ‘Tardemah’ usually goes together with a passive verb from the Hebrew root N-F-L {נ-פ-ל} which means ‘to fall.’ However, if you take a closer look into the TWO biblical references, you will notice that in the case of Adam the Bible emphasizes that ‘God CAUSED the man to fall into a deep sleep’ while in the story of Abram it is told simply that ‘Abram FELL into a deep sleep’ – but in fact, in the original Hebrew it says ‘a deep sleep fell upon Abram.’

Why was it so important to emphasize that ‘God CAUSED the man to fall into a deep sleep’ in the story of Adam?


Well, the answer lies in the deeper Hebrew meaning of the word ‘Tardemah’ – which as we have already seen describes more than ‘just a deep sleep.’

The Bible tells us that man was lonely and God said ‘it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’

And that means man has genuinely have to have a strong connection to his spouse – it cannot be forced upon him.

Now, God ‘CAUSED the man to fall into a deep sleep’ which is actually some kind of a coma according to the original Hebrew, and that means man was completely blacked out and so could not have known that the woman was taken from his body – and his deep feelings towards her were genuine and so was his powerful connection to her and that is why man simply said what he felt towards his spouse:

“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” (Genesis 2:23)

In the next post I will discuss the deeper Hebrew meaning of ‘man and woman’ as can be found in the second chapter of Genesis. Stay tuned…