17 To Adam He said, “Because you did as your wife said and ate of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ Cursed be the ground because of you; By toil shall you eat of it All the days of your life:
ul-a-DAM a-MAR KEE sha-MA-ta l’-KOL ish-TE-kha va-TO-khal min ha-AYTZ a-SHER tzi-vee-TEE-kha lay-MOR LO to-KHAL mi-ME-nu a-ru-RAH ha-a-da-MAH ba-a-vu-RE-kha b’-i-tza-VON to-kh’-LE-na KOL y’-MAY kha-YE-kha
3:17 Cursed be the ground because of you
The land is cursed ba’avurecha (בעבורך), translated here as ‘because of you.’ However, according to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, a prolific writer and leader of Orthodox Jewry in 19th century Germany, ba’avurecha means ‘for your sake,’ in order to rectify man’s actions. Following Adam’s sin, the land’s prosperity became a means of measuring man’s adherence to Hashem; for the Jewish nation, this means following the commandments and keeping God’s Torah. When they do so, Hashem shows His approval through the land’s flourishing. This is especially true in Eretz Yisrael. Scholars and historians alike note that while the Jews were in exile, the Land of Israel lay fallow and uninhabitable until they returned, and in just a short time the Jews of Israel, following the commandments set out in the Torah, have turned a wasteland into a blooming, prosperous country.