And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Genesis 2:23 (KJV)
Have you ever defined yourself by your peers? For most of us, the answer is yes. I remember my High School days when my identity was established by the people with which I hung around. Even now, the community I congregate with, have become a large part of who I am. We’ve all experienced this sort of peer pressure in our lives and have taken from it, our identification.
This has been going on since creation, we aren’t the first to experience this, and we won’t be the last. In Genesis 2:23 we see that Adam shares in this peer association. Up until this verse man has only ever been referred to as adam, meaning man, or mankind. But in verse 23 this changes; Adam refers to himself as iysh. What caused this change from adam to iysh? Well like our lives, it was the introduction of another person, a peer which caused our identity to change. Adam sees Eve for the first time and completely changes his identification based on who she is. This is peer pressure at its finest.
But don’t jump to conclusions, this is actually good peer pressure. In Hebrew, the individual is defined by their relationships. It’s the community that establishes who we are. Adam understood this. His whole person and relationship with the Creator grew upon entering into a relationship with Eve. If the two greatest commandments are to Love God and Love your neighbor, then only now was Adam able to take part in the obedience of them both. His love for God would now be clearly seen through his love toward ishshah (woman). Adam, like the authors of the Tanakh, used the word iysh to identify the individual he was based on the relationships he had, similarly to other examples such as husband, man of God, companion, etc.
Who are your peers? How do they define you? Our relationships are important, they are the backbone of our community. We should allow them to define us and be willing to brush off our old nature to commune and break bread with others as one body in Yeshua.