(from The Rational Bible: Genesis by Dennis Prager)
Gen 2:18 I will make a fitting helper for him
A literal translation is “a helper who is his equal.”
There is a brilliant tension in this description of the woman’s relationship to her man: she is both his helper and his equal. The Hebrew is clear, since k’negdo – even in modern Hebrew – means “equal to him.”
This description flies in the face of many traditional as well as modern views of a woman’s relationship to a man. The former reject the equality and the later reject the helper aspect. But this is the Torah’s view of the ideal husband – wife relationship. She is both his equal and his helper (assuming, of course, he is a man worthy of her help).
Furthermore, if we dissect the word literally, k’negdo means “as opposed to him.” This implies that the woman helps her man in part by challenging him (to be better). Every man in a good marriage knows how true that is. As my longtime friend, former presidential speech writer Bruce Herschensohn, once put it to me, “In the beginning God created man and critic.”
Finally, the word “helper” (ezer) in no way implies an inferior role. God himself is called an ezer more than a dozen times in the Hebrew Bible (see, for example, Deuteronomy 33:29, Psalms 121:1-2, and Psalms 33:20).
The Rational Bible: Genesis by Dennis Prager, ISBN 978-1-62157-898-7, eBook ISBN 978-1-62157-899-4, page 41-42. Regnery Faith, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, a division of Salem Media Group, 300 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington D.C., 20001. www.Regnery.com