One Forbidden Tree

Part 1/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)
The story of Adam & Chava in Gan Eden comes first in the Torah because it is the story of us all.

by Yaakov from GYE (See all authors)

Mankind has been placed in a literal “Gan Eden” today. Most of us have good wives, beautiful and healthy children, nachas, parnasa, and all the comforts and conveniences of the 21st century. We have bathrooms in our homes, hot and cold running water, heating and air-conditioning, and plenty to eat. For the majority of people today, obesity is more of a challenge than having enough food! Yet in midst of this veritable Gan Eden that we live in, there is one beautiful and seductive tree that has become bigger than ever in the 21st century, of which Hashem tells us:'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.'

We also see from the words that the Torah uses, how the desire of the fruit was mainly in the eyes: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.”

When Hashem asked Chava why she had eaten from the fruit, her answer was: “הַנָּחָשׁ הִשִּׁיאַנִי, וָאֹכֵל”. Chazal say that she used a lashon of “ishus” because the nachash had seduced her with carnal desires.

The story of Adam and Chava is talking to each and every one of us, especially us on GYE. We have been given so much blessing by Hashem; 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat’, but we find that we are still not happy and want the forbidden fruit!

So how can we ensure that we don’t fall for the cunning snake’s seductions? Firstly, we must make Gedarim for ourselves, as the Pasuk says: “And the woman said unto the serpent: 'Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said: You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” Chazal explain that even though Hashem had not forbidden touching it, Adam had instituted a fence and told Chava that even touching it was forbidden. It was only because she allowed herself to break this fence that she ended up falling all the way.

We must also not allow ourselves to gaze upon the forbidden fruit, for this was the very thing that brought Chava to their great downfall; “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes”…

By humbling ourselves and surrendering our selfish “right” to partake of the forbidden fruit, we thereby declare our gratefulness to Hashem for all the good He has given us by letting us partake of all the delicious fruit of all the other trees!

And by staying far away from the forbidden tree, we are fixing the sin of Adam and Chava and bringing the world closer to its final Tikkun in ways that possibly no other Mitzva can do!