Bereishit 5758

Posted on March 23, 2011

by Ari Blinder

Parshat Bereshit is a section of the Torah we all know from our days at Sunday school. G-d created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Adam and Eve were tossed out of the Garden of Eden after they ate the forbidden apple. Cain kills Abel and then, hopelessly, tries to hide from G-d. The Parshah ends with a prelude to the story of Noah and the flood.

We know these stories so well, yet we often fail to look closer to gain a more profound meaning. For my D’var Torah I want to look at the story of Adam, Eve, and the apple again.

The apple came from Ha’eitz hada’at tov v’rah (The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad). G-d had warned Adam and Eve not to eat from it saying that “on the day you eat of it, you shall surely die” (Bereshit 2:17). Of course they did not die immediately, but after eating the apple they became mortal beings.

Also it says that after eating the apple “the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked” (3:7). The apple gave them both mortality and a release from innocense.

The part of the story that most people forget is one of the most interesting. G-d had planted another tree in the center of the Garden of Eden named Ha’eitz Chaim (The Tree of Life). After Adam and Eve ate the apple, G-d banished them from the garden fearing that they might also eat from the Tree of Life and regain immortality (3:22).

The Torah is analogized to a Tree of Life at the end of every torah service: “It is a tree of life for those who grasp it, and its supporters are praiseworthy” (Proverbs 3:18). Therefore, through the study of Torah, we acheive something very similar to eating from the Tree of Life. We don’t become immortal, but we learn the challenges of being mortal. Adam and Eve lost their innocense, but gained the ability to accumulate knowledge. G-d exclaimed, after Adam and Eve had eaten the apple, “Behold Man has become like the Unique One among us, knowing good and bad”(Bereshit 3:22). Through the study of Torah, Man can become even closer to G-d.

Keep this simple lesson in mind when studying Torah throughout the coming year.