As we enter the new cycle of Torah reading I want to share something that is very close to my heart with Bereshis. There are many things I could’ve covered but for this first part of the blog on the Parashas my wife said just keep it simple and short so I will attempt to be just that. Hopefully this is something that will give you new insight and maybe even a little spiritual strength.
One of my heroes Chaim Yediddiya Pollak has this to say “ Because the burden of guarding the Testimony rests upon me. I will stand my watch answering anyone who reproaches me for it. I belong to the assembly of the testimony. I am a Hebrew and I fear The G-d of heaven. I am a Jew and behold I observe the Torah, the written and the oral Torah. And my soul is inextricably bound to Yeshua the Messiah. He is my life breath, for he is my savior king.
This similar desire reached me through Bereshis and I hope to pass that on to you.
I was examining this passage in 2013 when a light bulb went off in my head. There were 6 positive commands given in Bereshis before even the fall of man as Christians say or as understood in Judaism before the evil inclination entered man. In Bereshis 1:26-30, 2:15-17 we see 6 positive commands 1) Be fruitful and multiply 2) fill the earth and subdue it 3) rule over the fish, birds ans creatures on the land 4) work the garden 5) guard the garden 6) eat of every tree in the garden and one negative command 7) do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
This struck me as something interesting I remember realizing many years later with the discovery that the Chassam Sofer also brought down that Hashem’s desire was that we should eat of the fruit of the tree of life for why else would he command us to eat of it- then to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That upon eating of that tree of life before the beginning of shabbos that the Messianic age would have begun there and then. That Hashem wanted us to first partake of that life and then have the knowledge of good and evil the order was immensely important! This line of reasoning helped me to harmonize the teachings of Rav Shaul in Romans 7 that talks about the law being such a great thing when it was to life. It filled me with joy knowing that as I had taken of that tree of life the law was and is a law to life and a joy to bear!
I have included the following passage from Chassam Sofer- "For the first man, destined for an eternal life, free from nutritional or health concerns eating could only be spiritual. Hashem did not merely permit the consumption of Gan Eden fruit he required it for Adam could reach his full spiritual potential only through that consumption. Moreover, the trees themselves could achieve their mission of sustaining spirituality only if man would partake of the fruit. Thus the Midrash is suggesting that by eating the fruits of Gan Eden, Adam was fulfilling Hashem's positive directive. In later generations, the essence of Gan Eden epitomized by physical nourishment leading to spiritual growth, was kept alive through the institution of sacrifice. A common thread between eating the fruits of Gan Eden and the institution of sacrifice is the notion of vicarious consumption." "In all probability, this prohibition was not absolute; Adam could have partaken of the tree of knowledge but only if he had first eaten of the tree of life, which bore Gan Eden's most spiritual fruit. Had he done so, shedding in the process any trace of the physical being he once was, Adam could have enjoyed the tree of knowledge. Even learning about evil would not have corrupted so spiritual a being.However, taken out of sequence, eating the fruits of the tree of knowledge would have and did have fatal consequences. Still a physical being possessing the sensual passion that grips man, Adam discovered evil as well as good. Understandably, his biological instincts were gripped by lure and lust of evil. "
Please see the hope and how this matches with what the Chassam Sofer states by Messiah's own teachings-
"For we know that the whole creation groans together and suffers birth pains until now— and not only creation, but even ourselves. We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Ruach, groan inwardly as we eagerly wait for adoption—the redemption of our body.For in hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. In the same way, the Ruach helps in our weakness. For we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Ruach Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows the mind of the Ruach, because He intercedes for the kedoshim according to the will of G-d."
This revelation was so important to my life I immediately began seeking the scriptures and the rabbis as to how to obey and have the privilege to carry the yoke of Torah once again. This is the meaning of my yoke is easy and my burden is light. In Matthew 5:17-22 Yeshua talks about the law being an absolutely needed thing- always existing from etertinity past to eternity future. It was a gift given to us by G-d to be enjoyed by G-d in the appropriate order- redemption and then law. I encourage you whether Jewish or Christian to contact us about either the tree of life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Both are needed and I would love your thoughts on this passage.