Sharona Margolin Halickman

Adam couldn’t wait for Kiddush

Photo Courtesy Sharona Halickman

We read in Breisheet 2:16-17:

And God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you are free to eat; but as for the tree of knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat of it; for as soon as you eat of it, you shall die.”

In Midrash Rabba 25:2, Rabbi Yehuda ben Pazi teaches us that Adam was not able to follow God’s commandment for even one hour.

We learn in the Talmud, Sanhedrin 38b: In the ninth hour (of the Friday of creation), Adam was commanded not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. In the tenth hour, he sinned (he ate from it). In the eleventh, he was judged. In the twelfth, he was expelled and left the Garden of Eden, as it is stated: “But man abides not in honor; he is like the beasts that perish” (Tehillim 49:13). Adam did not abide, i.e., sleep, in a place of honor for even one night.

Midrash Rabba continues: And behold, your children, Israel are able to hold back and wait three years to eat from a new tree, observing the mitzvah of Orla.

Rabbi Huna said: When Bar Kafra heard what Rabbi Yehuda ben Pazi taught, he said: Rabbi Yehuda taught well. As it says (Vayikra 19:23): “When you enter the Land and plant any tree for food, you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden for you, not to be eaten.”

Three years it shall be forbidden for “you”. You know not to eat from the tree and can restrain yourselves as opposed to Adam who could not hold himself back.

The Jewish people’s observance of three years of Orla is a tikun (correction) for the three hours that Adam should have patiently waited to eat from the tree.

Or HaChayim explains that according to the midrash, all Adam had to do was to wait until the advent of Shabbat to eat the fruit. At that point he would have been permitted to recite Kidush over the wine. This follows the view that grapes were the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

In order to make a tikun for Adam’s sin, we have to have patience. We can only make Kiddush when it is Shabbat. If we plant a tree, we can’t eat the fruit for the first three years. In the fourth year the fruits could only be eaten in Jerusalem. Only in the fifth year were the fruits permitted to be eaten everywhere.

May we start the new year with a lot of patience!

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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