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Adam-The World’s First Ingrate

The episode of the banishment from the Garden of Eden, is very perplexing. Numerous commentators agree that the world would have been different, had that sin not taken place. Most notably, there would not have been a need for man to die, as his level would not have warranted it.

The Rabbis also point out that Adam was the first כפוי טובה, or ingrate, that was recorded. When asked by G-d why he ate from the forbidden fruit, he said that, “it was the woman that you gave me, that made me do it.” He belittled the gift of having a companion, and showed no appreciation for that gift.

It was suggested that the reason why Adam showed little gratitude for Eve, is that she was given to him, with no effort on his part. This points to a very strong human flaw. When things come to us without our having worked towards it, we tend to take it for granted. But when we exert ourselves with hard work and diligence, we appreciate what was achieved.

We are living in a generation of great affluence. It has afforded us with far more hours of leisure time, as well as far more money. The combination of leisure time and money, does not mix very well.

This explains the high level of depression, drug, and alcohol addiction. People don’t know what to do with themselves, and go astray in a negative way. Our children, who are given a high standard of living, with every luxury imaginable, are not coming out better, because of it.

We must stress the importance of הכרת הטוב, appreciating the good, and not taking anything for granted. We learned this lesson from the first man, and his huge mistake. We must be wiser and not repeat Adam’s mistake.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for more than twenty years. He has been teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach, Old Katamon, Jerusalem, for the nearly seventeen years. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles.