Fruit of the Oops!: Bereshit 2020

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: How old were you when you first made a decision that greatly impacted the rest of your life? Were you aware of the importance of that decision when you made it? Do you wish you could have been a different age when you made it?

Our tradition teaches that Adam and Eve hadn’t been on Earth for more than 24 hours when they make the most pivotal decision of their lives:

The Pitch: “When the woman saw the tree was good for eating and a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable as a source of wisdom, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate.” – Genesis 3:6

Swing #1: “[Eve] originally thought that God warned against eating it because it was poisonous and bitter, but now she saw that it was healthy and delicious.” – Ramban

Swing #2: “After man’s disobedience … when he began to give way to desires which had their source in his imagination and to the gratification of his bodily appetites … he was punished by the loss of part of that intellectual faculty which he had previously possessed.” – Moses Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed

Swing #3: “[Eve] did not ‘tempt’ or ‘seduce’ her husband into eating, as Christian theology has maintained. She simply handed him some fruit to share it with him, and he followed, silently and unquestioningly, much like any man will eat the dinner his wife puts before him. Once [Eve] realized she was going to die, she gave some of the fruit to her husband so that he would not remain alive and be alone or take another wife. She also gave some to the animals.” – Judith S. Antonelli, In the Image of God: A Feminist Commentary on the Torah 10-11

Late-Inning Questions: Do our commentators seem to think of Adam and Eve as naive? If so, do they excuse their naïveté? Are we too quick to judge those who make uninformed decisions?

On-Deck at Temple Beth Tzedek: If you haven’t done so already, make sure to return any borrowed mahzorim to the Temple on Sunday the 18th between 10:00 a.m. and 12 noon. There will be another opportunity for you to drop off food donations for Operation Isaiah and, if you haven’t already, to get your flu shot.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of uninformed decisions, Astros manager Dusty Baker prefers to make his game-time decisions based on his gut, resisting data-driven strategies of sabermetrics. Baker has led five different teams to the playoffs but has never won a World Series. Might his record have been even better had he relied on statistics just a little bit?

Shabbat Shalom!