First read the instructions!

Adam and Eve were allowed to eat from all the trees in the Garden. Except for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were told that death would ensue if they ate from that tree. Of course, they go right ahead and eat from the forbidden tree.

But if that is what they intended – wouldn’t it have been wise to first eat from the Tree of Life in the centre of the Garden? Presumably, that would ensure that they would stay alive even after eating from the Tree of Knowledge. That’s why the S.W.A.T. team puts on their bullet-proof vests before going out on a mission. Just makes sense.

Is there a lesson here for us?

The Tree of Life represents the Torah. Torah means instruction. We call it “Torat Chaim” – instructions for living. Instructions lovingly provided by Hashem for us to navigate our lives.

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is basically knowledge through trial and error. We convince ourselves that we don’t need to read the instructions. We’re pretty clever people and can figure things out by ourselves. Isn’t this the case? How many people ever read the 60-page instruction manual to their food processor before using it? Or the 300-page book for their car before driving it?

How many couples do any studying about what it takes to have a good marriage before the big day? It seems that it would make a lot of sense to read a few books on the topic. Perhaps interview a few people who have great marriages to get some advice. But I suspect that our typical young couple just plunges into their nuptials assuming they’ll be able to figure it all out by themselves.

That was the mistake of Adam and Eve. They ignored the Tree of Life and went right for the Tree of Knowledge. The take-home lesson for us is not to repeat their mistake. Realize that our Creator provided us with the instruction manual for life. It would be a great idea to carefully study it as often as possible.

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