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Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge...

Rabbi Chaim TabaskyAdar I 13, 5774
359
Question
Watched your video on The Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge. I could see where it could be surmised that the Tree of Life was the one at the center of the garden, which makes good sense. However, I become confused during the conversation between Eve and the serpent. You indicate that Eve was mistaking the Tree of Life for the Tree of Knowledge because she points out that it is in the center. But, the serpent’s response is about the Tree of Knowledge which would lead one to believe there is a transitional gap in the conversation; otherwise, how could the serpent direct her to the Tree of Knowledge when she was mistaking the Tree of Life for the forbidden tree? Could you please clarify this?
Answer
Thanks so much for your question. It is important for a teacher to understand what is clear and what is not clear in the presentation of ideas. In my view, Adam told Eve that the fruit was forbidden, but did not give her any reason or explanation. She only knew the location of the tree (the center) but not it's nature. The serpent used that lack of information to identify the tree to her (correctly) but then to misrepresent HaShem's intentions in forbidding the fruit (i.e. the true reason is the protection of man from himself and not G-d's fear of man). The meaning of "center" switches from geometric center to center of concern. Eve, because she did not understand the nature of the fruit could only interpret center as a means of identifying location, whereas the true meaning is that the Tree of Life should be at the center of our experience. I hope this is clearer; if not please write again.
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