Today is December 19, 2018 -

Hollis Hills Bayside Jewish Center

A Jewish Community Built on Caring, Prayer and Learning

210-10 Union Turnpike, Hollis Hills, NY 11364
(718) 776-3500

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Shabbat Bereshit 5779

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“When the woman saw that 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). 
 
What kind of fruit was it? It’s amazing how apple-centric we have become, as inheritors of the Western European tradition. Some of us even have a bodily feature (laryngeal prominence) named for this fruit. That’s the Adam’s Apple. But the rabbinic tradition never even considered the possibility that the unidentified fruit was an apple. The three primary candidates in the Talmud (Berakhot 40a) are grapes, figs, and wheat.
 
Rabbi Meir said it was grapes, because its liquid form–wine–is the source of “wailing and trouble.” Rabbi Nehemyah said it was figs, because of the context in the story–they used fig leaves to cover themselves once they noticed they were naked. Rabbi Yehudah said it was wheat, because it is the taste of grain that gives children the ability to call their parents by name–that is, the tree of knowledge.
 
Which of these three do you think makes most sense, and which of the three leads to the best moral answer? I’ll share my thoughts on Shabbat morning.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Wise