“These are the creatures that you may eat from among all the animals that are upon the earth.” (Leviticus 11:2) These words echo the first commandment given to Adam in the Garden. Although most will say that the first Mitzvah was to prohibit Adam from eating of the Tree of Knowledge, in fact, the first was actually to eat! “Of every tree in the Garden you may freely eat,” (Genesis 2:16) is more accurately translated, as “you must eat!”
God wanted Adam to eat from every tree in the Garden. He wanted Adam to taste the incalculable assortments of fruit. God wanted Adam to experience the countless expressions of love in creation.
“God will judge us for everything we could have tasted and did not; “Why did you not take advantage of all that I created for you?” (Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin)
“Eat,” God says, sounding like the stereotypical Jewish mother. “Experience and enjoy all that I created for you.”
We become so wrapped up in the laws of what we may not eat that we forget that the first Mitzvah was and is, to eat and enjoy God’s creation.
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