Mitzvah/Concept 95 Yom Kippur Part Two
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
The first negative commandment was also a prohibition on eating; “but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,
you must not eat thereof; for on the day you eat of it, you shall surely die.”1 Yom Kippur is our opportunity to repair the sin of Adam.2 We do not eat in order to fix Adam’s mistake.
It is important to note that the negative commandment was not the first commandment given to Adam. The first Mitzvah was; “Of every tree of the garden you must3 eat.”4 If God commanded Adam to eat there must have been benefit to God5 from Adam’s eating. Each food that Adam ate and recognized that it came as a gift from God, expanded God’s Presence in the world, just as we accomplish each time we recite a blessing before we eat. The negative commandment was to remind Adam that everything that Adam could eat was a gift from God. The negative reflected back onto the positive.
The prohibition against eating on Yom Kippur is a stark reminder that when we do eat and drink, we are being blessed by God. We can take this lesson of Yom Kippur and use it to infuse our physical lives with spirituality throughout the entire year.
1 Genesis 2:17
2 Abravanel Leviticus ibid
3 Most translations have; “You may eat.” However, the double wording; “Achol Tochail,” is usually an imperative command.
4 Genesis 2:16
5 See Chapter One: God’s Absolute Independence. God has no needs. There is nothing we can do for God. When we speak of benefit to God we mean that we are moving creation towards its intended purpose and the fulfillment of God’s Will.