Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Parshat Bereshit
24 Tishrei 5772 / Oct. 21 – 22, 2011
Bereshit 1:1 – 6:8

Living with Intention
by Aviva Tabachnik, MH West-Coast Regional Director

In the first book of the Torah, Bereshit, G-d created the world and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, the first human beings, were given the gift of life and the gifts of the garden. But perhaps, the ultimate gift was of intelligence, curiosity and free will as well.

Eve disobeyed G-d and ate from the forbidden tree of knowledge. Often the disobedience of Adam and Eve is seen as an act worthy of punishment. It is used as an explanation for the difficulty women have had in childbirth and it is said that humankind's struggles in life could have been averted if only Adam and Eve had not disobeyed G-d.

And yet, curiosity is a major component of intelligence and demonstrates that truly the human animal created by G-D is unique among the other inhabitants of the garden. Maybe this is meant to be seen as the first lesson for future generations to learn from. G-d said, "Behold Man has become like the Unique One among us, knowing good and bad…”.

Personally I view this as a gift of consciousness rather than as punishment. In exercising their free will, Adam and Eve have given us the gift by example of taking each step in our lives with intention.
As we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we reflect our actions over the past year and wait to see if our fate is sealed in the Book of Life. We examine our lives and take responsibility for those actions not in keeping with our best intentions. We acknowledge our free will and meditate on our behavior and actions.

A long time ago the Tree of Knowledge provided us with abstract reasoning and emotion, and now it is our time to reflect and evaluate whether we have stepped with our best foot forward or have given into our anger, fears or greed. Have you been living like Adam and Eve, before they ate from the tree, naive about your surroundings? Or have you been living an intentional life?


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