By Rabbi Rafi Rank
Dear Mother Eve,
My apologies for taking so long to write this note. We realize that we probably should have written this thousands of years ago, but sometimes it takes people a long time to figure out the benefits of a specific act. You've been getting a bum rap over the apple snack for too many years, and we thought we'd just drop a note to let you know how much we appreciate your "sin."
First of all, the Bible never said you ate an apple. That medieval interpretation of exactly what you ate goes to show you how persistent misinformation can be. But this nosh on the fruit from the "tree of knowledge of good and bad," where would we be without that courageous act? We would really be no better than the animals who also cannot distinguish between good and bad. And what mother wants their children to act like animals! Your "sin" has allowed us to transcend the animal world through making decisions that are good-for ourselves and for others. What a blessing!
Of course, there is that small problem of you having transgressed the word of God. And that is a problem. Then again, are we not better capable of serving God knowing the difference between good and bad than had we remained in a state of ignorance? In retrospect, we are sure God would concede this point. God made a rule that was designed to perhaps protect us from the dilemmas, paradoxes, and moral anguish that so often accompanies a commitment to goodness. But having done what you did, you freed us to soar to the highest echelons of moral behavior as we deliberate the difference between right and wrong and decide which path to take.
Of course, let the truth be known, your action also allows us to sink to the very depths of inhuman behavior, and we have all seen that take place all too often. We apologize for our evil. But the very fact that humanity is capable of extraordinary evil, should make our stay on this earth all the more earnest-we must do everything within our power to encourage that goodness prevail and the will of God thus fill the whole earth as the lush vegetation filled your first home, the Garden of Eden.
So, Mother Eve, thanks. You are one gutsy lady. We owe our lives to you, but we owe you so much more. You placed responsibility in our hands. Your action allows us to control our own destiny. And although humanity does not always have the best record in making the right decisions, our understanding of the difference between good and bad allows us to do teshuVAH, repentance, and start all over again. And for that we must also be grateful to you. With Love, Humanity
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