Got to Wait

(Torah Portion Kedoshim) Got to Wait!

You finally plant a fruit tree and eagerly wait to see and sample its fruits. One day your child comes running in to the house and excitedly shouts, “I see fruits on the tree!”

You run outside, and there it is, a fruit has emerged!

Just as you are ready to sample the fruit, you recall a law of the Torah that tells us that the fruits of a tree during the first three years of its existence are called Orlah and are forbidden to be eaten or to have benefit from them! Then the fruit produced in its fourth year must be eaten in Jerusalem. Only in the fifth year can the produce be eaten anywhere and commerce conducted with them. The Torah guarantees us that if this law is observed one will see great blessings and rewards in the produce of his land.

This requires tremendous restraint on the part of the owner of a fruit tree.

Actually our commentators tell us that fruits produced during the initial three years are dangerous and harmful for consumption.

Let us explore this law a bit further.

Our leader Moshe conveyed this law to the Jews while they were traveling in the desert, stating that it only applied after they entered into the land of Israel. (However once they entered it applies outside Israel as well). Why did he have to explain that it only applies after they entered the land; after all why would one think this law would apply while the Jews were traveling in the parched desert where nothing grew?

Our Sages tell us that during the 40 years of travels in the desert, they were able to garden and plant trees. They irrigated using Miriam’s miraculous well, and produce emerged miraculously, almost immediately after planting, similar to what happened to Adam while he was in the Garden of Eden where produce emerged immediately!

Thus the law of waiting for three years was possible in the desert, but it did not apply, for if they would have to wait for three years to benefit from the produce they would never be able to eat any produce since they were continually traveling and moving about, not knowing if they were staying in place for three years.

The Talmud in fact links the laws restraining us from eating from the produce of the tree during the first years, to Adam’s sin. Now, we know that Adam was expelled from the Garden of Eden because he ate from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge.

This is an account of what transpired on the sixth day of creation of the world. In the first hour of the day G-d decided to create man. During the second hour G-d met with His angels regarding His plan to create man. During third hour He gathered earth from all the corners of the earth. In the fourth hour He mixed the earth. In the fifth hour He designed His mixture. In the sixth hour He completed the lifeless mold of man – a Golum. In the seventh hour of the day G-d blew life into man. In the eighth hour G-d brought Adam into the Garden of Eden. In the ninth hour G-d commanded Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. In the tenth hour Adam transgressed and ate from the tree. In the eleventh hour Adam was judged about his misdeed and in the twelfth hour he was expelled from the Garden.

One of our great Sages said: “G-d, look at the restraint that Your children have. Adam didn’t control himself from what was forbidden to him, for an hour’s time, while Your children wait three years until they eat from the fruit of their trees!

Our Sages point out, had Adam not eaten from Tree of Knowledge, then after the twelfth hour of the day, when the holy day of Shabbos descended, he would have been permitted to eat from its fruits and would have sanctified the day of Shabbos by reciting Kiddush upon a cup of wine pressed from the grapes of the Tree of Knowledge!

For how many hours did Adam have to restrain himself from eating from the tree of knowledge? Only three hours!

Commentators point out that the law of not eating the fruits of a tree during its first three years of existence correspond to those three hours that Adam did not restrain himself. Thus, by restraining ourselves for three years it serves to repair Adam’s sin.

Each Friday night we sanctify the day of Shabbos by reciting the Kiddush over a cup of wine, an act that symbolizes our desire to rectify and remedy Adam’s sin. Once this sin is corrected, G-d’s deliverance and redemption will arrive!

Wishing you a restful, peaceful and enjoyable Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid and Malki Saks and family