Hope you’re having a great day.
We just returned from New York where my wife spent the Shiva mourning period for my father-in-law, of blessed memory.
Thanks to all that sent condolences. We really appreciated it!
And may we only share happy news.
We’re about to begin the “Garden of Eden” story.
I wanted to share something that I find comforting when someone close passes away.
… Adam is in the Garden of Eden.
(His wife, Eve, has not yet been created).
G-d tells him not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.
“Because on the day that you eat from it, you will definitely die”. (Genesis, 2:17)
This presents a big problem.
If you remember the story, what happens?
Adam and Eve eat from the tree. And do they die?
They are banished from the Garden of Eden. But they don’t die!
Here is one way of understanding it.
… The premise of the question is a mistake!
If “death” means ceasing to exist? Here today, gone tomorrow?
Then Adam and Eve definitely did not die.
They continued to “live”.
But that is not how Jewish tradition sees death.
Death means ceasing to exist on one plane. But continuing to exist on a different plane.
A person is made of two parts. The physical and the spiritual.
The body. And the neshama, the soul.
Death means that the person is no longer part of this physical world.
But continues to exist in the spiritual world.
Because the neshama is eternal. The soul continues on.
… So when Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden?
They actually died.
They continued to live. But not on the same plane.
… So as much as we miss our loved ones, we can take comfort in the fact that they live on spiritually.
And the more special they were, the richer their “afterlife” is.
And when their memory inspires us to give charity or to do acts of kindness, they are spiritually elevated.