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In Bereshis 1:11 God commands עֵץ פְּרִי עֹשֶׂה פְּרִי לְמִינוֹ however in the next pasuk where it happens we find וְעֵץ עֹשֶׂה-פְּרִי אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ-בוֹ, לְמִינֵהוּ. This discrepancy is explained by Rashi

עץ פרי: שיהא טעם העץ כטעם הפרי, והיא לא עשתה כן, אלא (פסוק יב) ותוצא הארץ עץ עושה פרי, ולא העץ פרי, לפיכך כשנתקלל אדם על עונו נפקדה גם היא על עונה ונתקללה:

  1. How can inanimate objects "choose" not to follow the will of their creator?
  2. Why didn't they just do what God commanded?
  3. If they really didn't do what God commanded how can the pasuk say: וַיְהִי-כֵן or וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים, כִּי-טוֹב if that isn't true?
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Something I've always found interesting: The only tree (that I know of) where we actually eat the tree itself is the palm tree. Specifically the Heart of plam. The date palm (i.e. lulav tree) is not typically used for heart of palm (because it kills the tree), but it can be. –  Ariel Dec 28 '12 at 10:35

1 Answer 1

Ohr HaChaim asks this question, how can inanimate objects disregard a heavenly command, and they do not even have a evil inclination? Ohr HaChaim answers that the trees misunderstood Hashem's will thinking that Hashem meant two different types of trees. Ohr HaChaim finishes off saying that he will explain elsewhere why the trees got cursed if it was a misunderstanding.

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I don't think that really answers the question it just kicks the can down the road - how can inanimate objects "misunderstand" God? It also doesn't explain why the pasuk says "it was so" when it wasn't. The Alshich also offers a similarly perplexing solution –  user2110 Dec 27 '12 at 16:39

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