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Near the beginning of the Torah, in parshat Breishit we see that G-d exiled Adam from the Garden of Eden because he was worried that Adam would eat from עץ החיים - the tree of life (Ber 3,23).

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ה"א הֵ֤ן הָֽאָדָם֙ הָיָה֙ כְּאַחַ֣ד מִמֶּ֔נּוּ לָדַ֖עַת ט֣וֹב וָרָ֑ע וְעַתָּ֣ה ׀ פֶּן־יִשְׁלַ֣ח יָד֗וֹ וְלָקַח֙ גַּ֚ם מֵעֵ֣ץ הַֽחַיִּ֔ים וְאָכַ֖ל וָחַ֥י לְעֹלָֽם׃

And the LORD God said, “Now that the man has become like one of us, knowing good and bad, what if he should stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever!”

Yet, Proverbs 3:18 refers to the Torah as an עץ חיים.

So, it seems that the Torah forbade man to use it or learn from it. Essentially, the Torah forbade itself. Why?


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closed as off-topic by msh210 Mar 23 at 22:11

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  • @ba Hmmm ... Good point. I modified the question. Thanks. – DanF Mar 10 at 21:40
  • The question seems to be too real to be funny.... Did you think of it yourself? – Al Berko Mar 10 at 22:25
  • @AlBerko Yes, I did. Many years ago, as a matter of fact. That's one of the problems of studying "too much" Gemarah. – DanF Mar 11 at 0:03
  • It says you can’t eat the Torah, not you can’t use or learn it. I would edit that – Lo ani Mar 11 at 5:42
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As you can see from meseches yoma (daf 74a), it’s an amoraic argument:

חצי שיעור רבי יוחנן אמר אסור מן התורה ריש לקיש אמר מותר מן התורה Half a portion (eaten) from the Torah, Rabbi Yochanan prohibits, and reish Lakish permits.

But if you look in the Ramba”m, he also speaks about it:

וְכָל הָאוֹכֵל מֵהֶם כְּזַיִת לוֹקֶה מִן הַתּוֹרָה: Anybody who eats a k’zayit (of them) of the Torah, gets whipped.

This p’sak fits with Rabbi Yochanan, as a portion usually refers to a k’beitza, and a k’zayit is half a k’beitza, so when Rabbi Yochanan says ‘half a portion’, it means a k’zayit.

And as we can see here: https://www.ou.org/torah/halacha/hashoneh-halachos/fri_02_24_12/ A Torah missing even one letter is passul, and if you eat from the Torah, you’ll obviously eat a couple of letters, making the Torah passul. Sources: sefaria, https://www.halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Reference_of_Measurements_in_Halacha#Kezayit

  • Does this answer the question? The OP asked why, not if we hold like this. – DonielF Mar 11 at 6:32
  • There you go. I’m not sure I should delete the whole answer, though. – Lo ani Mar 11 at 6:42
  • 1
    Certainly not. Now it’s an excellent answer to the question as presented. – DonielF Mar 11 at 6:51

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