1. I don't see an objection to the fact that the animals of Eden have different diets prior to Adam's sin. And many animals eat fruits: mammals, birds, worms, etc, especially "the tree was good for eating and a delight to the eyes".
  2. The tree wasn't protected by any means.
  3. Animals weren't prohibited from touching its fruits.

Could animals, in theory, eat the fruit of knowledge, and what would happen to them?

PS. did the Serpent taste it before approaching the woman?

4 Answers 4


Ha-Nachash הַנָּחָשׁ֙ ate from עֵ֗ץ הַדַּ֨עַת֙ ט֣וֹב וָרָ֔ע Ets HaDaat Tov Va-Ra.

  • If Ha-Nachash did not eat from עֵ֗ץ הַדַּ֨עַת֙ ט֣וֹב וָרָ֔ע, then the serpent would not know how to lie with his tongue.

When did HaNachash eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? - When הָֽאָדָ֖ם was deep asleep in Bereishit 2:21.

If HaAdam had been awake to watch over Gan Eden for HaShem, the HaNachash would not have eaten the deceptive fruit of Ets HaDaat Tov Va-Ra which would have kept Ishah from being tempted.

  • As stated in Bereishit 2:15, Mankind was suppose לְשָׁמְרָֽהּ to guard it from each living thing נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה to keep Life in Gan Eden sacred.

The Chizkuni (Bireishis 3:1)says that the snake ate from the tree because it wasn't commanded in not eating from it, and gained the evil inclination. That's why the snake knew it was naked.

The Midrash Rabba tells us Chava fed animals after she herself ate from it except for the chol bird (Phoenix). That bird lives for 1000 years than burns itself and an egg hatches from the ashes. This Midrash explains why the animals became mortal, and also supports the fact that mortality came as a natural result of eating from the tree and not as a punishment, since the animals were not commanded against eating from the tree.

  • "and also supports the fact that mortality came as a natural result of eating from the tree and not as a punishment, since the animals were not commanded against eating from the tree" this isn't in the Midrash, but is your interpretation of it.
    – robev
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 11:09
  • @robev that is correct
    – Shlomy
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 12:42
  • Very interesting,
    – Al Berko
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 18:33

Genesis 3:6

וַתִּקַּ֥ח מִפִּרְי֖וֹ וַתֹּאכַ֑ל וַתִּתֵּ֧ן גַּם־לְאִישָׁ֛הּ עִמָּ֖הּ וַיֹּאכַֽל׃

...she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate.

Rashi there, quoting Bereishis Rabbah 19:5, says

גם. לְרַבּוֹת בְּהֵמָה וְחַיָּה:

The word גם, also, may be understood to include cattle and beasts (that is, that she gave to these and also to her husband).

The Sifsei Chachamim there explain the intent:

לרבות בהמה וחיה. דאל"כ למה נקנסה עליהם מיתה אבל לא היה כוונתה שימותו:

Comes to include animal and beast. [Rashi knows this] because otherwise, why was death imposed upon the animals? But her intention was not that they should die.

You see then that death was decreed on animals for eating of the fruit, implying they too were forbidden.

  • Or it was a natural result..
    – Shlomy
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 1:21
  • Why would the natural result of eating it be death? It's not the tree of death...
    – robev
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 11:10
  • In any event the Sifsei Chachamim says נקנסה עליהם מיתה, which is a לשון of punishment, implying they broke a command, and not natural consequence.
    – robev
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 11:12
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – robev
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 14:45

The snake was punished for enticing Eve. This seems like it was an AS IF the snake ate the forbidden fruit. For example, a person who robs the bank and the person in the get-away-car are equally responsible for the bank robbery. As for animals eating meat, Genesis does not record that they consumed meat.

Genesis 6:12 reads: ki hishchit khol basar et darkho al haaretz (G-d decided to destroy the world with a flood) for all flesh corrupted their way upon the earth.”

What is the meaning that humans and animals became corrupted? Bible scholar and rabbi Arnold Ehrlich, author of Mikra Kipheshuto, “The Bible Literally,” wrote that humans and animals began to eat meat. For example, fish eat worms. In the Garden Adam and Eve only ate fruits and vegetables. But since humans desired meat, G-d "allowed" Noah to consume meat, but the prophet Isaiah foresaw a time when the lion would lie with the lamb, a time when humans and animals would no longer consume meat.

  • The question isn't about meat
    – b a
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 12:01

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