What's the point of creating the tree of life if Adam was already immortal when created?

I can understand the tree of knowledge of good and evil, since Adam was lacking in this knowledge and if he eats from it, he acquires knowledge of good and evil. But what is the symbolism of the tree of life?

  • 1
    Do we know Adam was immortal when created? Maybe that was only after he ate from the tree of life.
    – Double AA
    Oct 10, 2012 at 13:06
  • he never ate from the tree of life. as we see, after the sin, Gd placing Cherubin to guard the path so that Adam never eats from it
    – ray
    Oct 10, 2012 at 13:22
  • so that Adam never eats from it...again! Why do you say he didn't eat from it originally?
    – Double AA
    Oct 10, 2012 at 13:23
  • 2
    @RaymondSebag What is your source that Adam was created immortal?
    – user1292
    Oct 11, 2012 at 16:01
  • 1
    @R.Sebag, I believe the comments above are not necessarily questioning the validity of your assumptions, but asking you to support them with evidence for the benefit of everyone who reads it and wants to know more.
    – Seth J
    Feb 27, 2013 at 15:09

2 Answers 2


The Rebbe Rashab explains in his Kuntres Eitz Chaim (Chapter 10): Kabbalistically the Tree of Knowledge refers to the Divine attribute of Malchus, and the Tree of Life refers to the attributes of Ze'r Anpin. Malchus is the source of the false feeling the world has that it is an entity which enjoys seemingly self-sufficient existence, as if independent of its Creator. Thus it is essential that is be a unity between the Malchus and Zeir Anpin which does not allow any nurture to the external forces. Adam’s sin was that he attached himself to the level of Malchus (The Tree of Knowlege) alone, and rejected the level of Ze'r Anpin (The Tree of Life). For when Malchus is taken alone, it is natural for the external forces to prevail. Therefore, the influence of the Tree of Life is also necessary. As the Mikdash Melech states in the name of Rabbi Chayim Vital, Adam should have first eaten from the Tree of Life, or he should have eaten from both Trees together, so that there would be a congruence of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. When this is accomplished, even the Tree of Knowledge will not provide a source of nurture for the external forces. On the contrary, it will refine them.

  • 1
    very interesting. do you know if there's a more "pshat" answer to this?
    – ray
    Oct 10, 2012 at 13:21

R’ Pinkas answers that death can come either through a killing agent, or because of not having a reason to keep on living. The Eitz Hachayim not only stopped death, it also gave a reason to live. He brings the story of the Chasam Sofer, who was sick after Sukkos and died at the end of Tishrei, who said that he had made it through the Yomim Nora’im well, but he didn’t do well on Hoshanna Rabba. If the psak is already done, but the ‘piskim’ are brought in on Hoshanna Rabba, why would he have died? The answer is, that even though there was no psak against him, he still needed the ‘piska’ of life to be delivered. He also uses this to explain “sifrei chayim vesifrei meisim psuchim lefonov”. This means that a person not only has to be mispallel to avoid being written in the sefer of misah, but also needs to be mispallel to be put into the sefer of chayim.

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