In Bereishis God places Cherubin to guard the path to the tree of life so that Adam does not eat from it.

There's only one other place where we find the Cherubin - on the ark. Inside the ark was the torah, and the torah is called a tree of life. Yet, here God wants us to take from it.

so what's going on? is the tree of life good or bad?

  • 3
    This question would be more valuable if you edit in citations of verses for Cherubim and for the phrase "tree of life" with respect to Torah. Also, aren't the Cherubim really a side point to the core question, which seems to be "Why are two things called 'Tree of Life', where one is forbidden and the other is encouraged?"?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 22:31
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/20653/…
    – Michoel
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 23:40
  • brought the cherubin to show the two trees are closely related. the main question is as I wrote. thanks
    – ray
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 6:07
  • Here's a class from Rabbi YY Jacobson, in which he discusses the connection between the Cherubs on the Ark and the Cherub guarding the Garden of Eden. theyeshiva.net/Video/View/70/… -- from the Summary: "What did these two golden winged cherubs (Keruvim) look like? Rashi says: “Each of them had the face of a young child.” Yet in the third chapter of Genesis, Rashi translates the word Keruvim as “angels of destruction.” How do we reconcile this striking paradox? "
    – Menachem
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 6:50
  • Similar: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/246/101
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 21:03

2 Answers 2


In the discourse "Bila Hamaves Lanetzach" (printed in Sefer Hamamorim Melukat vol. 2 pg. 277) the Lubavitcher Rebbe presents the following question: Before the sin of the Tree of Knowledge man was supposed to live for ever. It was only as a result of the sin that death was introduced to the world. If so why did G-d banish Adam from the Garden of Eden, "Lest he stretches out his hand and takes also from the Tree of Life and eat and live forever." Being that the original intention was eternal life, why was G-d worried that man would restore that?

He explains that before the sin, evil and good were two completely seperate concepts. The sin of eating from the tree of Knowlege caused the two to become mixed together, such that no good exists without bad, and no bad exists without good. Now if man would live forever, the bad within him would too. It was necessary for there to be death in the world to ensure that evil would not exist forever.

To answer your question: The Tree of Life was not bad. Rather, after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge it would have been a bad thing for man to eat from it.


Rav Hirsch says that the keruvim both prevented Man from reaching the Tree of Life and protected the path to the Tree of Life so that when it was the proper time, it would still be available to Man. He explains that the way to the Tree of life is still available to Man, but he must first learn how to find his way back to Hashem in order to earn it.

... to protect the way to the tree of life so that Man shall not find it, but it can also mean, to protect and preserve the way so that it shall not be lost for mankind, so that he will be able to find it again, and ultimately go back to it.

Rav Hirsch points out that the keruvim and the sword are indicators of Hashem setting up the method by which man can find the way to restore the original meaning of the world.

Hashem severed His direct contact with Man, but He took steps - established the Keruvim and the Sword - to keep the way open back to the Tree of life.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .