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In the story of creation man is forbidden from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in a tree specifically?

  • What else grows food? – Double AA Nov 4 '14 at 3:38
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    @DoubleAA besides the fact that food grows from the ground as well as walking around, who said it had to be food at all? God could have said "don't smell the flower of the knowledge of good and bad" or "don't swim in the lake of the knowledge of good and bad" – rikitikitembo Nov 4 '14 at 10:52
  • food has a big impact on us ,eating non kosher is metamtem the heart,eating kodshim and the mann produced no waste it was pure food. Eating is what keeps the neshma attached to this world ,eating is one of the most gashmiyoas things one does so that keeps the neshama anchored in this world. – sam Nov 4 '14 at 16:27
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    +1. Note, however, that if it would have been the "lake of knowledge of good and bad," you would have asked why it wasn't a tree...... ;-) – MTL Nov 4 '14 at 16:35
  • According to the opinion that the fruit was a grape and many do regarding halacha ,kiddush,havdallah(the Shla) it makes sense why it was a grape vine , wine has the ability to bring out sod and has the ability to bring out the worst like sikurus of lot see also medrash tanchuma on Noach getting drunk. – sam Nov 4 '14 at 16:39
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Putting some things together:

According to the Nefesh HaChaim (1:6) and the Rambam (Moreh Nevochim 1:11), the result of the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was some level of the internalization and assimilation of the drive for evil.

R' Hirsch (Horeb ch. 68) explains in his discussion of the meaning of the laws of Kashrus that the act of eating something creates the internalization of that thing. What you consume quite literally becomes a part of you.

Therefore, it was specifically eating which most accurately represented what the effect of the "knowledge of good and evil" was.

  • I'm all about cross-referencing myself today. – Y     e     z Nov 4 '14 at 19:04
  • Interesting idea, +1. – MTL Nov 4 '14 at 19:04
  • see my comment above, I don't think this fully answers the question of why it had to be the fruit of a tree and not something else that is consumable – rikitikitembo Nov 5 '14 at 1:21
  • @rikitikitembo True, but it addresses half of the comment - "don't swim in the lake of knowledge of good and evil" (which got a good chuckle out of me) and the like. – Y     e     z Nov 5 '14 at 3:36

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