According to Avos d'Rebbe Nassan 1:8 and Sanhedrin 38b, Adam was brought into Gan Eden in the ninth hour, was commanded not to eat in the tenth hour, ate in the eleventh hour, and was kicked out in the twelfth hour.

Does this mean that had Adam eaten during the ninth hour he would have had the "knowledge of good and bad" without sinning?

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    I wouldn't be so sure these are actually each 1 hour long, and not just a description of the order of the events. There may not have been sufficient time to eat before being commanded.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 19:58
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    @DoubleAA If you can bring a source that it shouldn't be taken literally, that sounds like an answer.
    – DonielF
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 19:59
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    SInce he was forbidden to eat before he actually came upon the Aitz Hda'as, then he could not have eaten it before he was forbidden to do so. Note that the pasuk starts by giving him permission to eat. The implication is that he had not yet started to eat at all. Commented May 1, 2017 at 22:22
  • in a related vein to @sabbahillel 's comment, the double injunctive by the permitted fruit (Achol Tochel) is a familiar pattern used throughout the Torah to establish a positive command. So the Eitz Hadas was made forbidden at the same time as Adam became required to eat from all the other trees! I have heard that the sin was Adam failing to eat from all other trees before consuming from the tree of knowledge. Commented May 2, 2017 at 9:27

2 Answers 2


read somewhere that the whole knowledge of good and evil stemmed from doing against God's command. i.e. Adam needed to get a taste of sin to know it. so then if he was not yet commanded then it would have had no effect. (forgot the source for this)

  • If I understand you correctly, there is no concept of "good" unless there is an opposite to it ("evil"). This sounds logical, but, it then raises the question as to why, in the first place, G-d doesn't want humanity to gain this understanding?
    – DanF
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 21:23
  • @danf Rambam addresses this in 1st and 2nd chapters of Guide for the Perplexed. So does Ramchal in Daas Tevunos
    – gt6989b
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 0:03
  • @DanF because it is a very difficult and dangerous trial. God cant ask so much from man. read that somewhere also
    – ray
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 5:12

According to the idea seen here, they were supposed to eat from the tree once shabbos started. That being the case, eating from the tree only caused death due to the prohibition. This would seemingly apply before the command was given as well.

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