Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Which fruit carried the knowledge of good and evil? --Song of Solomon 2:13

"The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away." (Song of Solomon 2:13)

It happened once that Simeon and Anna were worshiping at the Temple when a young girl asked each of them which sort of fruit carried the knowledge of good and evil in Adam and Eve's days.

And Simeon said: it was a fig, a fig so light green it was almost white--but only just beginning to become ripe. The snake, said Simeon, had been watching the fruit. He knew that if he offered it too early, the man and woman wouldn't be tempted by the fruit, but he feared that if he waited until the fig was fully ripe, God himself would offer it to them.

So after he offered it to the man and the man refused, he waited. And when he offered it to the woman it looked so sweet and was so tender, she took it and shared. But as God himself had intended them to eat one day, the leaves of the tree had already been prepared to make their first clothes. And having filled themselves with knowledge, they also covered themselves in it.

But Anna said: it was a pomegranate. That's why God gave the pomegranate such a thick skin: in the beginning, it had to be protected even from the insects and the beasts. And when Satan showed it to Adam, he saw the hard skin and remembered the strictness of God. So when Satan showed it to Eve, he broke it open and she was startled by its beauty: and for this reason it is written: "and when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes." And when she ate, she could taste that it was good, and she savored it.

As for the knowledge of good and evil, it did not come all at once. No: with each seed of the pomegranate, Eve learned another difference between wrong and right. And even down to the present day there are as many seeds in the pomegranate as commandments in the Torah.

Then Anna went out in the court of the nations and bought a pomegranate and pressed it into the girl's hands and said to her: now go, sweet daughter of Eve, and study.

4 comments:

  1. interesting parallel to Persephone and Hades. was that on purpose?

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  2. I LOVE both figs and pomegranates! We grew both in our yard in San Diego when I was growing up. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Very cool. My favorite part: "he feared that if he waited until the fig was fully ripe, God himself would offer it to them." Both make excellent candidates.

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