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Our great challenge: To practice patience

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Delayed gratification. It is one of humanity's greatest challenges. Rav Ayal Vered writes that Adam's primary sin was lack of patience – the inability to restrain himself from eating from the Tree of Knowledge. What's the solution?

As opposed to our tendency towards impatience and in contrast to our desire to eat the fruit "here and now," the Torah commands us in this week's Torah portion to wait three years from the time we plant a tree to partake of its fruit: "When you shall come to the land and you shall plant any fruit tree… for three years it shall be forbidden to you; it shall not be eaten". These three years are meant to atone for Adam's sin – the sin of impatience.

Even someone who is not a farmer and does not grow fruit trees can extract meaning from this mitzvah and integrate its message into daily life. Each time we choose to be patient – whether waiting for a tree to grow, waiting for an answer that should have arrived by now, waiting for a traffic jam to end, waiting for our turn to come in the line at the supermarket, or waiting for a friend who moves slower than us -- we help repair something in creation, stemming from Adam, that needs to be fixed. In so doing, we take another step towards rectification of the world.


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