Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
It’s one of our world’s most perplexing problems: evil does not always appear to be evil, and good does not always appear to be good. 500 years ago, Rav Avraham Saba in his book Tzror Hamor (Bundle of Myrrh) explained why in this week’s Torah portion Eve ate the forbidden fruit. “And the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable for making one wise; so she took of its fruit, and she ate, and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate”. (Genesis 3:6) The tree seemed so desirable and good, how is it at all possible to think that it was a serious sin to eat its fruit? If the fruit on that tree had a bad smell, if it was repellent and disgusting, it would have been easier for her not to be tempted. But how is it possible to distance oneself from a tree with such wonderful fruit?”
This is a crucial point and not only in parashat Bereishit. From then until today, we are easily fooled. A chocolate cake and ice cream are more tempting than a carrot and a cucumber, but what is better and healthier for us to eat? We warn children about “bad people,” but unfortunately people who appear to be good can turn out to be bad. It’s much more pleasant, comfortable, attractive, and fun to walk around without a mask and hug everyone, but what we should be doing is also clear to us.
From the Garden of Eden until this moment in time, we are engaged in a struggle not to be confused by external appearances and disguises, but to learn how to choose between what is truly good for us and what is not.