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Thought for the Day: Accepting Responsibility

Non-regulars at the vasikin minyan are oft annoyed that our "early" minyan isn't so early this time of year.  Right; we daven k'vasikin (like those who love mitzvos and want to do them the best possible way), not hashkama (early, for people who want to just get davening over with already).  So we have a ready answer.  When they complain to the gabai, he says, "Talk to that guy; he puts the time sheets up every morning!"  (That's me, and quite proud of it.)  When they come to complain to me, I say, "Talk to the isha chashuva who prints the time sheets!"  When they talk to the isha chashuva, she says, "Please direct your comments to the gabai; he is the one who gives me the list of times."  Chozer v'chalila, round and round; it's our way of playing "kol yisrael areivim zeh la'zeh".

What, exactly, was the sin of Adam haRishon?  It takes a lot of work to really understand even how he could possibly sin at all.  For Adam haRishon a statement from HaShem was a statement of reality.  Yes, he had free will.  I also have free will, but I am very unlikely to stop into a blast furnace; the stupidity and awful consequences are all to palpable.  For Adam haRishon, doing something againt ratzon HaShem was even more unthinkable than for my to walk into the raging fire of a blast furnace.  I've thought and thought, but finally came to the conclusion that to give any explanation in three or four paragraphs would have to be so diluted that it would be false.  So I won't.  (I would start with R' Dessler's ma'amar if you really want some insight into the what went into that fateful decision.)

What we can do, however, is to ask what the Torah wants us to learn from the events as depicted.  On that point their are lots of answers, and I would like to offer my own thoughts to that list.

It's not really a question why Adam ate.  The Torah tells us straight out: Chava gave it to him.  Do you check the kashrus of dinner Friday night?  In my family,  my wife is the expert; I ask her which hechshers are good.  The Kli Yakar goes further and notes that Chava was hand picked by HaShem Himself for Adam; there is no reason in the world Adam to suspect that Chava would feed him something forbidden.  Which is precisely what Adam answered, "the woman that You gave to me".  What's wrong with that?

Nothing would be wrong with that answer if there had been a question; but there was no question.  HaShem simply noted that Adam must have eaten from that tree.  Adam quickly jumps to his own defense (though none was required); meaning that Adam understood he had done something wrong.  So Adam looked for a scape goat; none other than HaShem Himself!  The S'porno explains the words "the woman you gave me" to be intended to shift blame back to the Giver.  What should he have done when confronted with the revelation of HaShem's knowledge?  He should have simply said, "chatasi" -- I erred.  Adam should have simply owned up to his mistake and admitted it.

That's a lesson I should try to learn someday.

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