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Thought for the Day: Adam haRishon's Challenge

I am 6'1" tall; that is some number of centimeters, but I am American, not metric.  I like being 6'1".   I don't look down on shorter people, though I do (of course) have to look down to see them.   6'1" is tall enough to be considered "tall", but not so tall as to be a problem fitting through doors and whatnot (except when I was in Japan... then it was tricky).  The only time it has been a problem was when I was asked to put some cups away on the cup hooks.  I said, "What cup hooks?"  It turns out there were cup hooks under one shelf in one cupboard; I had lived there for years, but had never seen the underside of that shelf.

One of the most treasured advantages I have due to being 6'1" is that I don't have to stand on anything (besides the floor, smarty pants) do put up the sheet of paper displaying the of time of ha'neitz ha'chama (to the second, mind you) at the vasikin minyan here in Chicago.  Not only is that an advantage, since it is safer to put up the sign without having to stand on anything, I hold it is an obligation for me to put up that paper and not let other endanger themselves.  I am therefore able to use my height to fulfill the mitzvah of "v'ahavta rei'echa k'mocha" and "loh ta'amod al dahm rei'echa".  Depending on what HaShem expects of me, therefore, not putting up that sign (and therefore endangering other Jews) could actually be held against me in the beis din shal ma'alah.
In other words, I have a responsibility to use my height in my avodas HaShem.

Adam HaRishon could see from one end of Reality to the other.  He was so exalted that the malachei ha'shareis wanted to worship him.  Since Adam haRishon had no inner yeitzer ha'rah, none of that brought him to arrogance; it only helped to crystallize his own self-appraisal of where he was holding.  Adam knew he had been created to m'kadesh shem sha'mayim.  Moreover, he knew that he was the only being in the entire creation with that ability.  He was created as the pinnacle of creation.  All he had to do was "stay the course".

Adam knew only emes/Truth and sheker/falsehood; he knew nothing of the tov/good nor rah/evil.  That is, he saw no value in something that was False, no matter how pleasant; nor did he understand what fault their could be with something True, no matter how personally difficult.  The yeitzer ha'rah -- which was external -- come to Adam and said, "With all your exalted abilities, is it really possible that HaShem simply wants you to stay the course?"  There was really only one alternative, and Adam understood that very well.  If only he could decrease his clarity so that he could understand the concepts of good and evil.  Armed with that knowledge, his choice to remain True would mean so much more than now.  It would be a bigger kiddush HaShem.

For Adam haRishon to fail in even the most infinitesimal way from living his life al kiddush HaShem to the ultimate of his abilities would be the ultimate failure.  The snake/yeitzer ha'rah/satan/malach ha'mavehs had just shown him a possible way to make a bigger kiddush HaShem than just staying the course.  Yet, HaShem had told him to stay the course.  Yet HaShem had also told him "eis la'asos la'Shem, heiferu torasecha" (t'hillim 119:126) -- when there is a kiddush HaShem to be achieved, a gadol ba'torah may temporarily abrogate a halacha (as Eliyahu did with the n'vi'ei ha'ba'al and as R' Yehuda did when writing down the mishnayos).  Adam's situation fit all those criteria.

The only question was, would it make a bigger kiddush HaShem to stay the course or to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in order to make his free will choices have more impact?  Safer, of course, to stay the course; but that risks missing out on the opportunity to fulfill the purpose for which he was created.  Dangerous to eat from the tree and introduces the possibility of failure b'meizid -- verging on rebellion.

That is at least a faint echo of the challenge that our exalted ancestor and progenitor faced.


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