Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Did the earth have free choice?

For those learning Yerushalmi yomi, we just crossed the sugya in Kilayim of why the earth was punished for Adam's sin. One opinion says the earth was punished because the taste of trees (i.e. the bark) should have matched the fruit, but the trees did not do that. Another opinion says the earth did nothing wrong in growing trees, but was cursed as a function of its nurturing man who was now a sinner.
How could the earth choose to disobey G-d's command to taste like its fruit? The MaHaRi"L Diskin in his commentary on chumash is the only one I have found to ask this question. He answers that the tree was given a limited sense of bechira just for this event. (The simplest approach is to just take the idea allegorically. The concept here is that the ability to choose to disobey G-d's was already inherent in the beriya - see Maor v'Shemesh).