Israel: our substitute for the Garden of Eden

After Adam and Chava sinned by eating the fruit, their eyes were opened, they realized that they were naked and they made clothing out of fig leaves. They heard the voice of God and they hid among the trees of the Garden.

In Breisheet 3:9 we read: “HaShem Elokim called to Adam and He said, “Ayeka?” (translated as “where are you?”)

According to the Midrash, Breisheet Raba 19:9, God obviously knew where Adam and Chava were. Therefore, we shouldn’t pronounce the word “Ayeka”, “where are you?” Rather, we should vocalize it as a lamentation “Eycha”, “How did you change over from good to bad?”

Rabbi Abahu taught in the name of Rabbi Chanina, it says in Hoshea 6:2, “They (B’nai Yisrael) like Adam have transgressed the covenant; they have dealt treacherously against me.”

God put Adam in the Garden of Eden and commanded him not to eat from the tree. Adam transgressed and ate from it. God therefore punished him and banished him from the Garden of Eden so that he would atone for his sin and God lamented “Eycha.”

God brought B’nei Yisrael to the Land of Israel and commanded them to observe the mitzvot. B’nei Yisrael transgressed. As a punishment, God banished them to foreign lands to atone for their sins since they were no longer worthy of living in the Land of Israel. God lamented “Eycha” as it says in the book of Eycha (Lamentations) “Eycha yashva badad”, “How does the city (Jerusalem) sit solitary?”

We see from here that the banishment of the Adam and Chava from the Garden of Eden is similar to the banishment of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel.

How can we make a tikun (correction) for Adam’s sin? The best tikun would be for the Jewish people to return to the Land of Israel and take advantage of the opportunity to live in the Land that we were promised. Our ancestors were banished because they did not observe the mitzvot properly. Now that we have the State of Israel, the Jewish people can return to the Land and observe all of the mitzvot in the Land where they were intended to be observed including the Mitzvot HaTluyot Ba’Aretz (those commandments that only apply in the Land of Israel).