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March 20, 2014 7:37 am

Finding Our Own Garden of Eden (VIDEO)

avatar by Chava Tombosky

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Rambam's (Maimonides) grave compound in Tiberias, Israel. Photo: Almog.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish holiday of the New Year, corresponds to the sixth day of creation, and the moment when the first pair of humans were created. Indeed, Rosh Hashanah is Adam and Eve’s birthday. Eve also happens to be my namesake – for the Hebraic name Eve translates as “Chava.” I have often related to this Biblical character in more ways than one.

To many, the first woman in history is remembered for her grave sin, which caused all of humanity to deem her responsible for human suffering. And like my namesake, I have personally felt responsible for many of the things that have gone awry in my life. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child and I carry the weight of the world. Maybe it’s because my namesake deemed it so. Either way, it became evident through a series of events that I needed to see life through a different lens. If I was going to grow, I could not spend my life allowing myself to become a victim of my own fallacy of thinking.

What is the story of my namesake’s big sin that we are familiar with? She got hungry. She wanted to find something for her and her man to relish in, something exciting, something dangerous, something naughty – a bite of a fruit perhaps? I still don’t get what makes fruit naughty. But G-d said don’t eat apples, and of course that’s what they wanted to have for breakfast. Who knew that one bite of the tasty treat would change her entire world forever?

It seems pretty black and white. God’s commandment to Adam and Eve was, “From the tree of knowledge you should not eat, for on the day you eat from it you will die.” (Genesis 2:16) As a result of this little snack, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, and death and pain became the plight of human life on earth. (Genesis 3:14-24)

I have personally struggled to see the reasons behind and understand human suffering. Over the course of the last three years, I have lost a total of 10 people close to me. Five of them were family members. And I began to wish for those days where I believed in my innocence, as Adam and Eve had experienced in Eden. I longed for the days where the most difficult decision was whether to eat a piece of fruit or take a walk with a rhino.

I have sat with countless people in severe pain, and longed for the garden. And yet. The garden was so far away.

In the beginning of his work “The Guide for the Perplexed,” Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, Maimonidies, one of the greatest philosophers and personalities in Jewish history, raises a question in response to the most misinterpreted stories in the book of Genesis. That’s right, misinterpreted. In other words, Chava may have not deserved the bad rap she was labeled with.

“ŽAdam and Eve’s little snack from the Tree of Knowledge created an upheaval within humanity that not only banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, but created a world where death and pain became part of human existence. Yet at the same time, the knowledge that Adam and Eve acquired, although “¨burdensome, and although it took them out of their naive innocence forever, also enlightened them. Obviously, Maimonidies hardly saw this as a “black and white” story. For nothing ever is.

“ŽAs the serpent argued before he seduced Eve to eat the fruit: “G-d knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like G-d, knowing good and bad.” The serpent’s insight revealed itself. Following the eating from the tree, “G-d said, ‘man has now become like the Unique One among us, knowing good and bad.'” “¨As a result, Maimonides claims that the event that took place in Eden has become the GREATEST blessing that humanity could have been given rather than a curse. Suddenly human beings were no longer animals reacting to instinct, but creatures who rationalized between good and evil.

They were no longer living in a childlike state but rather they were mature beings with Divine knowledge and wisdom designed to reshape their existence – for the better. Like a caterpillar who struggles to extract his brand new shape out of his small cocoon, only to emerge as a beautiful butterfly, we humans have had our own metamorphosis and indeed we have become beautiful.

“ŽMaybe the enigmatic serpent is not a destructive force here to create desolation and sorrow but is G-d’s mysterious hand pushing us into the sea of life so we get the lesson that we are born with the strength inside all of us to prevail despite life’s difficulties. Maybe the apple signifies the sweetness of life with all of its dichotomies of good and bad, hope and despair, happiness and sadness, faith and fear.

Maybe Eve was meant to make her “mistake.” Maybe we can finally stop blaming her for humanity’s entire downfall. Maybe I can stop blaming myself. Can it be that Eve’s apple represents human fallacy, that her paradise represents human hope, and that her downfall represents human growth? Maybe we are all meant to fall from Eden. For after falling from Eden, we can learn how to pick ourselves up and recreate our own Eden elsewhere.

“ŽSet in the backdrop of an ethereal garden, my latest music video was produced by the incredible CWC (Classic Woman’s Club), a forward fashion blog founded by stylist Quela Renee. It celebrates, promotes, and creates a place for women to enjoy all things feminine and classic within the realm of fashion, art, business, and lifestyle.

Directed by up and coming filmmaker, Richie Goodwin, this new film is meant to inspire us back into the Eden of hope so we can listen to our own heart song.

The song, co-written with brilliant composer Marcos Moscat, is called “Trust” – because when we trust in the music of life’s complexity, the clarity of finding our lost innocence can only arrive in the form of song.

“Ž”Trust” is meant to empower those of us who have lost our voice, who have forgotten to trust ourselves in becoming our own leaders – especially through life’s struggles. We are all hardwired for connection, and it is through music that I have forged my journey into connecting with my audience.

For when two people speak it has the possibility of escalating into an argument, but when two people sing, it can turn into harmony. By tapping into each other’s heart songs, we can truly change the world and allow song to become our map to a more enlightened life.

Trust in your own heart song, thank you for trusting in mine.

Feel free to view the film below! Share it with friends and remember, never stop searching!


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