Avot d'Rabbi Natan 1:11


מסכתות קטנות מסכת אבות דרבי נתן נוסחא א פרק יא ד"ה אהוב את

Original Text:

רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר אף אדם הראשון לא טעם כלום עד שעשה מלאכה שנאמר ויניחהו בגן עדן לעבדה ולשמרה וגו' מכל עץ הגן אכול תאכל (בראשית ב' ט"ו וט"ז


Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar said: “Even Adam did not taste food until he had performed work, as it is said, ‘Adonai God took the human and placed him in the garden of Eden to till it and preserve it’ (Gen. 2:15). Only then do we read, ‘From every tree of the Garden you may eat’ (Gen. 2:16).”
[This text was compiled by Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon, Marcelo Bronstein and Felicia Sol of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York, NY, for Rabbi Matalon’s teaching on the American Jewish World Service Rabbinical Student Delegation. Their work was based on and inspired by The Dignity of Difference by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Why did Adam have to work before he could eat? How can we put that value into our everyday lives?
2. Does everyone in the world receive food in proportion to the work that they do? What might this text teach us about our responsibility towards those people?
3. What does Adam's command to "preserve it" teach us about our relationship to the earth and the food we eat?

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Related Texts:
Related Sourcesheets:Service and Volunteerism, A Jewish Context for our Work at the ARK, 8th Grade NOLA Trip: , A Jewish Approach to Food Justice

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