The Torah begins with a detailed, day-by-day account of G-d creating the world and man. Then the text is interrupted, it seems, by a few seemingly out-of-context verses (mentioning a river flowing out of Eden which splits into four sub-rivers) before it resumes discussing humanity, our duty in this world, and the famous scenes of Adam, Eve and the snake in the Garden of Eden.
Why the interruption?
The Malbim explains that the single river that flows out of Eden represents the one straight path in life. This is the path of Torah, the path of Hashem’s loving guidance for us. It is the path that ultimately gets us back to the Garden of Eden and the World-to-Come. When it splits into four, three other “paths” – those of jealousy, desire, and honor – become possible.
In our world, they seem appealing, but these paths take us in the wrong direction, ultimately out of this world – and the next.
G-d’s path is one of giving, not taking. It isn’t always the easiest path, but it brings happiness, satisfaction, peace – and eternity.
In this masterful work, sequel to the best-selling Afterlife: The Jewish View (Mosaica Press, 2014), Rabbi Sholom Kamenetsky’s teachings are made accessible through the words and descriptions of his student, Jonathan Morgenstern.
In this fascinating work, we embark on G-d’s path – the path of giving.