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Paradise (ERH 5778)

Love stones are usually about Young people sharing romance. This is a love story about older people who have shared a lifetime together and have come to understand what love and life are all about.


From the day Adam and Eve were exiled From the Garden of Eden, they lived together east of Eden, tilling the earth, raising children, and struggling to stay alive. After those many years of struggle, when their children were grown, Adam and Eve decided to take a journey before it was too late and see the world that God had created. They journeyed from one corner of the world to the other and explored all of the world's wonders. They stood upon the great mountains, trekked across the vast deserts, walked amid the mighty forests, and traversed the magnificent seas. They watched the sun rise over the endless wilderness and saw it set into the boundless ocean. All that God had created they beheld.


In the course of their journeys, wandering from place to place, they came upon it place that seemed so familiar. They came upon the Garden of Eden, from which they had been exiled on the very first day of their lives. The garden was now guarded by an angel with it flaming sword. This angel frightened Adam and Eve, who fled.


Suddenly they heard a voice, a gentle, imploring voice. God spoke to them: "My children, you have lived in exile these many, many years. Your punishment is complete. Come now and return to My garden. Come home to the garden. 


Suddenly, too, the angel disappeared. The way into the garden opened, and God invited them in. But Adam, having spent so many years in the world, had grown shrewd. He hesitated and said to God, "You know, it has been so many years. Remind me, what is it like in the garden?"


"The garden is Paradise!" God responded. "In the garden there is no work. You need never struggle or toil again. In the garden den there is no pain, no suffering. In the garden there is no death. In the garden there is no time-no yesterday, no tomorrow, only an endless today. Come, My children, return to the garden!"


Adam considered God's words. He thought about a life with no work, no struggle, no pain, no passage of time. And no death. An endless life of ease, with no tomorrow and no yesterday. And then he turned and looked at Eve, his wife. He looked into the face of the woman with whom lie had struggled to make a life, to take bread from the earth, to raise children, to build a home. He read in the lines of her face all the tragedies they had overcome and the joys they had cherished. He saw in her eyes all the laughter and all the tears they had shared. 


Eve looked back into Adam's face. She saw in his face all the moments that had formed their lives-moments of jubilant celebration and moments of unbearable pain. She remembered the moments of life-changing crisis and the many moments of simple tenderness and love. She remembered the moments when a new life arrived in their world and the moments when death intruded. As all their shared moments carne back to her, she took Adam's hand in hers.


Looking into his wife’s eyes, Adam shook his head and responded to God's invitation. "No, thank you," he said. "That's not for us, not now. We don't need that now. Come on, Eve," he said to his wife. "Let's go home." And Adam and Eve turned their backs on God's Paradise and walked home.


"It is not good/or human beings to be alone. " -Genesis 2:18


When Adam was first created, he was alone. God placed him in Paradise, in Eden, but he was alone. God soon decided that Adams solitude was a mistake. To  be alone, even in Paradise, is no way to be. Human beings need one another: We need one another in order to share life’s joys and sorrows. Sharing life, sharing love, is all the Paradise human beings ever need. It is Paradise even when it includes the sad and painful moments. Those are the moments when we truly understand the power of love to heal us and give us strength.


Edward Feinstein. Capturing the Moon: Classic and Modern Jewish Tales. Kindle Edition.

Wed, September 22 2021 16 Tishrei 5782