The Tree of Life—Two Years Later

Genesis tells us there were two trees in Eden: the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. Whereas Adam and Eve were punished for eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Life remained untouched, and, according to scripture, is guarded by angels with flaming swords to this day.

Two years ago, in one of the deadliest acts of anti-Semitism in U.S. history, a madman slaughtered 11 worshipers and wounded seven more at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. As hate crimes against Jews in the U.S. continue to rise we remember those who perished at prayer at the Tree of Life.

Tree of Life synagogue
Photo by Brendt A. Petersen/

Jewish tradition tells us that when Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden, Adam begged for mercy, asking God to grant them one taste from the Tree of Life that they may live forever. It is said that the angels interceded on their behalf, pleading their case for an hour before God, relenting, answered Adam, “I shall not let thee eat of the fruit, but lead a pious life, serve Me by serving others, and thou and thy descendants shall be granted eternal life and return to Paradise.”

May the pious who lost their lives while at prayer be granted a taste of the Tree of Life and eternal life in Paradise.


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