- The tree is cursed with long destructive thistles
- Fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil
- The serpent deceived us by adding his corrupt teaching to Adonai’s Torah
The tree is cursed with long destructive thistles:
The Etrog tree has long thistles. Each branch has to be tied to protect the fruit from these insidious thistles that mar and disfigure the beautiful looking fruit with scars, stripes and blemishes. The citron, which is also associated with wisdom, has its origins in the Garden of Eden. The Creator had granted the first man and woman permission to eat of the fruit from all the trees, except from that of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they ate from it, they would eventually die. Adonai’s garden that was entrusted to Adam and his wife (there was no separate name for the wife of Adam until after she and her husband ingested the forbidden fruit) was full of every kind of tree with everything good for eating growing everywhere, plus the two extras: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and his wife ignored the first, but as we all know they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In B’reishit Rabbah 15:7 a discussion ensues as to exactly what kind of fruit it was that was eaten from that tree: According to Rabbi Abba of Acco (רבי אבא דעכו) it was the fruit of the “Etrog” (אתרוג).
רבי אבא דעכו אמר: אתרוג היה, הדא הוא דכתיב (בראשית ג): ותרא האשה כי טוב העץ וגו’. אמרת צא וראה, איזהו אילן שעצו נאכל כפריו? ואין את מוצא, אלא אתרוג.פ
It was the bite of the Etrog (citron), the externally beautiful (internally “ugly” but they could not see the deceit (poison of evil) that was hidden deep within the ‘insides’ of the forbidden fruit. Tragically, the evil that was hidden inside the forbidden beautiful fruit was ingested into the human soul. This “corruption” is what led to humanity’s expulsion from Paradise.
Fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil:
Insight #1. The Etrog, the Forbidden Paradise Fruit, is a symbol of both the knowledge of Good and the knowledge of Evil mixed together. This dual nature fruit is beautiful on the outside. However, it is bitter to the taste from the inside.
Insight #2. The Etrog is externally seen as good, a fruit of aromatic pleasure and visual beauty; however, internally it is experienced as evil, a fruit of wastefulness, with little moisture and much bitterness. Therefore, the Etrog is a fruit of conflicting character, a fruit that is good on the outside and evil on the inside. The hidden evil makes this Paradise Fruit a fruit of “Deception.” On the outside, the citron fruit’s beautiful external covering (skin) speaks of the Torah of Adonai. The covering of the fruit is a symbol of the knowledge of good. However, in the inside, the bitter tasting, dry, wasted flesh of the fruit speaks of Satan’s false anti-torah.
Insight #3. The Etrog possesses very little moisture even though its tree uses up an abnormally large quantity of water to survive (water represents the life of the D’var HaShem).
Insight #4. The Etrog, therefore, is a water waster. It wastes the life of the Word of Adonai; which are the gracious works of the Spirit of Grace and Truth. Consequently, the bitter, dry, inner flesh of the fruit is a symbol of what the knowledge of evil is all about (deception and waste; what is not the works of the Spirit of Holiness but the works of another). Therefore, the Etrog is a deceiver. Beautiful on the outside. Ugly on the inside. Life on the outside (that comes from the Holy One). Death on the inside (that comes from the evil one; not Adonai).
The Serpent deceived us by adding his corrupt teaching to Adonai’s Torah:
The citron teaches us that all that the Creator has made is good. However, it can be corrupted. Satan is the evil one who “corrupts” all things. Satan has brought death into creation through his adding to the Almighty One’s teaching his own teaching (his works, the business of teaching his lies mixed in with the truth of Adonai); as a means to enhance his ”own” influence (making a name for ‘himself;’ instead of glorifying the Holy One). Satan is in the business of deceptive marketing. He was a murderer and a liar from the beginning (Yochanan 8:44). Therefore, he mixes in his own impure oral teachings within the pure written Word of HaShem. Then after selling the two together, the evil one gradually “elevates” his dry, bitter teaching over the beautiful, aromatic teaching of the D”var HaShem. Summary: Satan (the Accuser of the brethren) is called the evil “one” because he is the author of “all evil.” His lies are inter-mixed with Adonai’s goodness and Truth. His teaching is “parasitical.” His teaching feeds off of the Righteous Father’s pure truth (emet). Our heavenly Father’s pure truth and life is deceptively used as a covering for Satan, who sells his hidden lies and false anti-torah of death by subtly and thoroughly looming and weaving his own wicked false teaching into Adonai’s true, righteous, and good Torah of Life (i.e. the errant, dry, bitter oral traditions-inventions of men supplant the truth of Adonai’s beautiful, perfect, inerrant-written Word).