Parshas Acharei Mos – Kedoshim

Among the many mitzvos presented In Parshas Kedoshim is that of Orlah- the mitzvah of waiting three years after planting a tree to benefit from its fruits.  Many of the Rishonim suggest reasons for this mitzvah.  The Rambam explains that idol worshipers told people to bring their fruits as a sacrifice to their idols.  If they didn’t do this, the tree would not grow well in the future.  To counteract this myth, we are mandated not only to wait for three years before using the fruit, but also to destroy the fruit from the first three years.

The Imrei Baruch explains another reason that Chazal gives for the mitzvah of Orlah.  The Medrash connects the mitzvah of Orlah to the prohibition of eating blood.  Just as a person is able to delay eating from the tree for three years, certainly he should be able to wait to eat from an animal until all the blood has been removed.  The message of the Medrash is that the mitzvah of Orlah is to teach patience. If a person can exercise the patience to refrain from eating fruit from a tree for three years, this person will be able to perform other mitzvos that require patience.

The Imrei Baruch quotes the Ohr Hachaim who explains that the sin that Adam performed when eating from the tree of knowledge was due to a lack of patience.  According to the Ohr Hachaim, in Breishis 1:29, Hashem seems to allow Adam to eat from every tree.  If so, why did Hashem tell Adam that he couldn’t eat from the tree of knowledge after allowing him to eat from every tree?  The Ohr Hachaim explains that the test of Adam was only until Shabbos.  Once Shabbos began, the tree of knowledge would also have been permitted.

The Sifsei Kohen explains that Adam was created in the ninth hour of the day.  According to the Ohr Hachaim, the tree of knowledge would have been permitted at the 12th hour as that would have been the beginning of Shabbos.  Waiting three years to eat from any trees that are planted corresponds to the three hours that Adam should have been patient and waited before eating from the tree of knowledge.

The mitzvah of Orlah is a reminder that the first sin in the world was caused by a lack of patience, and it is for this sin that we continue to need to atone.