This week we start reading the Torah from the beginning. The first book of the Torah, Bereishit, is also the name of the first parsha. The stories in Bereishit are the ones everyone knows: creation, Noah and the flood, the Tower of Babel, and the journey of Abraham and his family.
This week we read about Adam and Eve. God creates a paradise for them but warns them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Curious and tempted, of course they eat the fruit. In that moment, they become aware of their nakedness and lose their innocence.
I've always thought that this story is a beautiful metaphor for parenthood. We want to provide our children with everything they need to be happy and healthy and safe. We want to shelter them from the harsh realities of the grown up world. But, ultimately, we can't. Our children grow up, explore, take chances, make mistakes. They become their own people and -- eventually -- leave home. It's sad for us, even though we always knew it was inevitable.
I've always imagined God as the parent here. God realizes God wouldn't always be able to protect and shelter the human souls God had lovingly created, and therefore God lovingly lets them go when the time comes for them to live their own lives. Letting go of our children, whether it's to attend preschool or leave for college, is hard. It's sometimes sad. But it's what we do because we love them.