What was Adam missing? After all, he had everything – a female companion, food, a Garden of Eden surrounding him.
Last Shabbat at the Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem congregation in Montreal, Canada, I was given an answer. A daughter had just been born to a Bnei Akiva shlichim couple, and Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich, the congregation’s rabbi, delivered the following words as he blessed the baby girl:
“Adam and Eve did not lack anything. The entire world was theirs. Despite this, Parshat Bereishit ends in sadness. Humanity failed. Adam and Eve sinned, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and their son Cain murdered Abel, his brother. How is it possible?
“It’s possible because one thing was actually missing in their lives: parents. Think about it. We are talking about the only human beings in history who could not look up to the generation of those who came before them and learn from them.
“All of us need a family legacy that is passed down from one generation to the next. A baby who is born reminds us of this message from Parashat Bereishit: It’s a great privilege to be children who learn from their parents; it’s a great privilege to be parents who teach their children; it’s a great privilege to be a link in the chain of a precious family legacy.”