I’ve always wondered what life was like for Odom and Chavah in Gan Eden. The weather was just right, not too hot or cold. They were surrounded by beautiful flowers and spectacular gardens, probably filled with gushing streams, waterfalls and blue lakes. Bathing in them must have felt like a Jacuzzi. Delicious, luscious fruit and vegetables grew everywhere, all free for the taking. They could eat whichever they desired, except for the fruit of the one tree that stood in the middle. Tame animals roamed around everywhere and probably offered them a ride to wherever they wanted to go. The only creature that could talk was the snake, that was meant to be Odom’s servant. One can imagine Odam and Chava strolling around together taking in the spectacular scenery, smelling the beautiful flowers, tasting the delicious fruit and admiring the beautiful fish, animals and birds that Hashem created.
Yet, sometimes we may wonder how they managed without having any exciting books or newspapers to read, or without any Jewish music or radio to listen to. What did they do without any entertaining films to watch and no computer games to play with. What was life like without any concerts to go to or without any amusement parks to visit? Did they have to make pizza on their own or would he have to wait for the snake to have to prepare it for them? There was no microwave oven and making a fire would take some time. They didn’t even have matches. Neither did they have a camera or a video camera to record those precious moments for posterity. I wonder what it felt like without some of the very many conveniences we all now take for granted such as electricity and lights. Did he need an oil lamp? He had no cell phone but I doubt that they had any use for it since they had no one to call except for each other and they didn’t go too far. It must have been very lonely without any other humans to communicate with. They had to walk around Gan Eden on foot or perhaps hitch a ride on top of an animal since they had no fancy car and no plane on which to travel to see the world. Actually Odom was so tall that he reached up into the sky and could get a perfect view for miles around. That was before he sinned and was shrunken in size. He had no need for an air conditioner or heater since the weather was always nice and mild.
Actually, if we take a good look at all the modern conveniences we are surrounded with nowadays, we may begin to feel that we too are living in a modern day Gan Eden. It may be quite different from the one in which Odom and Chava lived and it even has many conveniences and amenities that they didn’t have. In fact, even a simple person has more conveniences and lives on a higher standard than did a king in ancient times. We don’t have to cook and can buy everything we desire, ready made. We can even have all the delicious delicacies delivered to our doorstep just like the Heavenly “mon” in the desert. We have a large selection of excellent Jewish music available on tape or CD. We can even take the orchestra along with us on our portable CD player. We have telephones and cell phones which we can use to learn or be instantly connected to our many relatives or friends all over the world. We have thousands of seforim which we can learn or interesting books to read. We have still cameras and video cameras and even digital cameras where we get to see the picture right away. We have luxury ships, cars and jet planes that can take us around the world in less than a day. We can even take a walk on the moon if we become an astronaut. We have magnificent gardens, amusement parks, circuses, zoos, museums, baseball games and live concerts to enjoy whenever we wish. We have machines that can do the work of a million snakes in only a few minutes time. We can listen to a hundred different channels anytime we are bored. We can fly in the air like birds and explore the depths of the ocean like fish. Yet, we must always remember that we have certain restrictions in this beautiful earthly Gan Eden. There are things we can’t eat, there are places we are not permitted to go and there are things we are not permitted to see or do. Better beware especially of the “Tree of Knowledge.” Navigating it can be very dangerous and take you to many forbidden sites that show you forbidden things! Unfortunately there are many snakes that entice us to go to that which is forbidden. Our task in this earthly Gan Eden is to learn Torah and keep its commandments. We have a short and limited time to accomplish our task. The most time anyone can spend here is 120 years. Most people barely make it past seventy or eighty. After that, it’s all over – at least in this earthly Gan Eden. There are, however, thousands of far more magnificent Gan Edens reserved for all those pure souls who learn the Torah and do the mitzvos. These Gan Edens are far beyond description or our imagination. They are far greater and more pleasurable and splendid than anything we can possibly comprehend with our five senses. Even a novi could not fathom it. Just as a blind person cannot understand the pleasure derived from looking at a beautiful picture and a deaf person cannot comprehend the pleasure derived from listening to a symphony orchestra, so, too, no human can begin to understand the pleasures reserved for those who study the Torah and keep the mitzvos. Chazal tell us that one hour in the Heavenly Gan Eden far exceeds all the possible pleasures one can get even if one adds up all the pleasures one can have in an entire lifetime. If we do what is required of us in this world then we’ll be properly rewarded in the World To Come. We’d just better make sure that we don’t blow it this time around and get bounced out like in times gone by!