I wrote this last year, but it still holds true. At least to me.

So I’m reading this great book about Michelangelo’s influences while painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling. It’s a fascinating read, but what stuck with me today was reading about why he decides to paint the expulsion from Eden, and rather than use the Christian tradition of an Apple Tree,  Mici opts for the Fig Tree. The author goes on to explain that  Mici studied Jewish texts and the Kabbalah. The explanation author gives is that he believed (OK this is the LAYMAN paraphrasing) that G-d never gives the problem without the solution being within the problem. Apple tree leaves would have been too small, and really wouldn’t cover anything. Fig leaves are much larger, and cover, um, more.

The explanation is that it was a Fig Tree, because after eating the fruit, Adam “knew” Eve. Yes as in the biblical sense, and that they felt shame and covered themselves with fig leaves. And I really started to think, not about the whole fig tree vs. apple tree thing, but the wording, even the Hebrew word is ya’da, to know.

And then it starts, the thinking….to know somebody, to know them in the biblical sense, to be so connected to somebody else, that you know them. I don’t mean what they like to eat, and how they like their socks folded, but to know their being. To be so a part of somebody else, that you feel physically connected, the experience of being connected in mind, body, and soul.
How many friends do I have that a recently divorced or are in the process that say maybe they never really knew their partner. Maybe the growing pains of our youth are what prevent us from really knowing ourselves and partners, certainly not for all people, but for many I know.  So we spend years with somebody we don’t really know, and BANG you wake up, and the cliché holds, you go “who are you”. So maybe we do the hardest thing, we admit we’re just not “there” anymore, we’ve been emotionally displaced. And you close the door and move on.

And then one day, and maybe it’s somebody you meet by chance or maybe somebody you’ve know for years. You feel connected to somebody in a way you didn’t know you could. I mean the kind of connection that grips you and leaves you breathless. Your heart is blinded, and in an instant your soul bound to somebody else.  It’s when you feel so exposed, but you trust, you know that the exposure to your being is OK.

It’s safe, because he knows you. He knows where you hide your secrets, he knows that your afraid of lighting not because you’ve told him, but he understands the when the rain and wind starts you get stressed. He just knows. He knows when to hold your hand, and just when to back off and stay out of your path. And you understand his fears and doubts, without being told. You know how to hold his hand, and how listen without judgment and how to accept his bad parts, because you know him.
How many people get that even for a moment? Yes some people get it for a lifetime, but most I know are lucky if they feel it for the blink of an eye.

You know how they say, “they took a piece of my heart”, I think that once you’ve “known” somebody, that they can’t take a piece of your heart.  I think they stay there, maybe like a thorn.  At first it’s really painful, and every movement hurts. But then you get used to it, and maybe scar tissue forms, so it hurts a little less, and then for the most there’s only a twinge, so you only feel it once in a while. But he’ll always be there, in your heart, because once you’ve known somebody you can’t just forget.
The smell of him stays with you, the way he tweaks your nose, the way he laughs at you’re funny accent, the way he loves you, the way he holds you and the way his hands feel in your hair. You know that no matter when you can call him, and he will always change your tire if you have flat, even if he won’t talk to you. And no matter what happens along the way, you know him, and he knows you.

So maybe G-d ensured it was a Fig Tree, so the leaves would provide another layer of protection. Because he understood that once Adam and Eve grasped that they were known to each other, they couldn’t go back.

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