Parashat Bereisheet – 5783

By |2022-11-23T12:31:32-05:00October 19, 2022|

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What Cain Learned
A D’var Torah for Parashat Beresheet
By Dr. Yakir Englander

In the Genesis story, we find Cain and Abel in a field. There the elder brother, Cain, kills Abel, the younger. Midrash Rabbah (22) on this passage remarks that Cain does not know how to take the life of another human person. So, he decides to imitate his brother, slaughtering him in the same way he had seen Abel himself slaughter animals as sacrificial offerings to God. When that same God questions Cain, after the murder, it is with either an utter innocence or with a calculated intent to cross-examine the killer: “Where is your brother Abel?” And Cain responds, without batting an eyelid: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)

It is a disturbing passage. As a Jewish theologian, I have always felt that Read More >