Saturday, October 22, 2011

Were Cain und Abel (Hevel) humans ?


We have just started reading the Torah anew and yesterday the Jewish world read Parashat Bereshit in the Synagogues. Bereshit as well as Noach are my favourite Parashot because through endless study, I have been building up a very special connection to those two Parashot. I just love writing about Bereshit and Noach although it is a neverending subject. 

Here is a Midrashic opinion taken over by the Rambam (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, 1135 – 1204): 

The Rambam wrote in his “Moreh Nevuchim – Guide for the Perplexed” (1:7), that only Adam HaRishon’s had a human shape whereas his first two sons Cain and Abel (Hevel) rather looked like animals. 

Certain commentators , e.g., the Abarbanel, explain that, first, Adam had misused his extremely high G – dgiven intelligence in a negative way. He preferred running after his own desires instead of using his intellect for a way of getting closer to his creator. 

G – d created man in His own image, meaning that man possesses intellect and the ability building a relationship to G – d. Thus one should always use his intellect in a positive way with a certain amount of Kedusha (Holiness). 

Only when Adam and his wife were thrown out of Paradise (Gan Eden), the two started a Teshuva process. The Talmud Tractate Eruvin 18b teaches that Adam did Teshuva for 130 years, then reunited with his wife and begot his third son Seth (Shet). During all those 130 years, Adam and Chava were separated. 

Whereas Adam and Chava begot their two firstborns when they were still acting against the will of G - d and not too serious about getting closer to Him, Shet was born under different circumstances. Besides the Rambam, especially kabbalistic literature teaches that Cain and Hevel weren’t of human shape but animal – like creatures.

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