Noahide Seven Commandments Torah classes
© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
BLOODSHED-1/Why Did She Call Him Cain?
”I have bought a man with YHVH”“
“Thou shall not murder”
Today we start learning about Noah’s Third Commandment: BLOODSHED.
We’ve learned IDOLATRY, in details, from the story of CREATION in Genesis Chapter 1
We’ve learned ADULTERY, in details, from the story of Eden in Genesis Chapters 2-4
Now we follow the Torah’s narrative and learn about BLOODSHED, in details, from the story of Cain and Abel, up to Noah’s Rainbow Covenant (chapters 4-9).
In fact, the Rainbow Covenant, as you will see, introduces the BLOOSHDED LAWS in details: from suicide, abortion, to indirect killing, killing by mercenaries or killing directly. All possible methods of killings are addressed by the Rainbow Covenant.
So the Torah leads us from the first, private murder of Cain and Abel, to BLOODSHED perpetrated by society, culminating with Noah’s Flood, and the Rainbow Covenant with its BLOODSHED Laws.
What causes BLOODSHED?
There are many causes for BLOODSHED. But BLOODSHED can be seen as an end product of failing Noah’s Commandments, as follows:
IDOLATRY, or inflated ego, would bring about
ADULTERY, which in turn would bring about
BLOODSHED, since the adulterer would seek to get rid of the husband (or wife) like in King David’s story
No wonder, then, that the Torah presents I
IDOLATRY first, in chapter One
ADULTERY (and IDOLATRY) in the story of Eden, chapters 2-4, followed by
BLOODSHED through the story of Cain and Able up to the Rainbow Covenant
As we remember: these three Commandments are paramount, since we ar expected to give our lives rather than violating them (which isn’t true for the rest of the Commandments.)
1: Murder in the Ten Commandments
BLOODSHED prohibition appears in Moses’ Ten Commandments, saying:
Hence BLOODSHED was first given to Adam and Noah, then repeated by Moses to Israel. Hence, according to our rule of thumb, it applies to both the Children of Noah and Israel.
Hence the Nations may learn about BLOODSHED from the Ten Commandments.
Sure, there are several differences between the Nations and Israel in regard to the BLOODSHED Laws:
(1) Israel’s court must comprise of 23 or 71 supreme judges, to judge a capital case.
(2) Torah Law does not recognize a lay jury.
(3) Israel’s Court must sit in the Temple’s Courtyard to issue a capital punishment. After the destruction of the Holy Temple by Rome, the Supreme Court (Sanhedrin) was exiled from Jerusalem, and settled in different places in the Land of Israel. They refrained from sitting on a capital case.
(4) Israel’s court must hear at least two witnesses for issuing a Death Verdict. The witnesses are thoroughly scrutinized.
(5) Israel Court can’t execute a person unless warned before committing the crime.
Consequently, it is extremely rare and difficult for a Torah High Court to issue a Death Penalty.
Thou shall not kill?”
The verse in the Ten Commandment is usually translated as “Thou shall not kill,” implying that ANY killing is forbidden, including an execution of a murderer. This erroneous translation has been used against Capital Punishment in the USA.
But the Hebrew text clearly says: “Thou shall not murder!” implying that a murdered SHOULD be punished.
The punishment appears in Noah’s Rainbow Covenant, saying:
“Whoever shed the blood of a Man,
By Man shall his own blood be shed.” (Genesis 9: 6)
This verse sanctions the execution of a murderer by the human court.
Let’s pay attention to this since we are all still living under the Rainbow Covenant!
2: New Challenges on Earth
Transition from Eden to Earth
It is not incidental that immediately after their ‘passage’ from Eden to Earth, the nascent human family stumbled over BLOODSHED. They had lost Eden because they had violated IDOLATRY or ADULTERY. Now, on Earth, they were challenged by the next, Third Commandment: BLOODSHED.
It is as if Mankind is destined to be challenged by the Commandments one by one.
Their first experience on Earth is described as follows:
“And Adam knew his wife Eve,
and she conceived and she bore Cain
And she said, I’ve bought a Man with YHVH
And she again bore his brother” Abel
“And Abel was a keeper of the sheep, while Cain worked the ground” (Genesis 4:1-2)
Sorrow of Labor
Earlier, when they were driven out of Eden, YHVH ELKM told them that
The ‘woman’ would suffer menstrual pains and the sorrow of labor
Adam would have to work hard for his living: “by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”
On Earth they would encounter the Angel of Death, and Evil, as the Name of the Forbidden Tree implies.
3: And Adam knew his wife with PASSION
Let’s read it again:
"And Adam knew Eve his wife
And she conceived and bore Cain.” (Genesis 4:1).
On Earth, Adam ‘knew his wife’ PASSIONATELY, the Midrash says.
The verb selected here the word for ‘know,’ daat, referring to an intimate type of knowledge, on a practical level of Daat, as opposed to the theoretical knowledge of Chochma (general perception) and Binah (detailed theoretical knowledge.)
In virtual Eden, the couple loved each other, on the theoretical levels of Chocham and Binah. There was no death but also no birth in Eden. On Earth, Adam ‘knew’ his wife on the practical, intimate. real level of Daat. After all, the name of the Forbidden Tree was: “The Tree Of Knowledge, Daat, Good and Evil.” Only after eating the Forbidden Fruit, could Adam and Eve know ‘Good,’ and ‘Evil’, n earth. They could also feel real love, first time on Earth.
4: Passion for BLOODSHED and Evil
But the verse also alludes to another fascination they had: with Death and Evil.
On Earth, the humans also became intimately familiar with Sorrow and Death, on the level of Daat. The male, Adam,, by the sorrow of his hard labor; Eve by her first pregnancy and labor.
Eve felt the first time the pains and sorrow that YHVH ELKM had predicted for her. She might have even faced the Angel of Death himself at her labor.
FASCINATION with BLOODSHED.
This dramatic exposure to Death all around them, made them fascinated with their ability to Take Life Away. The act of killing, after all, produces a magical sense of a godly power.
You can see that fascination with BLOODSHEHD in the inscriptions that Cave Man left on his cave’s walls. These inscriptions depict the excitement he had by the scenes of hunting.
You can see this fascination with Death in the way warriors used to decorated themselves, their weapons. You can still see it in the way they dance with swords.
And you can still see our fascination with death, in the way we watch t it on our silver screens. You can see it in the way young men flock to join ISIS.
In Eden, Adam and his women could not perform BLOODSHED. The Commandment was given to them in Eden only on a theoretical level of Chohma and Binah.
Only on Earth the Commandment was “activated,” became real, on the practical level of Daat. And they were fascinated by their new option.
Fascination with Cruelty and Evil
The fascination with killing is intimately intertwined also with the fascination of CRUELTY. The sight of bloodletting, flesh tearing, hearing the cries of the victim, all this still fascinate us. The scene of EVIL still fascinates us.
Remember, we learn here the background of the first murder, the mother of all murders. And every word plays a role in the story.
5: The passion of ownership
She named him Cain
Beside BLOODSHED, another fascination took hold on their lives, as it is describes in the following verses:
“And she conceived and bore Cain, for she said,
I have purchased (acquired) a Man with YHVH!” (Genesis 4:1)
Eve, like all new mothers, expresses her fascinations and expectations in the name she gave her firstborn son, Cain.
This is MY child!
She called him Cain. The word ‘Cain’ is rooted in the Hebrew Ca’no, ’to purchase.’ She said: ‘I have purchased a son, a man, by my labor. This son is MINE!’
Back in Eden they could own nothing. There was no PRSONAL OWNERSHIP in Eden.
But here on Earth, Eve ‘acquired’ a son by her labor. (Her husband labored for food, while she labored for a child). She was therefore fascinated by her new capacity of becoming an owner. She proudly announced: This is MY child! I ‘purchased’ him! His is Cain!
No wonder that later both Cain and Able brought to YHVH their products which they OWNED.
What a prelude to the scene of the first murder: fascination with (1) BLOODSHED (2) OWNERSHIP.
And with this new ability to own, came also its opposite: the ability to STEAL.
THEFT too became an option and a fascination, something they could not do in Eden for real.
The combination of BLODSHED and THEFT, which the Torah would later call hamas, would seal the fate of Noah’s generation and bring upon them the Flood.
Ownership comes with Jealousy
And if something is mine, it is not yours.
If this is my mother, she is not yours, Cain would say to Abel.
If she loves me, she does not love you. Love is OWNED.
And since I own something, I love it! Since Cain is my son, I love him.
What a complex feeling as a background for the Mother of all Murders!
6: I have purchased ‘Man with YHVH’
Y-H-V-H is mine!
Eve was fascinated with purchasing and ownership. She named him Cain because she ‘purchased a man’ by her labor. But in addition she mentions something else she had acquired with her childbirth, as she says:
“And she conceived and bore Cain, for she said:
I have purchased (acquired) a Man with YHVH!” (Genesis 4:1)
At the Beginning, ELKM built the Universe awesomely alone. YHVH is not even mentioned during the Six Days.
YHVH appears alone, the first time ever
You may overlook this, but here is the first time that the Name YHVH appears alone in the Torah’s text, without ELKM by her side (Rab. Bachyee.)
By her childbirth, Eve purchased two things: “A Man” and “YHVH.”
In Eden, the CREATOR appears as YHVH ELoKiM.
In Eve’s words on Earth, YHVH appears alone, in full glory!
MERCY and COMPASSION stand alone
You can say that here the story of CREATION continues:
Then, on the Sixth Day before creating Adam, YHVH entered our Universe as a shy Acronym. You need to be trained to see her. Half of her Name (YH) dwells in our World (The Dweller, Shehinah) and the other half (VH) still resides is in the Sabbath.
Then in the story of Eden, YHVH appears the first time in the open, but only side by side with ELKM, as YHVH ELKM. This is the way the ‘Parent’ YHVH ELKM formed Adam in Eden. This is the way Moses depicted them as two loving Cherubs holding Wing against Wing, guarding the Gate of Eden over the Holy Ark.
Now on earth, in Eve’s wards following her labor, YHVH appears the first time alone, without ELKM by Her side.
That wasn’t incidental. Eve had just had a painful labor, according to the CREATOR’S ‘punishment.’
In her childbirth, she must have faced the Angle of Death.
Now, holding her firstborn baby in her arms, her face still flushed with crimson red and her body flooded with hormones, Eve must felt elated. Her pains were replaced by a surge of happiness, love and hopes for a good future for her newborn son.
Holding her first baby in her bosom, Eve felt, the first time, a surge of LOVE, COMPASSION and MERCY towards her child, as well as to the rest of the world; a feeling she could not feel in Eden.
And she said to herself: Wow, this is what our MOTHER IN HEAVENS, YHVH, must feel for us!
She said: now I comprehend you, Y-H-V-H, more than ever before.
She therefore called her son ‘Cain’ for she said: “I have acquired a man with YHVH.” With my childbirth, I have acquired a new perception of YHVH, a perception I have never imagine before.
YHVH is mine!”
She said, “I’ve purchased YHVH.” Her new acquaintance with YHVH came with a sense of OWNERSHIP: YHVH is MY G-d. Like a child holding his mother skirt, proudly telling everyone: This is My Mother!
But this could also infer: if YHVH is my mother, she is not yours. Eve connected to YHVH personally, individually, on the level of Daat. Her new knowledge of Evil, brought her also to appreciate the opposite of Evil: YHVH.
And she wanted her son to give all Mankind that same feeling, and same perception of YHVH that she herself had acquired.
7: My son the priest
So she said:
“And she named him Cain for she said,
I’ve bought a man with YHVH”
She appointed her son
My firstborn child, she said, will ‘purchase Man with YHVH,’ will connect Mankind with YHVH. Cain would be the first, Firstborn Priest.
Cain would attempt to attract YHVH into the human heart.
After all, this is the purpose of our being here in this world: to know YHVH and admit her into our heart, thereby uniting Her with ELKM.
Adam, a male, could not feel that Eve felt, what mothers feel. Adam would have to be taught to appreciate Her and perceive Her. Cain would do that. He would connect “Man with YHVH.”
Cain would do YHVH’s work, spread Her (1) Love (2) Holiness (3) Joy (4) Modesty (5) Forgiveness (6) Compassion (7) Mercy in ELoKiM’s harsh world.
Cain would teach Torah to humanity.
Cain would lead humanity in prayers.
Cain would be the spiritual leader of Mankind.
Cain would lead humanity to the Eternal Sabbath, the Day when YHVH will reign alone.
8: A Gradual Awareness of YHVH
Adam is born when ELKM said “Let Us Make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”
ELKM had a “Form and Image” of an ideal Adam, a Very Good Adam on His Mind.
ELKM then made Adam in His Image (Genesis 1) but He carved out a room in Adam’s heart for YHVH to dwell.
ELKM would not plant Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness in Adam‘s heart. But He prepared a room in our heart capable off harboring Mercy.
It would be left for Adam to either be a beast like creature, a serpent like creature, which does not recognize Mercy, like a Nazi; or be a Very Good creature who, unlike all animals, knows Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness.
Adam began his history as a creature made in ELKM Image. Adam would gradually ‘evolve’ into one who recognizes also the Merciful YHVH, so that he could unite YHVH with ELKM. This journey would take time, a long time. A day is coming, says the prophet, that the knowledge of YHVH will cover Earth like water covers the sea.
9: A new light on the Commandments
This consideration gives us a new look at the Commandments.
They serve as a ladder on which we climb to UNDERSTAND YHVH.
Is this true? Let’s see:
IDOLATRY we learn from Genesis chapter One, which introduces YHVH as a shy acronym, connecting our world to the Sabbath. YHVH is seen as (1) Attribute of MERCY, joining the new Heavenly Court (2) the Beloved BRIDE whom ELKM longs to meet. Adam would unite them in his heart.
ADULTERY we learn from the story of Eden, which also sheds new light on YHVH. At first, Adam and his wife walk around naked, unashamed, the same as the serpent. After eating the forbidden fruit, they became aware of YHVH Holiness, and Her despise of sexual promiscuity. Their new perception of YHVH made them cover their nakedness.
BLOODSHED we learn from Cain killing Abel. Here Eve perceives YHVH the first time as standing alone in full Glory. YHVH stands for COMPASSION, MERCY, who hates EVIL, AND CRUELTY.
THEFT we’ll learn from Abraham and his submission to the Creator Who Owns Everything, AaDoNai.
JUSTICE we’ll learn from Jacob and his struggle for Civil rights.
Hence the Commandments are a ladder upon which we LEARN to comprehend YHVH.
Could she imagine?
Could Eve imagine, in her wildest dreams, the impact of her words on Cain?
Could she imagine, that her beloved son, the priest of MERCY, would be the first to commit the utmost evil: the Mother of all Murders?
Could she imagine that instead of purchasing YHVH with Man, her son Cain would be the first to chase YHVH away from Man?
Could she imagine that her beloved Cain would be the first to do Evil in YHVH’s eyes?
Could she imagine that Cain would perform the ultimate paradox: murder in the name of MERCY!
Read also: "Genesis Vs. Science, Can They Match?" By Zvi Aviner, at www.smashwords.com
END OF BLOODSHED CLASS 1