Friday, October 28, 2005

Cain Was Framed!

I am Cain. I was born in the Garden. My parents ate the Fruit of Knowledge, and were thrown out onto the Cold Hard Earth. They were punished with Pain and Toil, but the benefit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil more than made up for it. Their animal, semi-sentient urges had become transformed. They could now Reflect, and think about Thought, and Decide, "This desire is Selfless, I will cultivate it; That desire is Selfish, I will withstand it."

I am Cain. I did not eat the Fruit of Knowledge, but I was also Cast Out onto the Cold Hard Earth. My Younger Brother, Abel, was born with Knowledge in his Blood. He had Foresight. He had Understanding. He could Move On. Uprooted from the Ground of Eden, he became a Herder of Animals. God had put us in the Garden to Tend the Plants, so I continued the Harvest Work on the Outside.

How was I to know that the Soil was no longer an option? That I was following a Backwards, Dead-End Path?

No one told me. They didn't need to be told. No One Told Me!

I gave the Best I could Grow to God. God Didn't Want It!

Wasn't this my Purpose on Earth? How dare He accept Abel's Animals and not my Garden?!

Bereishit/Genesis 4:1-2:

והאדם ידע את חוה אשתו
ותהר ותלד את קין
ותאמר קניתי איש את ה׳
ותוסף ללדת את אחיו את הבל
ויהי הבל רועה צאן וקין היה עובד אדמה

And the man (or: Adam) had known Hhava, his wife;
she became pregnant, and gave birth to Qayin (Cain) —
and she said, "I have gained a man with God."
She then continued giving birth, [and had] his brother, Hevel (Abel);
and Hevel was a shepherd, while Qayin was a worker of the land.


The grammar is clear. והאדם ידע And Adam had known is pluperfect tense. Had known, not knew. The subject-noun, followed by a verb in what we call today the "past tense" form, expresses an action preceding the previous action. If it were וידע האדם in what the grammarians call the wayyiqtol form ("future" + 'flipping vav'), then it would be an action in sequence, and then Adam knew.

Or in other words, as R' Shelomo Yitzhhaqi (Rashi) commented:
This had already [occured] before the earlier narrative — before he sinned and was kicked out of Gan ‘Eiden. The same goes for the conception and birth...


So Qayin, at least, was born in the Garden. We are never told that he ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil — and yet he was kicked out of Paradise just the same. Hevel, his younger brother, seemingly was born on the Outside, and was conceived by Adam and Hhava after having eaten the fruit. He was born with the knowledge of good and evil, of death (for on the day you eat of it you will surely die). Qayin, this verb yada‘ implies, was not. Did he even understand what death was, until he created it with his own hands?

17 Comments:

Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

How dare you interrupt the order of the universe (by posting two post on one day), only to defend your brother?!!!

10/28/2005 2:12 PM  
Anonymous big brother said...

LOL Marge. I'm cool. Yay fratricide!

(of course, hagaon Daniel Quinn is cholek on this shitah)

10/28/2005 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Marge said...

Qayin--

I hear you're coming home for Tanksgiving (sic). Perhaps I can meet you then.

10/28/2005 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Habib of KiwiJewPundit said...

"Did he even understand what death was, until he created it with his own hands?"

כִּי, בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְךָ מִמֶּנּוּ--מוֹת תָּמוּת
Doesn't this wording presuppose some knowledge of the concept of death on the part of the first couple, before eating the fruit -- even if they were not yet bene mavet? ie how could God threaten Adam and Eve with a concept they didn't understand?

10/28/2005 2:53 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Habib:

Well, considering the fact that they didn't actually die 'on the day they ate from it' ("God day" = 1000 years notwithstanding), i'm understanding that consequence as meaning that they would attain knowledge of their own mortality.

Mar:

shhhhhhh! look at the dates of the two posts, they're not from the same day! ;-) :-P

10/29/2005 7:27 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Very interesting idea.

And concerning the verbs, it's rather perfect/imperfect (plus details like waw consecutivum) than past/present/future (plus "hippuch") anyway.

10/30/2005 5:56 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Lipman:

yup, i was just using the colloquial (Modern Hebrew) terms to describe the tenses/aspects; i thought it'd be more recognizable to more people.

10/30/2005 9:04 AM  
Blogger Mirty said...

Have mercy on us older folks with aging eyes. Larger fonts please! :)

10/30/2005 8:56 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Steg,

I wasn't correcting you, rather explaining why I think it makes sense.

10/31/2005 5:10 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Mirty:

As the resident computer expert of the Judeoblogosphere, i'd expect that you'd know that (most?) webbrowsers can increase the size of what's on the screen! ;-)

10/31/2005 9:29 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Use Opera, where it's enough to hit the + key.

11/02/2005 6:21 AM  
Blogger Mirty said...

Ah, yes, good point. :D

11/02/2005 10:12 PM  
Blogger blueenclave said...

Even if he did not know what death was when he killed Abel, he certainly should have known it afterwards and repented before G-d pointed it out to him.

11/06/2005 3:29 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

BlueEnclave:

Maybe he was too shocked; or he didn't even understand what happened until God explained it to him.

11/06/2005 5:18 PM  
Blogger Kibi said...

I gave the Best I could Grow to God. God Didn't Want It!

No, I don't think so. The medrash points out from the posuk that while Hevel gave of the best, Kayin (the inventor of korbanot) just gave some stuff, not of the best at all.

11/07/2005 10:54 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Kibi:

This is my midrash, and i'll drash as i want to! ;-)

11/07/2005 5:55 PM  
Blogger Kibi said...

Fair enough.
--
Kibi
My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I am right. - Ashleigh Brilliant

11/08/2005 2:46 AM  

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