Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner




Copy Right 2022


Why  Did She Name Him Cain? 




The Flow of stories in the Book oof Genesis 



Having studied IDOLATRY from Genesis Chapter One,

and ADULTERY Vs MARRIAGE from the story of Eden,

the Torah introduces  the next, third  Commandment of Adam –  BLOODSHED, 

via  the story of Cain and Abel.


It is as if the Book of Genesis is designed to  highlight

the Six Commandments of Adam, one by one.


Or better said:

As if humanity was destined to encounter Adam’s  Commandments 

one by one, in Eden then here on Earth. 


And as before, with IDOLATRY and ADULTERY,

the Torah introduces us not only to the Laws of BLOODSHED,

but also  to the background  of BLOODSHED, what causes it,

and how to overcome it.


The section of the Torah that we are about to study,

starts with the first  BLOODSHED, of Cain killing Abel,

continues with Noah’s generations and the heinous BLOODSHED they committed,

ending with Noah’s Rainbow Covenant and its BLOODSHED Laws.


Thus the entire section from Cain to Noah describes how Mankind degenerated into BLOODSHED

that brought upon them the Flood.  It tells us the reasons for that terrible BLOODSHED

and how Noah struggled with it, information that is very relevant to our time.

We therefore call this part  of our classes : “Noah and BLOODSHED.”



Before  telling us about  the first murder – Cain killing Abel –

the Torah  describes Adam and Eve’s new life on Earth,

their new fascinations by DEATH and by OWNERSHIP,

a good background for BLOODSHED and THEFT.



 New Fascinations on Earth 



It is amazing to see that the Torah  precede the first murder

by the description of Adam and Eve passing from Eden to Earth.


In Eden they had already learned:

1: Truth from Lie – values associated with Din, Justice, ELKM

2: Good from Evil – values associated with Hessed, Grace, Mercy, YHVH

3: All aspects of sin.

4: They were given the “Six Commandments of Adam”

5: The had learned the value of repentance and G-d’s Forgiveness

6: The human soul enters Earth from Eden, and returns  to Eden.

7: They took with them a brunch of the Tree of Life.


Back in Eden, Adam and Eve, could violate only

IDOLATRY and ADULTERY, which they did.

Here on Earth, the other four Commandments became

also relevant to their life.  As we’ve said.

Foremost among them was the Third Commandment: BLOODSHED.


Had not G-d told  them in Eden,

that the “day they eat of it” (of the forbidden fruit)  they would die?

Of course, they could not die in Eden, under the Tree of Life.

They would die on Earth, where ‘evil’ – death – reigns.


Hence, the main change from Eden, was  their exposure to death,

including  killing animals, and murdering other humans.


The Torah describes  several new fascinations that came to them

along with the new Life on Earth, serving as a background for BLOODSHED.

These new fascinations and passions are:


1. Passionate  Love

Among the new passions on Earth, that  play a role in BLOODSHED,

is the passion of Love, and Hatred.Competing for a spouse’ love  would become

one of the the most common cause of MURDER.


Indeed, immediately after they moved to Earth, the verse says:

Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived
and she bore Cain, and she said
I’ve bought a Man with YHVH 
( Genesis 4:1-2)


Adam knew his wife – PASSIONATELY, the Midrash says.

The Hebrew word “knew”, comes from daat, which stands for  intimate encounter.


Back in Eden, their marital relation was cold, in realm of Right and Wrong.

On Earth, it became passionate, in the realm of Good and Evil.

This newly acquired  passionate love  – and hate – would henceforth be

a major ingredient in casing BLOODSHED.


2. Fascinated by Taking Life Away 

Another important ingredient of BLOODSHED

is the very fascination  of taking live away.

Back in Eden they saw  no death. Here on Earth they became exposed to death,

by animals killing each other, and by the possibility that humans might kill each other.


Taking life away seems to us as an enormous  powerful act,

almost a godly power.

No wonder that they became  fascinated by scenes of

BLOODSHED and DEATH arround them here on Earth.


You can see the evidence of that fascination in the  way,

that Cave Man depicted scenes   of hunting on  his  cave walls.

These inscriptions express deep fascination with scenes of killing

and the fierce .struggle  for life.


You can still see Mankind’s fascination with death today,

in the way warriors decorate their weapons, or dance with them,

or in the way we watch action movies on our silver screens,

and in the way young men flock to join the evil ISIS.


3. Fascination with Ownership

Another fascination that led  to BLOODSHED was,

their newly  acquired  sense of OWNERSHIP.


Back in Eden no one owned anything,

for  ownership has a meaning when there are several entities

each drawing a line of his ownership, respecting other’s ownership.


So,  back in Eden when Adam and Eve live alone,

there was no meaning to ownership.

But here on Earth, ownership became an option, a fascination.


Thus, G-d’s verdicts when Adam and Eve were driven out from Eden to Earth,



 Adam, would work hard – “by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,”

 to EARN his living  by hard LABOR.

The woman, too, would LABOR with pains to have a child,

making the child HER CHILD.


You can see that fascination of ownership

in the name Eve gave to her firstborn son, Cain,

as she said:

And she conceived and bore Cain, for she said,

I have purchased (acquired) a Man with YHVH!” (Genesis 4: 

The name Cain is rooted in the Hebrew verb cano, purchase.

Eve, like all new mothers, expresses her fascinations with her childbirth

and her expectations from that child, in the name she gave him.  


By saying:  I have purchased a man!” – she regarded the childbirth as a process

of purchasing, of acquiring.   Declaring to the whole world – THIS CHILD IS MINE!


 Of course,  that new fascination with ownership  

would become a major reason for BLOODSHED.

For if something is mine, it is not yours.

If  this is my mother, she is not yours. 

If  this is my G-d, He is not yours!


4. Ownership is associated with Love

We love things we own.

If this is my child, I love him. 

If this is my mother, I love her. 

If this is my G-d, I love Him. 


And if my beloved mother forsakes me, I hate her. 

If my beloved  G-d has forsaken me, I hate Him/Her.

A prelude to  Cain killing Abel, in jealousy for YHVH’s Love.  



5.  Fascination with YHVH 

In her childbirth, Eve acquired not only a son, but also an awareness of YHVH,

As it says:

I have purchased (acquired) a Man with YHVH!” (Genesis 4:1)


Let’s note that here, in Eve’s words,

the name YHVH appears the first time ever,

 alone in the text, with full Glory.

(Rabbi  Bachye)


Prior to that point, YHVH appeared in the text, in the open,

only in the story of Eden,  and only   as YHVH ELKM,  ‘side by side’ with ELKM,

as two Cherubs in love.

Before that,  at the end of Genesis Chapter One,

YHVH appears in hidden fashion, as an acronym.


But  here, after giving birth to her first child Cain,

Eve recognizes the Attributer of Mercy and Compassion

with Her full strength, standing ‘alone,’ without ELKM by Her side.


Eve  must have had a tough child labor, facing the angel of death.

But afterwards, holding her firstborn son in her bosom,

her blood still flooded with hormones, her heart full of love

and a good hope for her son – and for Mankind,

Eve could feel the first time, what our MOTHER IN HEAVENS YHVH feels for us.


Thus Eve was the first human, who “knew” Y-H-V-H intimately, passionately.

Back in Eden, she could never had such a feeling.

for in Eden she faced neither death nor  birth.


She therefore named her newborn son ‘Cain,”

for she said: “I have acquired a man with YHVH.”

Meaning – I have acquired (purchased) both,  a child and the awareness of YHVH.


What about her husband?

Adam must have had great sympathy for his wife,

but he could not acquire the same feeling for YHVH,

that our mother Eve  had.


Let’s noter that MERCY in Hebrew is ra-cha-mim,

from the word  re-chem, a womb.


Appointing Cain



Eve’s said:

“I have acquired a man with YHVH,” 

and I want my son to let all Mankind share

that marvelous ‘knowledge’ and feeling of YHVH.


In other words, Eve appointed he son Cain,

to be the  first, firstborn priest of the family.

He would ‘buy’ a connection between Man and YHVH.



Few Notes

Tradition says that Adam and Eve appeared first on Mt. Moriah,

on the site where the future Altar of the Holy Temple would stand,

where the priests would chant during the offering:

This place is where Adam was created,

and this is where Adam’s  atonement takes place…” (Talmu


How long ago?  

If you follow the Torah and count the world’s history,

from Cain and Abel till today, you’d get the number 5882 years.

We tend to call that number “The Age of CREATION.”

but in fact it  covers only  the time from Cain and Abel till nowday,

not including Genesis Chapter  One- the length of the Six Days,

which was much longer –  13.8  Billion year.


So,  what is the historical truth

 of the story of Cain and Abel?


Some say that the story is a metaphor for Mankind’s murderous nature.

Other see the story as a remnant of the ancient struggle,

between the Shepherds and the Farmers,

where Cain presents the Farmers, and Abel the Shepherds.


But we can take the  story on its face, as a truthful  story,

  for we’ve already seen how TRUTHFUL  is Genesis Chapter One.


Let’s note that 5880 years ago, when Cain killed Abel,

is the year 4000 B.C, around 2000 years prior to the first Egyptian pyramid.


The archeologists and historians admit, that,

there is a gap in our knowledge of what happened to Mankind

during that period – between year  4000 and 2000 years BC.

For instance, we do not know precisely who built the first pyramid,

or   the Sphinx that predates the first pyramid.

We can’t explain the many archeological findings

of advance human technology all over Earth.


We can’t explain the story of the lost Continent, Atlantis,

and the stories about a great, destructive Flood that are told

by many cultures all over Earth.


Thus, it is conceivable that as science will uncover more information,

about that missing, dark area in human history, between 4000 and 2000 BC,

we would come to understand better the Torah’s stories

of the generations between Cain and Abel, to Noah.


Having introduces some major causes of BLOODSHED,

the Torah moves on to describe the first MURDER itself.