by Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner
NOAH and BLOODSHED- 5/
Enosh, the Priest of Mercy
“It was then that they began calling in the name of YHVH”
1: Meet the Illustrious preacher – Enosh
The Torah in Her Wisdom introduces the topic of BLOODHSED – Adam’s Third Commandment after IDOLATRY and ADULTERY – through Noah and his life story. Noah’s generation was plagued with BLOODSHED, culminating with Flood.
Wishing to stop another Flood from coming to his children, to us, Noah entered with God the Rainbow Covenant, in which Mankind pledges to observe the BLOODSHED Laws given by G-d.
But the Torah wishes us to understand the factors that brought Noah’s generation to stumble over BLOODHSED. Those factors still play a major role today, as they did in Noah’s time.
Last class we focused on Cain’s descendants, the so-called Children of ELKM, who began their historical journey by being extremely pious, as if to atone for the forefather Cain’s sin. In their self-imposed piety, they followed ELKM’s laws literally, punishing sinners with full wrath and no MERCY. Thus, they worshipped ELKM, and overlooked YHVH, thereby breaching Oneness, a (high level type) of IDOLATRY.
Thus, for instance they took an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth literally. They hang, beaded, cut off the hands of thieves and stoned adulterers in the public area for all to see. That practice made them, in time, very insensitive to human suffering.
Then, seven generations after the first murder, one of Cain’s descendants – Tubal Cain – discovered a strong metal alloy that made his clan the strongest military force on Earth. No one could stand Tubal Cain’s swords and arrows, that pierced the air flying straight to the target, breaking to pieces any shield. The new invention made the Children of ELKM wealthy and powerful, yet they corrupt. The Torah says that they took women for themselves whoever they liked, married or not, thereby violating also ADULTERY. Tradition says that Tubal Cain’s gangues raped, killed, mugged and abducted people with no fear, under the watching sun, thereby violating also BLOODSHED and THEFT.
We then followed the Torah text and focused on Tubal Cain’s family. His father Lemech was an accident-prone fool, with small head but two strong hands that could smash an oxen’s head with one clap. This fact would soon [lay a role in Noah’s life story. Tubal Cain’s twin sisters – both named Naama – where famous magic dancers, one sexually corrupt and one righteous. Noah would marry one of them – guess whom?
Today we’ll focus on a rival fraction of humanity in Noah’s time – the so-called Enosh’ disciples, who practiced the opposite of Cain’s faith. They opted for the Merciful YHVH and neglected ELKM and His Laws. Hence, they too breached Oneness, a sort of IDOLATRY.
And like Cain’s clan, they too began as very pious people, yet in time they corrupted into ADULTERY and BLOODSHED.
The Torah describes their spiritual journey, starting with Enosh.
Enosh was Adam and Eve’s grandson from their youngest son, Sheth.
On Sheth it is said –
“And Adam knew his wife again,
and she bore a son, and he called his name Sheth
for ELoKiM has given me another seed instead of Abel,
whom Cain has killed,” (Genesis 4: 25.)
The name Sheth means in Hebrew ‘foundation,’ implying that he was a righteous person, a pillar of faith to his generation.
Indeed, the verse says that “Sheth was born “in the image and form of Adam,” (Genesis 5: 3.)
Since Adam himself was made “in the image and form of ELoKiM,” the verse implies that Sheth was an image of Adam, a man with great soul, a pious person.
Adam and Eve lived a long and fruitful life, due to the brunch of the Tree of Life they carried from Eden. When they felt their time arrived, they bequeathed the brunch to Sheth, and he too lived a long and fruitful life. Sheth begot many children; among them Enosh, the next leader of humanity.
Let’s pay attention to Enosh, since humanity is still named in Hebrew after him, as “enoshim”, Children of Enosh.
On Enosh it is said:
”And to Sheth, to him too, was born a son
and he named him Enosh.
It was then that they began
calling in the name of YHVH.” (Genesis 4:25)
Enosh was raised on the laps of his father Shet, but also on the laps of his grandparents Adam and Eve, which gave him a great clout among his contemporaries. He knew well the foundation of the Torah.
Yet, tradition holds that he erred so much, that he is considered the FATHER OF IDOLATRY (Maimonides.) What did he preached, to deserve that awful tile?
Enosh Calling YHVH
The key to understand his error lies in the verse saying:
“It was then that they began calling in the name of YHVH”.
If we understand “began calling in the name of YHVH” as praying to YHVH, what went wrong?
But the Hebrew term used here for “began”, huchal, also means “desecrated.”
Hence, Enosh desecrated YHVH’s Name by calling Her. How? Several explanations.
One answer is given by Rashi and RaMBaM (Maimonides.) Enosh preached several unwarranted ideas:
- He “called in the Name of YHVH,” praying to YHVH only, ignoring ELoKiM! He breached Oneness, “separating the glued ones.”
- He “called’ in the Name of YHVH” everything, all items in nature harbor Her. (Rashi).
- He “called’ the Name of YHVH,” – encouraging YHVH to ‘come forwards’ into our world!
Let’s go over Enosh’s errors, because they are still here with us.
1: He prayed to YHVH, overlooking ELKM. He believed in MERCY, ignoring ELKM’s Laws – the opposite of Cain’s faith. As a result, his disciples did not fear ELKM’s retributions anymore. Hence, they raped, killed and robbed people as they wished, like Cain’s clan did.
2: He prayed to YHVH inside everything. He preached that YHVH dwells deeply inside every item in the world. Consequently, he “addressed” YHVH, or called YHVH” or prayed to Her “inside the Sun, the Moon, the stars, the trees and the animals.” Philosophically he was right, yet his disciples “began to desecrate YHVH name” by praying to the items of nature themselves. This way Enosh “began” IDOLATRY in the world.
3: He “called in the name of YHVH” urging Her to come forwards into our world. He believed that the Sabbath, the Kingdom of Mercy, is here to come soon, and we need to welcome Her. That was a grave error, since ELKM has not yet gone into the Sabbath and the world is still going on as usual.
Enosh, according to several rabbinical sources, was a giant of body and soul, a miracle of nature never to be repeated. At the advanced age close to a thousand years, his body was vital as of a man of thirty. He had numerous wives and concubines so his seed filled the Earth and all Mankind revered him as their father and teacher – apart from Cain’s Children of ELKM who negated his teaching and ignored YHVH altogether.
Enosh was the greatest orator Mankind would ever know. His tall, beautiful body towered over the huge crowd as he delivered his massage about the forthcoming of Mercy to rule our world. His strong, fiery words were heard far away, roaring over the audience’s heads, as they were watching him in awe.
Enosh was fascinated by the Merciful YHVH. Himself a passionate man, full of love and compassion, he was able to excite his audience into ecstasy. You can imagine the thrill that took over the people, as he was announcing that soon, very soon, all sins are to be forgiven, all laws are becoming obsolete, and the Joy of YHVH is coming to replace Evil.
We can imagine his vast audience clapping hand and chanting hymns for MERCY in ecstasy. We can imagine men and women crying and “calling YHVH’s Name” in outpour of love. Yet, the results were catastrophic. If MERCY is here, who would fear ELKM’s laws? So after the preaching was over, Enosh’ disciples went out and committed the worst, heinous crimes imaginable. They raped, mugged and killed – NO DIFFERENT THAN CAIN’S CHILDREN OF ELKIM.
It looked like that regardless your particular faith – whether you follow ELKM only, or YHVH only, you’d end up with BLOODSHED. In fact, the two fractions of humanity – Cain’s clan and Enosh’ disciples – turned their weapons against each other and they fought each other to the death. Their mutual animosity was so great that they placed a ban on mixed marriage between the camp. The word was passed around that the offspring of such mix marriages would be “monsters who will destroy the world”!
Enosh and Noah
Noah was born seven generations after Enosh, ten generation after Adam.
When Noah was born, Enosh was close to a thousand years old. The chance that these two people would meet and become close to each other was very small indeed.
The story goes that Noah was born with an unusual defect – circumcised at birth. To his parents, and everyone around, this seemed to be a shameful defect, something to hide. But when the words came to Enosh that one of his descendants was born circumcised, he took that as a sign that the boy is destined to greatness. After all, Adam himself was born circumcised. WOULD THAT CHAILD BE A NEW ADAM? Enosh wondered,
And when Noah’s mother passed away, his father Lemech could not keep him and gave baby Noah to his own father, Metushelach, to be raised by him. This did not work out well and when Enosh heard about it, he sent for Noah and adapted him as his own son.
As it turned out, Enosh connected very well with Noah, despite their enormous difference in age. Enosh taught Noah everything he knew from Adam and Eve, believing in his heart that Noah would one day take over from him the spiritual leadership of Mankind. Thus, Noah grew up under the influence of Enosh, learning to worship YHVH and neglect ELKM.
Noah, from his side, was an avid student and he loved Enoah, yet, he noticed the spiritual decay of Enosh’ disciples and how they committed ADULTERY and in particular: terrible BLOODHSED, no different than Cain’s Children of ELKM.
Noah’s life turned around when the ancient prophecy about Cain was fulfilled and he was killed by his own descendant, seven generations after he had killed Abel. On that, we’ll learn next class.