BLOODSHED-1/Why did she name him Cain?

Noahide Seven Commandments Torah classes

© 2020 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner


BLOODSHED-1/Why Did She Call Him Cain?


”And she said:  I’ve bought a man with YHVH”

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
We now learn  BLOODSHED in details from the story of Cain and Abel, and Noah’s Flood in Genesis chapters 4-9.
The story begins with the First Murder, of Cain killing Abel- the prototype of all murders – ending with the Rainbow Covenant of Noah.  As we’ll see, the Rainbow Covenant covers all the aspects of  BLOODSHED Laws.


BLOODSHED as the 3rd Commandment 
There is a logic  in the order of the Commandments. Thus-  :

IDOLATRY comes first, since without believing in G-d there is no meaning for the Commandments

ADULTERY follows, for if you don’t fear G-d, what could stop you from having an affair with your best friend’s spouse?
BLOODSHED follows, for once you’ve committed ADULTERY, wouldn’t you expect the hurting spouse to run after you with drawn knife? Or wouldn’t you plan to get rid of that spouse?

THEFT  follows,  since once you’ve stolen someone’s spouse, why not stealing his/hers money and property?

INJUSTICE  follows, for wouldn’t you attempt to cover up all the above?

BLASPHEMY follows,  for living in such a corrupt society would make you curse your parents, and cure G-d for bringing you to this world.

As we’ve learned, the three Commandments at the top – IDOLATRY ADULTERY  and BLOODSHED – are so paramount that we are expected to surrender our lives rather than violating them if forced to do so.

1: The BLOODSHED Law  in the Ten Commandments


The BLOODSHED Law was given to Adam and his Wife in Eden, and was repeated to Israel by Moses  in the Ten Commandments of Sinai, saying

“Thou shall not murder”

By repeating it to Israel, Moses made it applicable to both the Children of Noah and the Children of Israel.

In fact, the details the BLOODSHED Laws were expelled to Noah at the Rainbow Covenant.  Basically the Laws applies to all Mankind, but there is some stringency  when applied to Israel.  Here are some examples:

(1) Israel’s court must comprise of 23 or 71 supreme judges, to sit  in a capital case
(2) Israel’s court allows no lay jury.
(3) Israel’s Court must physically sit in the Holy Temple’s Courtyard to qualify to  issue a capital verdict.
(4) Israel’s court must hear at least two credible witnesses  to issue a Death Verdict. .
(5) Israel Court can’t execute a person unless warned before the crime.

These laws made the death penalty extremely rare in Jewish courts. The Talmud says that even one case in seventy years was rare.  .

Thou shall not – kill?”
This verse in the Ten Commandment is usually mistranslated as “Thou shall not kill,”  implying that ANY killing is forbidden, including the execution of a murderer. This  erroneous interpretation has been used – even in the USA- as an argument against  Capital Punishment. .

But the Hebrew text says “Thou shall not murder!” – warning the murderer.  The Torah prescribes the death penalty for the murderer in the Rainbow Covenant of Noah, saying:

“Whoever shed the blood of a Man,
By Man shall his own blood be shed.”
(Genesis 9: 6)

Here the  verse sanctions the execution of a murderer by the human court (by proper procedure) o


2: New Challenges on Earth


Transition from Eden to Earth
Having lost Eden because of transgressing IDOLATRY (eating the fruit) and ADULTERY (the Woman cohabiting with the Serpent), the nascent human family stumbled over the next Commandment on the list – BLOODSHED.  Indeed, here on Earth,  when they faced the Angel of Death,  BLOODSHED became relevant and “activated.”

As we see,  the Torah presents the Commandments through the Book of Genesis ONE BY ONE. And will continue doing so till the end of the Book

Life on earth

We are about to learn the story of the First Murder, the prototype of all murders.   Every point in the story is important, laying out the background for the BLOODSHED.  Every murder has a story behind it

The Torah describes the first human experience on Earth 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, their verdicts were as follows
The woman would suffer menstrual pains and the sorrow of labor
The Male, Adam, would work hard – “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: 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.   In virtual Eden they functioned theoretically, but on Earth he “knew” her intimately and passionately.  And Passion  often  leads to  BLOODSHED.

4. Passion for BLOODSHED

This dramatic exposure to Death all around them, made them fascinated with their own ability to take life away. The act of killing, after all, can arouse a magical sense of godly power.
You can see that fascination with BLOODSHED and DEATH in the inscriptions that Cave Man left on his walls. In these artistic paintings the Cave Man expressed his fascination with scenes of hunting and fighting for life. ng.
You can see this fascination with Death in the way that warriors decorate themselves and their weapons. You can still see this  fascination in the way they dance with daggers and swords. .
And you can still see our fascination with death, the way we depict it on our  silver screens.

You can see it in the way young men flock to join ISIS.

As long they lived in Eden under the Tree of Life, BLOODSHED was not possible. The Commandment against BLOODSHED was theoretical (on the levels of khohma and Binah.)
But on Earth , being fascinated with taking life away, BLOODSHED became relevant, real, (on the level of daat.)

Fascination with Cruelty and Evil
And with the option to commit BLOODSHED, CRUELTY surfaced to the open, and with it the fascination with Evil that is the opposite of the values of YHVH.


5: The option and passion for OWNERSHIP


She named him Cain
In addition to BLOODSHED and CRUELTY,  Adam and Eve became fascinated on Earth with OWNERSHIP,   something they did not have back in Eden.  ON Earth, as G-d had told them, Adam would earn  his livelihood by the seat of his face.   On Earth, one OWNS things he produces.

Eve expressed her fascination with OWNERSHIP in the name she gave to her firstborn child Cain, for she said  :

And she conceived and bore Cain, for she said,

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

Like all new mothers, Eve expresses her fascinations and expectations in the name she gave her firstborn son, Cain.

This is MY child!
The name  ‘Cain’ is rooted in the Hebrew verb Ca’no, ’to purchase.’  She proudly said: ‘I have purchased a son, a man.”   I’ve acquired him by my labor.  This little man is  mine!

Her husband could own his produce by the sweat of his labor

She could own her child by the pains of her labor

No wonder that ,later, Cain and Able would bring gifts to YHVH – from their  own products.


And with this new notion ability to own, came also the ability to STEAL.
Thus on Earth, both BLOODSHED (Adam’s 3rd)  and THEFT(Adam’s 4th)  became “activated” – relevant to their lives.

Here BLOODSHED and THEFT are intertwined. In fact, Noah’s Flood would later come because of what the Torah   calls “hamas” – a deadly mixture of BLOODSHED and THEFT.

THEFT includes monetary stealing,, embezzlement,   mugging and abduction


Ownership incites Jealousy
But  if something is mine, it is not yours.
If she iis my mother, she is not yours
If She is my G-d, She is not yours.

What a prelude to the first murder!


6: I have purchased “Man with YHVH”


Y-H-V-H is mine!
Eve named her son Cain because, she said, ” I have purchased a man with YHVH.’  In her giving childbirth , she acquired not only a son but also the awareness of YHVH.  As it says:

“And she conceived and bore,  Cain, for she said:
I have purchased (acquired) a Man with YHVH!” (Genesis 4:1)

YHVH appears alone, the first time ever
One may not notice it in a casual reading, but here YHVH’S Name appears alone, the first time ever, with no ELKM by Her side! (Rabbi  Bachye) .

How true! In Eden, YHVH appears only as YHVH-ELKM, the two Attributes side by side, like two Cherubs holding wing against Wing.  But  here on Earth, in Eve’s words, YHVH appears alone.  Eve acquired YHVH perception in full, by her  giving birth to a child, She “purchased” a man (son) and YHVH.

How? Why Eve?

Eve must have had an harsh and painful labor, as the CREATOR had told her. ’ She must have even faced the Angle of Death.
But after giving birth, holding her first baby in her bosom,  her face flushed with crimson red and her blood still flooded with a gush of hormones, Eve must have felt a surge of happiness, love, compassion and a hope for her  newborn son, as well as to all Mankind.

She felt, the first time what YHVH, our MOTHER IN HEAVENS,  feels about us!

Eve was the first human who “knew” Y-H-V-H in intimately and passionately. Back in Eden, she could never have had such a feeling. She therefore named her son ‘Cain’ for she said: “I have acquired a man with YHVH.”  She acquired a new awareness of YHVH, that she could never had before.

Her husband? He could sympathize with her, at best.  But he could never acquire the same feeling for YHVH that our mother Eve had.

Indeed, the Hebrew word for Mercy, ra-cha-mim, comes from rachem, a womb.   .

And YHVH is mine!”- she said, “I’ve purchased YHVH. ” YHVH is MY G-d.  Here she attached the sense of ownership to Love of G-d.  We love what we own.

It is like a child holding his mother skirt, proudly telling everyone: This is My Mother!
But there is a trap here – if  YHVH is My Mother, My G-d, She is not yours!

How many people in history died because of that claim!


7: My son the priest


 “And she named him Cain for she said,

I’ve bought a man with YHVH”

She appointed her son
My firstborn child, she also said, will ‘purchase Man with YHVH,’  He will connect Mankind with YHVH.  In other words, Cain would serve as Mankind first, firstborn priest.
Cain would invite YHVH to dwell inside the human heart.
Cain would unite YHVH and ELKM in his heart.

 A paradox? – Cain, a male, would be a priest of an entity he himself would never be able to feel- YHVH.  Yes, as males we may all fell compassion and mercy and forgiveness, but not as deeply as a mother who just has given labor to her firstborn child.



8: Gradual Awareness of YHVH


By this, the entrance of YHVH to our world has taken a drastic step forwards. Thus – :

 In Genesis Chapter One, YHVH appears only at the end of the Chapter and only hidden, as an acronym .  .

Then, in the story of Eden, YHVH appears in the text the first time in her open name, yet only side by side with ELKM, as YHVH ELKM.

Then on Earth, YHVH appears alone without ELKM, in Eve’s words.

She would later enter our world more openly on Sinai

Then Dwell  in the Holy Temple in between the Cherubs

From there She would enter each person’s heart. .


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, the killing of his own brother?

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