Home > Sermons > SERMON: Be Not Overly Righteous …

SERMON: Be Not Overly Righteous …

It’s the oldest mystery story in all of history … the questions it raises are 5734 years old. It’s possible – just possible – that only now do we have some hint to solving a question that has puzzled humanity in general, and Biblical commentators in particular, since the dawn of creation.

Today we began at the very beginning. “In the beginning, God created heaven and earth.” Shortly thereafter came Adam and Eve and certainly their lives raise many questions. But it’s the story of their children, Cain and Abel that still affects us to this day … the first murder in human history. How could one man kill another, in the Garden of Eden, no less? As if to complicate the question, how could it be a brother killing a brother? How is that possible? The rabbis, through their midrashic comments, add another layer of mystery to this first murder. How did it all come about? You remember? There were two brothers, Cain and Abel, both of whom offered sacrifices to the Almighty. What were the sacrifices? One brought the mipri ha-adamah from the fruits of the field. The other brought M’bchorot tzono from the finest of his sheep. Who brought which? Cain brought the fruits of the field, while Abel brought the animals … something Cain refused to do. Do you know why he refused? Our sages offer a fascinating explanation. Cain refused to sacrifice an animal because he couldn’t get himself to kill an animal, not even for the sake of God. Cain could not stand the thought of hurting even a small animal. And then what happened? Cain became the first murderer in history when he killed his brother Abel. READ MORE

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