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Behar - Shemita and Yovel: A Rectification of Kayin and Hevel

In this shiur, delivered in Tomer Devorah (last shiur of the year), Rav Burg explains how Shemita and Yovel rectify the sin of Kayin and Hevel. As one journeys through the story of Kayin and Hevel to Lemech and his wives and four children and finally to Shes and his ultimate descendant Noach it becomes clear that the narrative is about the loss of Tzelem Elokim and the dangers of living in an animal society. Ultimately a society that loses its awareness of its own Godliness will destroy itself. Shemita and Yovel bring us back to true freedom and restore our Godly dignity.


Behar - Shemita and Yovel: A Rectification of Kayin and Hevel



Leviticus 25:8-11

(8) You shall count off seven weeks of years—seven times seven years—so that the period of seven weeks of years gives you a total of forty-nine years. (9) Then you shall sound the horn loud; in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month—the Day of Atonement—you shall have the horn sounded throughout your land (10) and you shall hallow the fiftieth year. You shall proclaim release*release Others “liberty.” throughout the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee*jubilee Heb. yobel, “ram” or “ram’s horn.” for you: each of you shall return to your holding and each of you shall return to your family. (11) That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, neither shall you reap the aftergrowth or harvest the untrimmed vines,



ויקרא כ״ה:ח׳-י״א

(ח) וְסָפַרְתָּ֣ לְךָ֗ שֶׁ֚בַע שַׁבְּתֹ֣ת שָׁנִ֔ים שֶׁ֥בַע שָׁנִ֖ים שֶׁ֣בַע פְּעָמִ֑ים וְהָי֣וּ לְךָ֗ יְמֵי֙ שֶׁ֚בַע שַׁבְּתֹ֣ת הַשָּׁנִ֔ים תֵּ֥שַׁע וְאַרְבָּעִ֖ים שָׁנָֽה׃ (ט) וְהַֽעֲבַרְתָּ֞ שׁוֹפַ֤ר תְּרוּעָה֙ בַּחֹ֣דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִעִ֔י בֶּעָשׂ֖וֹר לַחֹ֑דֶשׁ בְּיוֹם֙ הַכִּפֻּרִ֔ים תַּעֲבִ֥ירוּ שׁוֹפָ֖ר בְּכׇל־אַרְצְכֶֽם׃ (י) וְקִדַּשְׁתֶּ֗ם אֵ֣ת שְׁנַ֤ת הַחֲמִשִּׁים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּקְרָאתֶ֥ם דְּר֛וֹר בָּאָ֖רֶץ לְכׇל־יֹשְׁבֶ֑יהָ יוֹבֵ֥ל הִוא֙ תִּהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֔ם וְשַׁבְתֶּ֗ם אִ֚ישׁ אֶל־אֲחֻזָּת֔וֹ וְאִ֥ישׁ אֶל־מִשְׁפַּחְתּ֖וֹ תָּשֻֽׁבוּ׃ (יא) יוֹבֵ֣ל הִ֗וא שְׁנַ֛ת הַחֲמִשִּׁ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה תִּהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם לֹ֣א תִזְרָ֔עוּ וְלֹ֤א תִקְצְרוּ֙ אֶת־סְפִיחֶ֔יהָ וְלֹ֥א תִבְצְר֖וּ אֶת־נְזִרֶֽיהָ׃



Shemitah is observed every seven years. During this seventh year, fields may not be worked and crops may not be harvested. The produce that grows spontaneously is shared by all. In addition, Shemitah cancels outstanding loans.

 

Yovel is observed at the completion of seven Shemitah cycles (the fiftieth year). Yovel is similar to Shemitah in regards to working the land. During Yovel, the land may not be worked; crops are not harvested; and produce is shared by all.

 

Two additional aspects to Yovel:

1. In Eretz Yisrael the land is redistributed to the descendants of those who initially conquered and possessed the land.

2. All Jewish slaves are freed.


Question:

1. What is the inner nature of Yovel?




Genesis 4:20-22

(20) Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who dwell in tents and amidst herds. (21) And the name of his brother was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all who play the lyre and the pipe. (22) As for Zillah, she bore Tubal-cain, who forged all implements of copper and iron. And the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.



בראשית ד׳:כ׳-כ״ב

(כ) וַתֵּ֥לֶד עָדָ֖ה אֶת־יָבָ֑ל ה֣וּא הָיָ֔ה אֲבִ֕י יֹשֵׁ֥ב אֹ֖הֶל וּמִקְנֶֽה׃ (כא) וְשֵׁ֥ם אָחִ֖יו יוּבָ֑ל ה֣וּא הָיָ֔ה אֲבִ֕י כׇּל־תֹּפֵ֥שׂ כִּנּ֖וֹר וְעוּגָֽב׃ (כב) וְצִלָּ֣ה גַם־הִ֗וא יָֽלְדָה֙ אֶת־תּ֣וּבַל קַ֔יִן לֹטֵ֕שׁ כׇּל־חֹרֵ֥שׁ נְחֹ֖שֶׁת וּבַרְזֶ֑ל וַֽאֲח֥וֹת תּֽוּבַל־קַ֖יִן נַֽעֲמָֽה׃



There seems to be a connection between Yaval, Yuval and Tuval to Yovel.

Still not convinced?



Genesis 4:13-15

(13) Cain said to יהוה, “My punishment is too great to bear! (14) Since You have banished me this day from the soil, and I must avoid Your presence and become a restless wanderer on earth—anyone who meets me may kill me!” (15) יהוה said to him, “I promise, if anyone kills Cain, sevenfold vengeance shall be exacted.” And יהוה put a mark on Cain, lest anyone who met him should kill him.



בראשית ד׳:י״ג-ט״ו

(יג) וַיֹּ֥אמֶר קַ֖יִן אֶל־יְהֹוָ֑ה גָּד֥וֹל עֲוֺנִ֖י מִנְּשֹֽׂא׃ (יד) הֵן֩ גֵּרַ֨שְׁתָּ אֹתִ֜י הַיּ֗וֹם מֵעַל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה וּמִפָּנֶ֖יךָ אֶסָּתֵ֑ר וְהָיִ֜יתִי נָ֤ע וָנָד֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וְהָיָ֥ה כׇל־מֹצְאִ֖י יַֽהַרְגֵֽנִי׃ (טו) וַיֹּ֧אמֶר ל֣וֹ יְהֹוָ֗ה לָכֵן֙ כׇּל־הֹרֵ֣ג קַ֔יִן שִׁבְעָתַ֖יִם יֻקָּ֑ם וַיָּ֨שֶׂם יְהֹוָ֤ה לְקַ֙יִן֙ א֔וֹת לְבִלְתִּ֥י הַכּוֹת־אֹת֖וֹ כׇּל־מֹצְאֽוֹ׃



Hashem promises sevenfold vengeance on anyone who kills Kayin (the great grandfather of Yaval, Yuval and Tuval). The number seven seems to be random but when we consider that it is closely connected with Yovel as Yovel is the 50th year after seven cycles of seven years perhaps it is not so random at all. 

Still not convinced?



Genesis 4:23-24

(23) And Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;

O wives of Lamech, give ear to my speech.

I have slain a person for wounding me,

And a lad for bruising me.

 (24) If Cain is avenged sevenfold,

Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”



בראשית ד׳:כ״ג-כ״ד

(כג) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לֶ֜מֶךְ לְנָשָׁ֗יו עָדָ֤ה וְצִלָּה֙ שְׁמַ֣עַן קוֹלִ֔י נְשֵׁ֣י לֶ֔מֶךְ הַאְזֵ֖נָּה אִמְרָתִ֑י כִּ֣י אִ֤ישׁ הָרַ֙גְתִּי֙ לְפִצְעִ֔י וְיֶ֖לֶד לְחַבֻּרָתִֽי׃ (כד) כִּ֥י שִׁבְעָתַ֖יִם יֻקַּם־קָ֑יִן וְלֶ֖מֶךְ שִׁבְעִ֥ים וְשִׁבְעָֽה׃



Lemech kills a man and a child and says that he will be avenged seventy seven fold. The number seven continues to come up in connection with this story. 

Question:

What is the connection between Yovel and the story of Kayin and Hevel / Lemech and his children?


Examining The Story of Kayin and Hevel:



Genesis 4:13-15

(13) Cain said to יהוה, “My punishment is too great to bear! (14) Since You have banished me this day from the soil, and I must avoid Your presence and become a restless wanderer on earth—anyone who meets me may kill me!” (15) יהוה said to him, “I promise, if anyone kills Cain, sevenfold vengeance shall be exacted.” And יהוה put a mark on Cain, lest anyone who met him should kill him.



בראשית ד׳:י״ג-ט״ו

(יג) וַיֹּ֥אמֶר קַ֖יִן אֶל־יְהֹוָ֑ה גָּד֥וֹל עֲוֺנִ֖י מִנְּשֹֽׂא׃ (יד) הֵן֩ גֵּרַ֨שְׁתָּ אֹתִ֜י הַיּ֗וֹם מֵעַל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה וּמִפָּנֶ֖יךָ אֶסָּתֵ֑ר וְהָיִ֜יתִי נָ֤ע וָנָד֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וְהָיָ֥ה כׇל־מֹצְאִ֖י יַֽהַרְגֵֽנִי׃ (טו) וַיֹּ֧אמֶר ל֣וֹ יְהֹוָ֗ה לָכֵן֙ כׇּל־הֹרֵ֣ג קַ֔יִן שִׁבְעָתַ֖יִם יֻקָּ֑ם וַיָּ֨שֶׂם יְהֹוָ֤ה לְקַ֙יִן֙ א֔וֹת לְבִלְתִּ֥י הַכּוֹת־אֹת֖וֹ כׇּל־מֹצְאֽוֹ׃



Questions:

1. Why does Kayin fear being killed? Why does becoming a wanderer make you vulnerable?

2. If Kayin is afraid of being killed, why does someone avenging him help? He will still be dead. 

3. What is the inner meaning of the seven fold vengeance? 

4. Why is Hashem promising that Kayin's death will be avenged at all? What did Kayin do to deserve this? Hevel's death is not avenged and certainly not sevenfold. 



(ג) וישם ה' לקין אות. חָקַק לוֹ אוֹת מִשְּׁמוֹ בְּמִצְחוֹ. ס"א דָּבָר אַחֵר, כָּל מוֹצְאִי יַהַרְגֵנִי, הַבְּהֵמוֹת וְהַחַיּוֹת, אֲבָל בְּנֵי אָדָם עֲדַיִן לֹא הָיוּ שֶׁיִּירָא מֵהֶם, רַק אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ, וּמֵהֶם לֹא הָיָה יָרֵא שֶׁיַּהַרְגוּהוּ, אֶלָּא אָמַר עַד עַכְשָׁו הָיָה פַּחְדָּתִי עַל כָּל הַחַיּוֹת כְּמֹ"שֶׁ וּמוֹרַאֲכֶם וְגוֹ', וְעַכְשָׁו בִּשְׁבִיל עָוֹן זֶה לֹא יִירְאוּ מִמֶּנִּי הַחַיּוֹת וְיַהַרְגוּנִי, מִיָּד וַיָּשֶׂם ה' לְקַיִן אוֹת – הֶחֱזִיר אֶת מוֹרָאוֹ עַל הַחַיּוֹת:


(3) וישם ה' לקין אות AND THE LORD SET A SIGN FOR CAIN — He inscribed on his forehead a letter of His Divine Name (Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 21). Other editions of Rashi add the following: another interpretation of “Whoever will find me will slay me”: this refers to cattle and beasts, since there were then no human beings in the world of whom he might be afraid except his father and mother, and, of course, he did not fear that they would slay him. He, therefore, said, “Until now the fear of me was upon all animals — as it is written”, (Genesis 9:2) “And the fear of you shall be upon all beasts of the field” etc. — now, however, because of my sin the animals will no longer fear me and will kill me. God immediately set a sign for Cain, viz., he again made the animals be in fear of him.


Question:

Kayin's punishment was to wander the earth, a nomad with no permanent home, and he struggle to work the land. There is no mention of being killed by animals. Where does Kayin see that because of his sin the animals will no longer fear him?



Genesis 4:17

(17) Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he then founded a city, and named the city after his son Enoch.



בראשית ד׳:י״ז

(יז) וַיֵּ֤דַע קַ֙יִן֙ אֶת־אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וַתַּ֖הַר וַתֵּ֣לֶד אֶת־חֲנ֑וֹךְ וַֽיְהִי֙ בֹּ֣נֶה עִ֔יר וַיִּקְרָא֙ שֵׁ֣ם הָעִ֔יר כְּשֵׁ֖ם בְּנ֥וֹ חֲנֽוֹךְ׃




Rashi on Genesis 4:17:1

(1) ויהי AND HE WAS— Cain was, not Enoch — בונה עיר BUILDING A CITY ויקרא שם העיר AND HE CALLED THE NAME OF THE CITY (named the city) as a memorial of his son — חנוך.



רש"י על בראשית ד׳:י״ז:א׳

(א) ויהי קין בונה עיר ויקרא שם העיר לְזֵכֶר בְּנוֹ חֲנוֹךְ:



Questions:

1. Why does Kayin name his son Chanoch?

2. Why does Kayin build a city?

3. What is the significance of naming the city in memory of Chanoch?


Lemech's children:



Genesis 4:20-22

(20) Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who dwell in tents and amidst herds. (21) And the name of his brother was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all who play the lyre and the pipe. (22) As for Zillah, she bore Tubal-cain, who forged all implements of copper and iron. And the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.



בראשית ד׳:כ׳-כ״ב

(כ) וַתֵּ֥לֶד עָדָ֖ה אֶת־יָבָ֑ל ה֣וּא הָיָ֔ה אֲבִ֕י יֹשֵׁ֥ב אֹ֖הֶל וּמִקְנֶֽה׃ (כא) וְשֵׁ֥ם אָחִ֖יו יוּבָ֑ל ה֣וּא הָיָ֔ה אֲבִ֕י כׇּל־תֹּפֵ֥שׂ כִּנּ֖וֹר וְעוּגָֽב׃ (כב) וְצִלָּ֣ה גַם־הִ֗וא יָֽלְדָה֙ אֶת־תּ֣וּבַל קַ֔יִן לֹטֵ֕שׁ כׇּל־חֹרֵ֥שׁ נְחֹ֖שֶׁת וּבַרְזֶ֑ל וַֽאֲח֥וֹת תּֽוּבַל־קַ֖יִן נַֽעֲמָֽה׃



Question:

Why is it important that we know the professions of Lemech's children? In what was does it enhance the narrative?


Lemech's strange speech:



Genesis 4:23-24

(23) And Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;

O wives of Lamech, give ear to my speech.

I have slain a person for wounding me,

And a lad for bruising me.

 (24) If Cain is avenged sevenfold,

Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”



בראשית ד׳:כ״ג-כ״ד

(כג) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לֶ֜מֶךְ לְנָשָׁ֗יו עָדָ֤ה וְצִלָּה֙ שְׁמַ֣עַן קוֹלִ֔י נְשֵׁ֣י לֶ֔מֶךְ הַאְזֵ֖נָּה אִמְרָתִ֑י כִּ֣י אִ֤ישׁ הָרַ֙גְתִּי֙ לְפִצְעִ֔י וְיֶ֖לֶד לְחַבֻּרָתִֽי׃ (כד) כִּ֥י שִׁבְעָתַ֖יִם יֻקַּם־קָ֑יִן וְלֶ֖מֶךְ שִׁבְעִ֥ים וְשִׁבְעָֽה׃



Questions:

1. Who did Lemech kill? Which man and which child?

2. Why is Lemech telling this to his wives?

3. What does any of this have to do with Kayin?

4. What is the meaning of if Kayin avenged sevenfold then Lemech is avenged seventy sevenfold? What is the significance of the number seventy seven other than it seemingly has some bearing to the sevenfold vengeance of Kayin?



Bereshit Rabbah 22:12

Rav said: He gave him [Cain] a dog. Abba Yosei ben Kesari said: He caused a horn to sprout forth for him.



בראשית רבה כ״ב:י״ב

רַב אָמַר כֶּלֶב מָסַר לוֹ. אַבָּא יוֹסֵי בֶּן קֵסָרִי אָמַר קֶרֶן הִצְמִיחַ לוֹ.



(ב) וְכֵיצַד נֶהֱרַג, קַיִן נַעֲשָׂה מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת מֵאָה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וְהוּא נָע וָנָד בַּקְּלָלָה. לֶמֶךְ בֶּן בְּנוֹ הָיָה שְׁבִיעִי לַדּוֹרוֹת וְסוּמָא, הָיָה יוֹצֵא לָצוּד וְהָיָה בְנוֹ אוֹחֲזוֹ בְיָדוֹ, כְּשֶׁהָיָה רוֹאֶה תִינוֹק חַיָּה, הָיָה אוֹמֵר לוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ: כְּמִין חַיָּה אֲנִי רוֹאֶה. מָתַח אֶת הַקֶּשֶׁת כְּנֶגְדּוֹ וְהָרַג אֶת קַיִן. רָאָה אוֹתוֹ תִינוֹק מֵרָחוֹק הָרוּג וְקֶרֶן בְּמִצְחוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ לְלֶמֶךְ, אָבִי, הֲרֵי דְמוּת אָדָם הָרוּג וְקֶרֶן בְּמִצְחוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ לֶמֶךְ, וַי לִי, זְקֵנִי הוּא. טָפַח שְׁתֵּי יָדָיו בַּחֲרָטָה וְנָגַע בְּרֹאשׁ הַתִּינוֹק וַהֲרָגוֹ בְשׁוֹגֵג, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כִּי אִישׁ הָרַגְתִּי לְפִצְעִי וְיֶלֶד לְחַבֻּרָתִי.


(2) How was Cain slain? For one hundred and thirty years, Cain became an angel of death, wandering and roaming about, accursed. Lamech, his descendant in the seventh generation, who was blind, would go hunting led about by his young son. At the sight of game, the lad would apprise his father of its whereabouts. One time the lad said to his father: “I see some kind of beast in the distance.” Lamech sent his arrow in that direction, and Cain was slain. As they approached the corpse, the lad saw a horn protruding from the forehead of the slain creature, and he said to his father: “The corpse resembles a man, but a horn protrudes from its forehead.” Thereupon, Lamech cried out: “Woe is me, it is my grandfather.” In his grief, he clasped his hands together, and accidentally struck the child’s head, killing him. As it is said: I can slay a man by a wound of mine and a child by a strike of mine (Gen. 4:23).


Questions:

1. What's the significance of Kayin having a horn?

2. What is the significance of Kayin having a dog?

 

Answer:

Since people were created in the image of G‑d, animals were afraid of them. In killing Hevel, Kayin lost his Tzelem Elokim. A Godly person has a deep sense of belonging. Kayin is now a wanderer. He struggles to work the land. Post sin Kayin is more like an animal than a human.

 

Now that he is in the animal world he fears that he will be killed by an animal. And, as a human being who lacks animal strength, he is particularly subject to being killed. 

Hashem, not as a reward but as a natural consequence of Kayin's actions, gives Kayin a horn. He has lost his human dignity and now belongs to the animal world. 

Tuval Kayin sees something like an animal (כְּמִין חַיָּה) because that's what Kayin was. His existence was somewhere between the animal and the human world. 

 

Questions:

1. Why is Lemech the hunter if he is blind?!?

2. What is the significance of the fact that it is Lemech specifically who killed Kayin?



(א) אבי ישב אהל ומקנה. הוּא הָיָה הָרִאשׁוֹן לְרוֹעֵי בְהֵמוֹת בַּמִּדְבָּרוֹת, יוֹשֵׁב אֹהָלִים חֹדֶשׁ כָּאן וְחֹדֶשׁ כָּאן בִּשְׁבִיל מִרְעֵה צֹאנוֹ, וּכְשֶׁכָּלֶה הַמִּרְעֶה בְּמָקוֹם זֶה הוֹלֵךְ וְתוֹקֵעַ אָהֳלוֹ בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר. וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה בּוֹנֶה בָתִּים לַעֲ"זָ, כְּמָה דְּאַתְּ אָמַר סֵמֶל הַקִּנְאָה הַמַּקְנֶה (יחזקאל ח'), וְכֵן אָחִיו תּוֹפֵשׂ כִּנּוֹר וְעוּגָב לְזַמֵּר לַעֲ"זָ:


(1) אבי יושב אהל ומקנה THE FATHER OF SUCH AS ABIDE IN TENTS AND OF SUCH THAT HAVE CATTLE — He was the first of those who pastured cattle, and he dwelt in tents, a month here and a month there, on account of the pasture necessary for his sheep; for when the grass was finished in one place he went away and pitched his tent in another place. There is a Midrashic statement (Genesis Rabbah 23:3) that he built temples for idol worship, (for ומקנה may be read ומקנה –– provoking jealousy), just as you say, (Ezekiel 8:3) "the image of jealousy which provoketh God to jealousy" (המקנה); similarly his brother handled the harp and guitar to make music for idol worship. 



Rashi on Genesis 4:22:1

(1) תובל קין He refined Cain’s handicraft. The word תובל is connected in meaning with תבלין (spices which give a refined and improved taste to food); he refined and improved the work of Cain by providing weapons for murderers (Genesis Rabbah 23:3).



רש"י על בראשית ד׳:כ״ב:א׳

(א) תובל קין. תּוֹבֵל אֻמָּנֻתוֹ שֶׁל קַיִן, תּוּבָל לְשׁוֹן תַּבְלִין, תִּבֵּל וְהִתְקִין אֻמָּנוּתוֹ שֶׁל קַיִן לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּלֵי זַיִן לָרוֹצְחִים:



Original Questions:

1. Why does Kayin name his son Chanoch?

2. Why does Kayin build a city?

3. What is the significance of naming the city in memory of Chanoch?

 

Hashem did not promise that Kayin would be protect him, but rather that he would be avenged. This is the nature of the world. If you bring violence into the world, eventually that very violence will be your undoing. In a world of animals (lacking Godly dignity) violence is assured. Kayin brought violence into the world and now he pays the price for that in the form of his own progeny.

 

Kayin understood that he had brought violence to the world. He raised his son to learn the lesson (Chanoch) of his mistake (create a violent world and eventually you will pay the price in the form of the very violence you created). Even after Chanoch passed on, a city was built in his memory so that those who lived there would inculcate the lesson about the dangers of violence. This is our response to sin. To educate and build as a course correction.

 

The Significance of Seven: Completion (Full circle)

 

Original Question:

Why is it important that we know the professions of Lemech's children? In what was does it enhance the narrative?

 

Comparing Kayin And Hevel To Lemech's Children Seven Generations Later:

Analyzing Kayin and Hevel:

Hevel - Shepherd

Kayin - Farmer / Murderer

Analyzing Lemech's Children:

Yaval (Hevel) - Pastured cattle and dwelled in tents (Rashi - Medrash - he built houses for Avodah Zarah)

Yuval (Hevel) - musical instruments (For Avodah Zarah)

Tuval Kayin (Kayin) - forged implements of copper and iron (Rashi: makes weaponry for murder. Kayin killed with his hands. Tuval Kayin perfected the craft of murder and made actual weapons. )

 

Lesson: We do not always control what we set in motion. Kayin killed Hevel and lost his Godly dignity. Seven generations later his great grandchildren act with no dignity. They build houses of idolatry, play music for idol worship and build weapons to murder others.

 

Seven generations later Lemech too is a murderer of sorts. Even when he is blind he continues to hunt. To kill is a part of his nature even when he is not truly capable of hunting. He is led by his son (the perfected Kayin) who aids him in the murder of his own ancestor. Kayins sin is the cause of his own demise. 

 

Original Questions:

1. Who did Lemech kill? Which man and which child?

2. Why is Lemech telling this to his wives?

3. What does any of this have to do with Kayin?

4. What is the meaning of if Kayin avenged sevenfold then Lemech is avenged seventy sevenfold? What is the significance of the number seventy seven other than it seemingly has some bearing to the sevenfold vengeance of Kayin?

 

Answer:

Lemech is telling his wives that the cycle of violence in inevitable. Just as Kayin's sin came back to kill him so too will I one day pay the price for my violence and it will be an ever greater reprisal because that is how the cycle of violence works. No wonder that the very next story in the Torah is the story of the world being destroyed by the flood as a result of mankind's descent into a society of anarchy.


The response of Lemech's wives:



Bereshit Rabbah 23:2

“Lemekh took for himself two wives; the name of one was Ada, and the name of the other Tzila” (Genesis 4:20). Rabbi Azarya said in the name of Rabbi Yehuda bar Simon: This is what the people of the generation of the Flood would do: Each one would take two wives for himself, one for procreation and one for intercourse. The one that was designated for procreation would sit as though she were a widow in her lifetime [variant reading: in the life of her husband]. The one that was designated for intercourse, he would give her a sterility potion so she would not bear children, and she would sit by him adorned like a harlot. That is what is written: “He consorts with the barren who will not give birth, and to the widow he will do no good” (Job 24:21). You may know that it is so, as Lemekh was the most outstanding among them and he took two wives. That is what is written: “Lemekh took for himself two wives; the name of one was Ada” – as she was removed [ada] from him; “and the name of the other Tzila” – as she was sitting in his shadow [tzilo].



בראשית רבה כ״ג:ב׳

וַיִּקַּח לוֹ לֶמֶךְ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים שֵׁם הָאַחַת עָדָה וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִית צִלָּה, אָמַר רַבִּי עֲזַרְיָה בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בַּר סִימוֹן כָּךְ הָיוּ אַנְשֵׁי דּוֹר הַמַּבּוּל עוֹשִׂין, הָיָה אֶחָד מֵהֶן לוֹקֵחַ לוֹ שְׁתַּיִם, אַחַת לִפְרִיָּה וּרְבִיָּה וְאַחַת לְתַשְׁמִישׁ, זוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה לִפְרִיָּה וּרְבִיָּה הָיְתָה יוֹשֶׁבֶת כְּאִלּוּ אַלְמָנָה בְּחַיֶּיהָ [נסח אחר: בחיי בעלה], וְזוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה לְתַשְׁמִישׁ הָיָה מַשְׁקָהּ כּוֹס שֶׁל עֲקָרִים שֶׁלֹא תֵלֵד, וְהָיְתָה יוֹשֶׁבֶת אֶצְלוֹ מְקֻשֶּׁטֶת כְּזוֹנָה, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (איוב כד, כא): רֹעֶה עֲקָרָה לֹא תֵלֵד וְאַלְמָנָה לֹא יְיֵטִיב, תֵּדַע לָךְ שֶׁכֵּן שֶׁהֲרֵי הַבָּרוּר שֶׁבָּהֶן הָיָה לֶמֶךְ וְלָקַח לוֹ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב: וַיִּקַּח לוֹ לֶמֶךְ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים, שֵׁם הָאַחַת עָדָה, דְּעָדָה מִנֵּיהּ, וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִית צִלָּה, שֶׁהָיְתָה יוֹשֶׁבֶת בְּצִלּוֹ. 



Note the animalistic fashion in which Lemech and his entire generation (specifically called the generation of the flood) treat their wives. Not with the dignity of an Ezer Knegdo but simply to provide a useful function. Kayin's act of murder brings the loss of Tzelem Elokim which ultimately leads to the loss of dignity in the family unit. In other words, we can draw a straight line from Kayin murdering Hevel and the descent of the entire generation into chaos which would ultimately lead to their demise in the flood.   



(ד) וַיֹּאמֶר לֶמֶךְ לְנָשָׁיו עָדָה וְצִלָּה שְׁמַעַן קוֹלִי (בראשית ד, כג), רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בַּר חֲנִינָא אָמַר תְּבָעָן לְתַשְׁמִישׁ, אָמְרוּ לוֹ לְמָחָר הַמַּבּוּל בָּא, נִשְׁמַע לְךָ וְנִהְיֶה פָּרוֹת וְרָבוֹת לִמְאֵרָה… אָמַר לָהֶן אִיתָא נֵיזֵיל גַּבֵּי אָדָם, אֲזַלּוּן לְגַבֵּי אָדָם, אָמַר לָהֶם עֲשׂוּ אַתֶּם שֶׁלָּכֶם וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עוֹשֶׂה אֶת שֶׁלּוֹ. וְאָמְרִין לֵיהּ אַסְיָא אַסֵּי חִגְרְתָךְ, כְּלוּם פָּרַשְׁתָּ מֵחַוָּה הֲרֵי ק"ל שָׁנָה אֶלָּא כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹא תַּעֲמִיד מִמֶּנָּהּ בֵּן, אֶתְמְהָא, כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמַע כֵּן נִזְקָק לְהַעֲמִיד תּוֹלָדוֹת. 


(4) “Lemekh said to his wives, Ada and Tzila: Hear my voice, wives of Lemekh, listen to my speech, for have I slain a man for my wound or a child for my injury?” (Genesis 4:23)

“Lemekh said to his wives, Ada and Tzila: Hear my voice.” Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina said: He propositioned them for intercourse, but they said to him: ‘Tomorrow the Flood is coming [to destroy all mankind]. Shall we heed you and bring forth children only to be cursed?’... He [Lemekh] said to them: ‘Let us go to Adam.’ They went to Adam [for consultation]. He said to them: ‘You do yours and the Holy One blessed be He will do His.’ You must fulfill your duty to procreate, without regard to what God will do later. They said to him: ‘Doctor, heal your own lameness. Have you yourself not separated from Eve for a hundred and thirty years so that you should not produce a son from her?’ This was a rhetorical question. When he heard this, he consorted [with Eve] to produce offspring.


Lemech's wives refuse to bring children into the world just to be cursed. They understand that the world's descent into animalism will bring about the flood. Adam guides them to continue having children though he has separated from Chava since his sin. Lemech's wives convince Adam to change his ways and look what comes next:




Genesis 4:23-25

(23) And Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;

O wives of Lamech, give ear to my speech.

I have slain a person for wounding me,

And a lad for bruising me.

 (24) If Cain is avenged sevenfold,

Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” (25) Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, meaning, “God has provided me with*provided me with Or “established for me”; Heb. shath, connected with “Seth.” another offspring in place of Abel,” for Cain had killed him.



בראשית ד׳:כ״ג-כ״ה

(כג) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לֶ֜מֶךְ לְנָשָׁ֗יו עָדָ֤ה וְצִלָּה֙ שְׁמַ֣עַן קוֹלִ֔י נְשֵׁ֣י לֶ֔מֶךְ הַאְזֵ֖נָּה אִמְרָתִ֑י כִּ֣י אִ֤ישׁ הָרַ֙גְתִּי֙ לְפִצְעִ֔י וְיֶ֖לֶד לְחַבֻּרָתִֽי׃ (כד) כִּ֥י שִׁבְעָתַ֖יִם יֻקַּם־קָ֑יִן וְלֶ֖מֶךְ שִׁבְעִ֥ים וְשִׁבְעָֽה׃ (כה) וַיֵּ֨דַע אָדָ֥ם עוֹד֙ אֶת־אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֔ן וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ שֵׁ֑ת כִּ֣י שָֽׁת־לִ֤י אֱלֹהִים֙ זֶ֣רַע אַחֵ֔ר תַּ֣חַת הֶ֔בֶל כִּ֥י הֲרָג֖וֹ קָֽיִן׃



Based on the Medrash above, we can now understand the connection between the murder of Kayin and Tuval Kayin and the birth of Shes.

 

The Torah tells us he is considered a replacement for Hevel.



Genesis 5:1

(1) This is the record of Adam’s line.—When God created humankind, it was made in the likeness of God;



בראשית ה׳:א׳

(א) זֶ֣ה סֵ֔פֶר תּוֹלְדֹ֖ת אָדָ֑ם בְּי֗וֹם בְּרֹ֤א אֱלֹהִים֙ אָדָ֔ם בִּדְמ֥וּת אֱלֹהִ֖ים עָשָׂ֥ה אֹתֽוֹ׃



In introducing the descendants of Shes the Torah says these are the generations of Adam. Hevel never had children and all of Kayin's progeny are wiped out in the flood. Only through Noach, the righteous descendant of Shes, will Adam'c family survive.


The descendants of Shes mirror the descendants of Kayin

 

Kayin - (descendant) Mesushael

Shes - (descendant) Mesushelech

 

Kayin - (child) Chanoch

Shes- (descendant)

 

Shes (descendant) - Keinan which is some variation of Kayin

 

Kayin - (descendant) Lemech

Shes - (7th generation descendant) - Lemech (who lives 777 years!)

Note: In the seventh generation both stories come to an apex. Kayin's family continues to bring death to the world and Shes family brings life to the world as Lemech (the second) fathers Noach who will build the Teiva and save the world.



Bereshit Rabbah 23:3

“And the sister of Tuval Cain was Naama.” Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: Naama was Noah’s wife. Why did they call her Naama? It is because her actions were pleasing [ne’imim]. The Rabbis say: Naama was someone else, [not Noah’s wife]. And why did they call her Naama? It is because she played the tambourine pleasantly [man’emet] for idol worship.



בראשית רבה כ״ג:ג׳

וַאֲחוֹת תּוּבַל קַיִן נַעֲמָה, אָמַר רַבִּי אַבָּא בַּר כַּהֲנָא, נַעֲמָה אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁל נֹחַ הָיְתָה, לָמָּה הָיוּ קוֹרִין אוֹתָהּ נַעֲמָה, שֶׁהָיוּ מַעֲשֶׂיהָ נְעִימִים. וְרַבָּנָן אָמְרֵי נַעֲמָה אַחֶרֶת הָיְתָה, וְלָמָּה הָיוּ קוֹרִין אוֹתָהּ נַעֲמָה, שֶׁהָיְתָה מַנְעֶמֶת בְּתֹף לַעֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים. 



The Machlokes in the Medrash depends on how we see Kayin.

If Naama is idolatrous like her brothers then she is the heir of Kayin.

If in fact Naama was a descendant of Kayin then this is the spark of Godliness that inheres in all things. Humanity's future is the mix of Kayin and Shes (Hevel).



Genesis 9:20

(20) Noah, a man of the soil was the first to plant a vineyard.



בראשית ט׳:כ׳

(כ) וַיָּ֥חֶל נֹ֖חַ אִ֣ישׁ הָֽאֲדָמָ֑ה וַיִּטַּ֖ע כָּֽרֶם׃



Sanhedrin 70a:18

 Rav and Shmuel disagreed: One says that Ham castrated Noah and one says that Ham sodomized him.


סנהדרין ע׳ א:י״ח

רב ושמואל חד אמר סרסו וח"א רבעו



According to the Medrash Noach is the inventor of the plow which makes it easier to plant. But Kayin is the farmer not Hevel (Shes). In planting, Noach deviates from his family's legacy. No wonder that he plants a vineyard which leads to inappropriate intimacy. (Some suggest that the planting of a vineyard was a recreation of the Eitz HaDaas which may have been a grapevine.) We are right back to the animalistic world that was meant to have been destroyed. 

 

The flood was in the year 1656 after the creation of the world. The year 1657 was a shemittah year and therefore Noach's planting was inappropriate. 



Shemitah and Yovel as the restoration of Godly dignity.


Shemitah:

The land lays fallow as the farmer recognizes that it is Hashem who provides for him.

Produce is shared by all. Loans are canceled.


Yovel:

Kayin wandered the earth - all ancestral homes are returned to their original owners.

All slaves are freed. 


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