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What Is the Meaning of the Cain and Abel Bible Story?

What Is the Meaning of the Cain and Abel Bible Story?

The Beginning of Adam’s Separation into a Multitude of Sparks

When the Creator exiled him from the Garden of Eden, the “human in us” (Adam) stopped being a child and began to mature.

The maturation process is a period when we know we must correct our egoism, for we cannot live with it or to simply suppress it.

There is no immediate correction, as the “serpent” suggested. Instead, man must descend all the way down until he feels the full span of his ego and begs the Creator for help, realizing that he’s powerless to deal with it on his own.

“And the man knew Eve his wife.” This means the altruistic and egoistic desires merged in man. The result was a merging, or “giving birth,” to two desires: Cain and Abel.

This is the beginning of the descent. We see how a great egoistic desire that man could not deal with began to split into pieces.


The Separation and Struggle in Between the Two Desires

One desire, Abel, gravitates toward bestowal, toward the Creator. This is why it is written that he doesn’t till the ground, but “keeps sheep.” He can be the “guide” and lead the way to fertile pastures. Whom does he lead there? Man’s egoistic desires, which are ready to follow him, foretasting the future pleasures. It is precisely these desires that are called “sheep.”

The desire called “Abel” is also called the “right line.” The right line is an altruistic desire, an aspiration for the Creator without a trace of egoism. This desire is sent down to us from above, like an outstretched hand or a lowered ladder that we can climb to the Goal.

The desire called “Cain” is the left line. This is the exact opposite – an egoistic desire and an aspiration to use the bond with the Creator for one’s own fulfillment.

In the story about Cain and Abel, the distancing from the Creator is not yet complete. That is, there is no situation such as in our world, where the Creator is absolutely concealed, the mind contends that it’s all a sham, and that man ought to live only for himself.

Here we have a different picture. We are in a dialogue with the Creator: He is felt and the spiritual world is near, but the desires are different.

Abel has pure desires, the desire to bestow, to receive pleasure from delighting the Creator. It would appear that Cain also has the desire to bestow, but in his case he strives to win the Creator’s favor, to merit His attention, to acquire the spiritual world. He wants to receive all the Light and the infinite pleasure it contains, but only for himself.


Finding the “Golden” Middle Line

You must work on your egoistic desires, rather than suppress or try to eliminate them because not receiving isn’t an option for you. This is how you were created. You are required to ascend above them, to use them, to master your egoistic desires, i.e., to receive pleasure from delighting the Creator.

That is the state at which man must ultimately arrive. Therein lies the purpose of man’s creation. Otherwise his ego will rule over him, and the result of its reign will be all the things humanity is afflicted with today: war, death, and tragedies.

“And Cain spoke unto Abel his brother. And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”

What does the fratricide mean here? It means that the left line suppresses the right. In other words, the egoistic line asserts the following, “I’m the only one that’s useful around here; I act, I harvest, I till the land, and I should be the one to be rewarded for all this.”

The strength of the earth, the desire, lies precisely in the combination of the right and left lines, in finding “the golden mean,” where man delights in reception only when he thus bestows upon another. This is the only way we can remain in infinite bliss.

But if this combination doesn’t take place, i.e., if “Abel is killed,” the earth cannot yield strength, but actually drains it, as all the efforts you made become labor for your own ego, for the left line, for Cain. The ego can never be satiated.


Preparation for Merging the Many into a Single Whole

Cain’s sin and his fate marks the beginning of the story of humankind, the process in which your soul descends from the Creator to our world. The soul itself does not change throughout the process, but simply dons egoistic garments that conceal it, dampening its voice, its eternal bond with the Creator. Thus it transforms from the single, unified heart of Adam into myriad points of an infinite number of people.

The Creator always remains connected to the soul in the part we call the “point in the heart.” This is why there ultimately comes a time when you “hear” His voice once more, sensing a feeble luminescence bursting through the filters and barriers. That’s when you begin to aspire to return to the spiritual world, to the Creator, longing for the Garden of Eden.

Humanity begins to procreate, its numbers are growing, but you already know that all these “people” are really your egoistic desires. It is your mission to correct them, whereupon you will return once more to the one soul of Adam, having joined with it into a single whole.


Lifting the Weight by the Multitude

Why was the great egoistic desire shattered into myriad tiny, egoistic desires? It happened because it’s easier to correct myriad tiny desires than one great desire. By correcting them, we reassemble the one great desire and restore the one soul in the Garden of Eden.

There is an old parable of a king who wished to send a great fortune to his son in another kingdom. This presented the king with a dilemma: he knew his people were all thieves and there wasn’t anyone in the whole kingdom he could trust with so much wealth.

So after giving the matter some thought, he found a way.

The king exchanged all of his fortune into coins of minor value, dispersed them among his subjects, and tasked them with delivering them to his son in the neighboring kingdom.

Naturally, the people couldn’t be bothered with pocketing such a small sum; it was more important to showcase their loyalty and obedience to the king. Every one of them fulfilled his duty with honor, and the entire fortune reached its destination.

The Secrets of the Eternal Book“What Is the Meaning of the Cain and Abel Bible Story?” is based on the book, The Secrets of the Eternal Book: The Meaning of the Stories of the Pentateuch by Semion Vinokur.

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Beresheet (In the Beginning) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion


Genesis, 1:1 – 6:8
This Week’s Torah Portion | September 22 – September 28, 2013 – Tishrei 18 – Tishrei 24, 5774

In A Nutshell

Beresheet (In the Beginning) is the first portion in the Torah (Pentateuch). It tells the story of the creation of the world in six days, and the rest on the seventh day. It talks about the creation of the man, his arrival at the Garden of Eden, and the creation of the woman. The portion also narrates the story of the sin of the tree of knowledge, Cain and Abel, the generations from Cain to Lamech, the ten generations from Adam to Noah, the corruption that engulfed their generations, and the renewed hope that emerged with the birth of Noah.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Beresheet contains more stories than any other portion in the Torah. In many ways it is also the deepest of the portions, as it discusses the basis of our being—the creation of the soul.

The common soul was created out of the will to receive delight and pleasure, or simply, “the will to receive.” That will is the soul’s core, and it’s affected by six qualities: Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod. These qualities penetrated the substance—the will to receive—and designed it in synchrony with the upper force, the Creator. The reason why man is called Adam is that the word Adam comes from the word Adamah, from the verse, Adameh la Elyon (“I will be like the most high,” Isaiah, 14:14), since he is similar to the Creator, the sublime bestowal, sublime love, to that upper force that gave birth to it.

Adam is the structure of the soul that is equal in form to the Creator and is in Dvekut [adhesion] with Him in the Garden of Eden. A garden means “desire.” The garden is the part of the creature, Adam’s substance—the will to receive. Eden marks the degree of bestowal, degree of Bina. Adam, who is on the degree of Bina, is in the Garden of Eden.

This does not pertain to our world or to the universe we know, but rather to the common soul that the Creator created. From the very beginning, the common soul undergoes a special preparation, the sin, because at its inception it was adhered to the upper force, which means that it had no authority of its own, nothing to its name, or any sense of independent existence. In a sense it is like an embryo in its mother’s womb—on the one hand it exists, on the other hand it is part of its mother, and each of its actions is ruled by its superior.

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What Is the Meaning of the Story of Noah in the Bible?

What Is the Meaning of the Story of Noah in the Bible?

“Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted; Noah walked with God.”

So begins the chapter on Noah, immediately confusing the reader with what appears to be a straightforward story about our world.

However, it confuses only those who aren’t yet ready to read the Bible differently, still finding the simple historical narrative about a person named Noah satisfactory.

Ask yourself, “Where am I in this story of Noah?” Or better yet, “What is the meaning of my inner Noah?” You must seek only one approach to the contents of this book: “Everything I read here is about me.” Noah, the righteous, his wife, kids, and all the animals, the ark and the Tower of Babel all exist within me. They are forces, desires that govern my inner and outer worlds. All I have to do is get to them and sense them, and the gates to all the secrets will open for me.


Finding the Point of Noah in the Midst of Our Desires

“And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.”

This means that all our desires are egoistic.

However, we still see amidst all that corruption a certain point, miniscule and lonely, which is completely opposite from everything else on the earth. This is the “point in the heart.”

At the first egoistic level, this point is called “Noah.” The Noah within us is our first spiritual desire. It may be tiny and barely discernible, but we already feel it living inside us. Thus, we have discovered Noah.

Noah’s spark lives inside every one of us. The problem is that we’ve surrounded it with piles of selfishness that continually drown out its soft voice. As the ego grew, it coated Noah with more and more layers, overwhelming it with incessant desires. The pursuit of pleasure distanced man from Noah, making him coarser and more egoistic as Noah’s voice grew more and more faint. Finally, he has become essentially silent.

But Noah didn’t go anywhere. He constitutes the basis of man’s soul. Indeed, he is eternal, and simply waits for the time when man will turn back toward him.

In fact, this point we call “Noah” is the very center of our desires and is directly connected to the Creator. It is also eternal, whereas the egoistic desires surrounding it are short-lived, fleeting, vain and empty. Only that which aspires upward to the spiritual world is eternal, and that is where our desire known as “Noah” aims.


Noah Saving Us from Harmful External Influence

Have you ever wanted to suddenly stop this crazy rat race we call “life,” shut your eyes, cover your ears, and feel the silence that lives inside of you? Have you ever wished to hear the inner voice, un-obscured by foreign influences?

The TV, radio, and newspapers spray you with their advertisements; people both familiar and strangers force their thoughts and desires on you. Money! Power! Fame!

Your inner voice has been suppressed, smothered by all that’s happening around you. As you run along the highway of life, you’re spurred on by foreign desires. It’s only later that you realize that you were wrong, that you never wanted any of these things, that they were simply dictated to you, forced onto you by someone else.

How blissful it feels to be able to stop and hear your own, single desire, pure and disconnected from the material world. It’s the desire to experience spirituality, which is known in the Old Testament as “Noah.” It lives on inside of you, whether you’re a president or a mass murderer.

If you can hear the Noah within you, this tiny altruistic spark called, “Noah the Righteous,” if you can sense the desire to ascend above this world, then you are ready to achieve the peace, security, and eternity that await you on your spiritual path.


Noah: The Point Leading the World to the Creator

We remember that the word “earth” (Eretz) stems from the word Ratzon – desire. Therefore, “The earth was filled with violence” and “It was corrupt” means that your desires are corrupted: you exhaust yourself in pursuit of another’s possessions, you are completely egoistic, and you live only for yourself.

But is there really no answer to all this? Sure there is. Find the “Noah” inside you and save your life, as the text says: “And, behold, I will destroy them with the earth…But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, and your sons, and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shall you bring into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.”

The whole world is inside you. You are at the highest degree of existence, the tip of the pyramid that includes all the animate, vegetative, and inanimate souls located below you. They are “bound” to you as the one true creature that has a soul and the responsibility to raise itself and the whole world to the level of the Creator.

Thus, this story describes how the desire called “Noah” inside you assembles all the corrected parts of the soul (human, animate, vegetative and even the uncorrected parts that aspire for correction), which is the meaning of “two of every sort,” and comes into the ark with them.

The ark is a kind of screen, a protective force field that you create around you, and that helps you resist external disturbances, meaning all the egoistic influences of this world.

With the help of the ark, the protective screen, you seek answers to the questions, “Who am I? What am I living for? What is most important to me in life?”

You are preparing yourself to find the answers, and you are already certain that your search will be successful, since the point in the heart within you has already awakened and won’t let you rest for a moment. This point maintains direct contact with the Creator, and as it grows within you, it forms a vessel that’s ready to receive the Upper Light. That is the voice you hear, telling you you’re on the right track and that you will definitely reach the Creator, even if you don’t yet feel Him.

The Secrets of the Eternal Book“What Is the Meaning of the Story of Noah in the Bible?” is based on the book, The Secrets of the Eternal Book: The Meaning of the Stories of the Pentateuch by Semion Vinokur.

 Purchase Paperback »

 Purchase ePub & Kindle »

 Download PDF Free »


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