Cain, Abel, and the Rabbinic Imagination
An Advanced (Re-)Introduction to Midrash

Shai Held

What were Cain and Abel really fighting about? What responsibility does God bear for “causing” the fight between them? What are to make of God’s failure to intervene when Cain is about to murder his brother? What is the relationship between human responsibility for committing evil, on the one hand, and divine failure to prevent it, on the other? In this session, we’ll carefully explore both Genesis 4 and Midrash Tanhuma’s interpretation(s) of it. We’ll focus both on what the Midrash says and on how it pins each interpretation on problems and anomalies in the biblical text. Recorded at the Rabbinic Yeshiva Intensive 2019. 

Cain, Abel, and the Rabbinic Imagination
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