Inspired and Independent
Parashat Bereishit

Dena Weiss

The first parashah of the Torah not only speaks of creation and construction, it is also full of death and destruction.  Chief among these foundational stories of our humanity is the tragic story of the first brothers, Kayin and Hevel.  Because Kayin lived longer, he does more and speaks more than the brother murdered by his hand. Consequently, our attention when reading this story is often drawn to Kayin.  We want to know what motivated him to bring the first sacrifice that a human ever brought; we want to know what characterized his sacrifice, and why it was not accepted; we want to know why Kayin was so incredibly angry, and what he said to his brother before killing him.  But it is the character of Hevel, though only briefly glimpsed, that can teach us a tremendous amount about what it means to truly serve God with an independent, but also humble, spirit.

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Inspired and Independent
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