[NetBehaviour] The Doubter's Mysteries: Cain and Abel

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Fri Nov 9 08:13:30 CET 2018

Hi Edward,

Really like these/this. A couple of things - I wonder if some of this might
not be put to music/ritual of some sort - in a way paralleling the mystery
And then I wonder what Rashi etc. has to say about this. You've inspired me
to look it up -
Part of the interpretation is that with Abel it was from* his *flock - in
other words the sacrifice was something personal; with Cain, he "made no
idivudal sacrifice and did not go out of his way to select the best of his
personal possessions." Rashi also says Cain brought from the fruit of the
ground - in other words, not his own, but otherwise. So this is an
anti-ecology; it's Abel's possession over the earth itself, in a way, that
wins out in the end.
(Interpretation from Nehama Leibowitz (I studied with her!), Studies in
Bereshit / Genesis.)
You do well to bring out the distinction between meat and non-meat of
course - and Jewish law has endless to say on kashrut in this regard.
There's also from Malbim, "He revealed unto him [Cain] that the Lord took
no pleasure in gifts, but only in obedience. (goes on to quote "to obey is
better than sacrifice") - i.e. "The main thing is that you should better
your ways. You did not bring a worthy gift. Improving the gift will not
help matters." etc.
Leibowitz was the best teacher I ever had; she was unusual, an Orthodox Jew
who theological interpretations brought everything into play; at the time
(early 60s) she was considered, at least by people I knew, the leading
religious biblical authority.

Thanks for the text!

Best, Alan

On Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 8:11 PM Edward Picot via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Dear all,
> 'The Doubter's Mysteries' are an attempt to write a short cycle of
> Mystery Plays - ie. plays based on Bible stories, like the Medieval
> Mystery Plays of York, Chester and Wakefield - from the point of view of
> a sceptical modern audience; an audience which either doesn't believe in
> God, or can't work out what he's playing at.
> There are fourteen of these plays, and the third is now online: 'Cain
> and Abel'.
> http://edwardpicot.com/mysteries/03cainandabel.html (or for the full
> series so far, visit http://edwardpicot.com/mysteries)
> - Edward Picot
> http://edwardpicot.com - personal website
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour


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