Abel/Mist became a herder of flocks, Cain/Acquisition, a tiller of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the NAME from the fruit of the ground, Abel, brought the fatty portion of the firstlings of his flock. The NAME looked with favor on Abel and his offering. On Cain and his offering, he did not look with favor. Cain was very angry and dejected. The NAME told Cain: Why are you angry? Why are you dejected? If you act rightly, you will be accepted; if not, deviation lies in wait at the door: its urge is for you, yet you can rule over it.
Cain told his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.” When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. The NAME asked Cain, Where is your brother Abel? He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” God replied, “What have you done? My bloods of your brother cries out to me from the ground/Adam!” Genesis 4:1-10
The earth was bent in the view of God and full of passionate violence. When God saw how bent the earth had become, since all mortals had bent their ways on earth, God told Noah: I see that the end of all mortals has come, for the earth is full of passionate violence because of them. I am going to destroy them with the earth. Genesis 6:11-13
Deviation lies at the door. As we read about the terrible events in Paris, deviation lies at the door. Cain is angry, not with his brother Abel, but with God. There is a difference between the gifts of Abel and Cain. Cain brings the first fruits of his flock. The Hebrew word used is also the word for “Morning.” It is the early of the flock. Torah does not say the same of Cain’s flock. He brings the whatever. He is already angry with God and he shows this with his choice of gifts.
Abel is not part of this argument, but the recipient of the anger. We are our brother’s keeper. We are all God’s property. Cain tries to get even with God by attacking Abel. Whoever did the terrible events of Paris, 9-11, and elsewhere in the world, are angry with someone. They are angry with their lot in life. They are angry their traditions are not respected, so they strike out at Abel to vent their anger. The victims of 9-11, and of Paris are not part of the grander argument facing our world. They are only the recipients of misplaced anger. The victims of what is to come are not part of the argument, only recipients of the generating anger.
There is a moral in the story, which Genesis 6 tries to relate. The word used for “Violence,” has “Heat,” at its root. Jewish definitions of the term take this heat to mean passion, and from passion, violence. There will be retaliation for this terrible event. Most of the people participating in the Paris violence are already dead, or soon will be. They leave France in boxes.
Elie Wiesel was right, God cries when he sees the violence perpetrated against the people of 9-11 and Paris. God cries when he sees the violence perpetrated against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. He does not cry because they are Christian, or Muslim, religious, or non-religious. God cries when he sees young men in their 20’s, Muslim first, and then Jew and Christian, brainwashed with the lies of violence, turned into machines of death.
The violence will not end in France. We will isolate the people who funded these people and when we do, we will seek revenge. The rockets and drones will fly, and we will get even with the Arabs who did this. Most of the victims of this vengeance do not know this violence happened. Many do not know that Paris, or even France, New York, or even America exist. They are like us, trying to get from conception to the grave in one piece, and no more. We are all made in God’s image. God cries when he sees his image vandalized in his name.
Like those who died in Paris, all the victims are Abel in other men’s battles. Of course, they will have to get even, and we will continue our punching match. Genesis 6 gives our warning. God does not like violence, and if we persist in this violence, God will take the lot of us out to the woodshed, as he did with Noah. Hear is the warning, the choice is clear, violence or mercy. Take your pick.
We are made in God’s image. God goes through the same stages of grief humans do. First, he is in shock at the violence. Then he cries. He becomes angry. Watch this stage. His only bargain is, get it right or face the woodshed. He will only accept this planet when we are a people of peace. Pray for peace. Pray for all the victims, past, present, and future.