Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states “ותהר ותלד את קין ותאמר קניתי איש את ה, and she conceived and gave birth to Kayin, and she said, ‘I acquired איש את ה.’” What does it mean “I acquired איש את ה’?” Rashi explains when Hashem created me and my husband, He alone created us, however with this child we are partners. She called his name Kayin, hinting that she acquired him with Hashem, as we are partners in this new creation.” Rashi explains את ה’ as “together with Hashem.” The Sifsei Chachomim adds b’shem the Gemara, there are 3 partners in a person; Hashem, his father, and his mother. Avi Mori shlita said, there was a story with parents of a bachor in HaRav Moshe Feinstein’s Yeshiva that wanted him to go to college. Reb Moshe told them he should remain in Yeshiva and continue learning. They claimed that since there are 3 partners in the child; the Ribono Shel Olam and the 2 parents, they have the majority, 2 out of 3. Reb Moshe immediately responded; the Ribono Shel Olam has the majority, not you. Every person has 1/3 of him the Ribono Shel Olam, so the 2 parents now together are 2/3rds plus 2/3rds which is 4/3rds, that equals 1 and 1/3. The Ribono Shel Olam then is 1, plus 1/3 of each parent, which equals 1 and 2/3rds.” So, Hashem has the majority, not the parents!

Onkelos translates קניתי איש את ה differently, “I acquired a man from before Hashem.” The Ramban explains Chavah said this son shall be for me as a קנין לה, an acquisition for the sake of Hashem. When we will die, he will remain and be in our place to continue to serve Hashem, his creator.

The following passuk states she bore another child, Hevel. The Ramban says here it does not mention a reason why he was called Hevel. He explains the lashon הבל hints to nothingness, every קנין האדם, acquisition of man in this world is for naught. HaRav Desler explains, הבל describes one’s interest to desire olam hazeh. No matter how much one reaches, it won’t suffice, he will not be satisfied; he will yearn for more. Money is called “קנין, acquisitions” as it is only an imagination. A person cannot acquire something physical to become one with his body and certainly not one with his soul. They are outside and separate from him. Only ruchniyos things which a person achieves become part of him, that no one can confiscate. Similarly, the Bais HaLevi explains, richness does not make a person into a better being; he just has a bigger wallet and a heavier pocket. Ruchniyos however, is an intrinsic attribute; the person is elevated and becomes more important than another, because of his growth in ruchniyos. The Ramban says Chavah did not want to express the reason for Hevel, so she didn’t mention it explicitly, although this was so. This implies that the names of Kayin and Hevel reflect a contrast of what acquisitions in the world are for and their relevance. The acquisition to serve Hashem and be dedicated to Him has true meaning, whereas the acquisitions of the world are false and are for naught.

May Hashem help us dedicate our avodah to Hashem and recognize that materialism is for naught.

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