Genesis chapter 4: “End of Days”

In Chapter 4 we meet Kain and Hevel. We are told in a cryptic sentence 4:3 “and it was the end of days and Kain brought the fruits of the ground as a gift to gd.”

What does the “end of days” mean. The torah is just beginning and we are already at end of days? According to Rabbi Allen Schwartz of OZ who spoke today that “the end of days” refers to discussion between the brothers . They were discussing existential topics, such as meaning of life, purpose of existence, what is important etc. Pursuant to that discussion, Kain on his own brings a gift to gd and does not invite or have Hevel join him. Hevel in turn brings a gift, and does not bother to point out to Kain that his gift is sub par. He lets him go wrong on the gift.

Where did they collectively go wrong that leads to murder? The SD would like to chime in. After this deep and heavy conversation about the meaning of life, they both concluded to do a ritual-bring a gift. They did not think of brotherhood, charity, chesed or the real things that the world needs. They focused on the ritual, and on top of that excluded the other or let the other fail at it.

The simple truth is that ritual is only real or spiritual if it inspires better behavior. Once cannot do ritual in a vacuum. Prayer and bringing sacrifices only has meaning in the context of good deeds towards others. During this conversation the brothers clearly missed the point of what is important in life.

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