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What did Cain “say” to his brother, before killing him?

The verse in question reads:

Genesis 4:8: “Cain said to his brother Abel; Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.”

The biblical narrator does not disclose what was actually spoken between the two brothers. Ibn Ezra suggested that Cain spoke to his brother about the words YHWH had said to him. However, one might argue that it is doubtful Cain would have told his brother everything God disclosed to him, namely, the divine reprimand. Abel’s silence is striking. The ...

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More Reflections on Abortion

Abortion, as such, is not discussed in the Tanakh. Explanations  as to why it is not legislated or commented are at best speculative. The biblical world was much more concerned with the survival of its members, rather than with the willful termination of its unborn. Archaeological evidence suggests that in ancient Israel the infant mortality rate was about 50%.

Discussions concerning abortion are ancient indeed. The Torah imposes a fine on the assailant for causing abortion of a woman’s fetus in ...

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Early Jewish and Christian Views on Abortion: A Comparison for Discussion

The question regarding abortion in our modern era continues to be one of the most important topics of our age; given the complexity about questions pertaining to the beginning of life, along with the technological advances that are constantly being made, no one religious tradition can be reduced to a particular perspective. Christians and Jews alike each struggle with this matter. Rather than arbitrating the issue concerning abortion, I would much rather present the texts and let the readers along ...

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A First Century Rabbinical Controversy: Preserving Human Life and Its Ethical Implications

 Another one of the most interesting questions found in the Talmud dealing with the matter of human survival in a hostile environment where the possibilities of survival remain limited. [1]

Two are walking on the road. In the hand of one of them is a canteen of water. If they both drink-both will die. If only one drinks—he will reach his destination alive. Ben Petura contends that it is better that both drink and they both die, rather than one see ...

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Rabbi Akiba and Ben Azzai’s Great Debate

The Sages of the first two centuries wondered: What is the most important principle of the Torah? Rabbi Akiba argued that it is the precept of “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18).  Akiba’s brilliant student, Ben Azzai, differed: “You must not say: ‘Since I have been put to shame, let my neighbor also be put to shame, for if you do so, know that you are shaming someone who is made in the likeness of God.’”

Put in ...

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