Cain and Abel, Dissing the Sacrifice
Cain slays his brother Abel. Cain the vegetarian was jealous of Abel’s animal sacrifice, more pleasing to God.
The rabbis' tradition says Abel’s smoke rises straight up to heaven while Cain's takes a less direct course. This reflects their places on the Tree of Life (see Page 12) where Abel is in direct line to the central throne of God, on a higher Tree. Cain's place is off-set a little to one side.
Abel becomes himself the sacrificial victim, like Christ, the Lamb led to the slaughter, by God.
While in practice we may eat much too much meat and order the slaughter of war with reckless complacency, the sacrfice of life is the ultimate sacred necessity which we might understand better if we did not fear so blindly for our own survival. Or, on the other hand, if we valued our own lives more.
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