Oct 20, 2022
Bereishit | Unravelling a Bereishit Enigma, by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom
The story of Kayin's descendants concludes with a return to Adam and to the "replacement" son that he had, Sheth and his son, Enosh. The story concludes with a puzzling phrase, אז הוחל לקרא בשם השם, a phrase which has been interpreted in numerous ways, including interpretations which are seemingly diametric opposites of each other. Why is this phrase so confusing and how does it lead to so many different possibilities? We survey the exegetical literature from the 3rd c. BCE through the 19th century CE - and then propose a panoramic approach to the story which puts this verse in a multi-faceted light which allows for this multiplicity of meanings, not as alternative takes but rather as complementary contributions to the larger picture.