From her yeshivah digs in Jerusalem, Gella Solomon (of Nogah Chadash) writes to me of an aggadic commentary she’s recently composed on the story of Cain and Abel (or transliterated, Qayin and Hevel). Her midrash, narrated by Cain is deeply humanistic — Cain expresses himself and his experience of fratricide in human terms that easily resonate with our experiences of desire and disappointment. But at the same time, G. Solomon leaves Cain within the world of midrash and its poignant exegetical suggestions, within the world of myth where Cain remains fully aware that he is a character being used as a homiletical device. Within this setting, Solomon lets Cain explain himself, his actions, his set up.
Here is how Solomon has Cain describe his relationship to his brother with special attention to his eponymous name, Hevel, which has the literal meaning of “breath” connoting a sense of his “fleeting” and [...]