I recently read an authentic note that a small child had written to G-d:
"Dear G-d, maybe Cain and Abel would'nt have killed each other so much if they had had their own rooms. It works for me and my brother."
Talk about sibling rivalry. We all wanna kill our brothers sometimes, but not as literally as they seemed to have taken it. What could've caused such an extreme reaction? What could have led one brother to actually remove the other permanently from this world?
In this weeks Parsha, Bereishis, the torah speaks about the creation of the world. The very first concept mentioned was the creation of dark and light. Upon their arrival into the world, Hashem made a clearly defined statement. VAYAVDÉL ELOKIM BEIN HAOHR UBEN HACHOSHECH. Keep the dark and the light separate. Just as you would when sorting laundry.
The darkness that we speak about is symbolic of the dark side of life. The yetzer horah. The sins we do. Our insecurities and anxieties.
The light refers to our mitzvot. To the nisyonot and challenges we pass successfully. To our perseverance and endurance.
The world is a safe and secure place as long as our darks and lights are separate from one another. As long as we have clearly defined boundaries.This specific action I'm about to do, or reaction I'm about to have, does it belong to the dark side? Or does it fit in with light? As long as the differentiation is clear in our minds, there's no need for machlokes. When would an argument ensue? Only when the lines are blurred or undefinable.
For example, the first argument to ever take place in the world:
When G-d created day #2, He said to separate the waters (on bottom) from the waters (on top). And then, this is the only day that He didnt follow up with "Ki Tov"- "this is good".
Midrash Rabba explains that the reason KI TOV was left out was because on this day, gehennom (hell) was created, due to the machlokes- the separation of two bodies that share the same essence. The waters of heaven and the waters of earth.
Why was there a fight regarding the separation of heaven and earth, but not between light and dark?
Because the boundaries between light and dark are so clearly defined, and so noticeable, that we instinctively separate the two and set each one up on their own turf. In contrast, the earthly waters and the heavenly waters remained equal and their boundaries aren't clearly defined because they share the same essence. Therefore, their separation was a cause for devisiveness, for argument, and for jealousy.
Reading through the verses in the Torah, it's obvious that Kayin (Cain) consistently feels inferior to his younger brother Hevel (Abel). From the fact that the latter was born with a triplet, and himself only a twin, to Hevel's offering of choice fruit as opposed to his meager one... and he was so full of jealousy, that at one point it actually led him to remove his brother from the world.
With clearly defined boundaries, when I know who I am and I'm content with what I find inside myself, there's no need to constantly compare myself to others. She is she and I am me.
With apologies to Thomas Jefferson, all men are NOT created equal. Nor are all women. If two women are found wearing the same outfit at the same party, each one can suddenly be capable of first degree murder! I could only imagine any further forms of equality.
We each have our own goals and we were each given our own individual tools to help us reach those goals. If I'm not content with myself, or with my own tools, and I covet what the other person has, then I've got a problem with the One who gave me what I've got! The root of jealousy is being unhappy with G-d's decision.
So that little note-writing kid from the beginning of the article has a valid point. When people have their own defined boundaries, they get a clearer perception of self, and they are better able to accept and appreciate what they find inside.
"If you dont get what you want, you gotta want what you get".
Have a great Shabbos!