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This question has been edited to add sources.

Bereshit 4:1 states, Now the man knew his wife Chava, and she conceived and bore Cain, and she said, "I have acquired a man with the Lord."

Speaking on this verse, could it imply a divine conception, so to speak, or a similar situation? Or even, given that Cain started off as mostly impurity before he did teshuva (see sources 1 and 2 below), could it possibly mean the "lord" of the kelipah impregnated Chava? Various sources say Cain came from the סמ and Chava, so that would imply so. (See sources 3, 4, 5 below). What wouldn't seem to fit that interpretation is "Lord" is capitalized, seeming to show it is from Hashem directly, not the סמ, but I am reading the verse in English, so maybe one of the added nuances the Hebrew always adds will solve that difficulty.

And are there examples of divine conceptions in Tanakh and Midrash besides this, whether from Hashem directly, or an angel on the side of kedusha, or from an angel from the sitra achra?

  1. https://www.sefaria.org/Bereishit_Rabbah.22.13?lang=bi
  2. https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3998473/jewish/Baal-Teshuvah.htm ("The first baal teshuvah was Cain")
  3. Sefer HaLikutim quoted from https://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/379754/jewish/Fathers-of-Good-and-Evil.htm ("And since Cain came from the impurity of the snake [who had raped Eve]"...)
  4. Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezar chapter 21.
  5. Bereshit 5:3 also can lend itself to this interpretation, implying Cain was not in Adam's likeness or image

To add, there are opinions, such as I believe R' Elazar Ben Azaria, that an angel visited Sarah's tent to conceive Yitzchak. What opinions are there about which angels it was if we go with the opinions it was an angel.

Also, I would ask the same question about Shimshon.

Also in Sefer Enoch 106:1 it raises the same question about Noach as well.

Answers to any of these would be helpful, more than a flood of downvotes that are hard to understand. Maybe the title was mistaken for an xtianity or "Jews for Jesus" sort of question? To be clear, this question is in no way trying to make any argument for Yoshke being a divine conception, I just wanted to learn about real cases where it happened, from Torah.

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  • The term used is 'acquired', not 'conceived'. One would need some sort of tradition or strong argument to interpret it to mean conceive.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 13:01
  • @RabbiKaii I agree. That's what I'm asking for. What existing kosher traditions take that opinion, or other opinions relevant to the question? I think I've read in numerous places that the Samech Mem sired Cain, places before, maybe five or more, so I wish everyone would not focus on that. I am not interested in that answer since I've already seen it, it is just an example to ask if there are, likewise, any opinions that say it was Hashem Himself not the Samech Mem, or some other angel besides the Samech Mem, and then same question for Noach, Yitzchak, and Shimshon. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 3:34
  • @RabbiKaii The only aspect of the nachash siring Cain that I am asking about is how that can be reconciled with Bereshit 3:14-15 that says nachash's seed will be against Chava's, given that some of their seeds would be the same in that case, like Cain in that case. That is why I posted that. But as far as learning more opinions about Cain's parentage itself, I was wondering if other sages say no nachash wasnt his father, and "acquired from Lord" means Hashem Himself was his father, or another angel, or that Chava acquired from Malchut/soul of David in bearing Cain like Or Neerav part II 1:4... Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 8:16
  • @RabbiKaii could potentially be an example, where it says "G-d of your father" in I Chronicles 28:9 refers to Malchut and the soul of David, and "G-d" to Malchut, but it juxtaposes Bereshit 4:1 to explain the word "know" in both verses, and the english in Bereshit 4:1 translates "Lord" not "G-d" and it is unclear if the Or Neerav here is also hinting that "Lord" in Genesis 4:1 is also either Malchut, or Malchut the soul of David, or not. Thats just an example, not saying it applies. I am interested in all opinions that do apply to the q, on any level. I really like remez explanations. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 8:19
  • I am unaware of any sources that posit Hashem making a woman pregnant without there being a human father involved. Of course, Hashem can do anything, and I've only seen a fraction of the sources, but it doesn't sound likely to my ears. He set up a natural system for children being born, where He is partner, this is true of every conception. Exceptions in midrashim about samech mem etc need explanation but I don't know. Hashem is our father, more so than our human father is our father. Kabbalistically, children are born from the intellect of parents, and thus we are Hashem's children literally
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 12:06

3 Answers 3

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What Eve meant applies to every child that is born. To quote the Talmud (Kiddushin 30b)

The Sages taught: There are three partners in the forming of a person: The Holy One, Blessed be He, [who provides the soul], and his father and his mother [who provide the body].

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  • Is there no difference then between what went into Cain's conception and Seth's? It says this for Cain's birth not every other birth. It seems arrogant to say "what Eve meant" is, and then cite one single midrash. There are infinite meanings to the verse. There are multiple sources that say the Samech Mem or nachash is Cain's father. That opinion is what that part of the question was about. Your answer does not address that part of the question or any other part of it. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 3:04
  • I gave you the simple meaning. The midrashim you quote are obviously non-literal and contradict the plain meaning of the verse. See here for the correct approach to these types of Midrashim: he.wikisource.org/wiki/…
    – N.T.
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 3:56
  • U already told me this is how u think, and what u think of me, and then you started commenting my posts at least one case untrue, in this case true but unrelated to my question, answers. You dont want me using Mi Yodega to ask questions, you want me to entrust myself to a teacher who if they judge me decent will teach me the keys to understand the Torah. However, I had a bad experience with my last teacher, which made me wonder, how am I, the student, to tell if the teacher is decent, if they wont teach me the depths of what they believe for 20 yrs?How do u know a person if they hide from u? Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 4:21
  • With that said, I still hope to find the right teacher, but that is not the subject of my question. This is a forum for answering Torah questions. You respond to the question saying the keys to answers are not to be given to anyone except directly to students from their Ravs. Then why is the forum here? If Torah is unlocked with keys, and this forum is for answering Torah questions, then of course those answers must include the keys. You respond to say essentially "I answered (no you didnt) but you dont have the keys." That's a contradiction. The keys are necessarily part of any answer. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 4:29
  • And as you know my question was not just asking for literal opinions, over which there is much grey area anyway. There are many disagreements about what is literal and what isn't, and where those intersect. Again, I think you know that. I get the feeling you don't like me, you have a different philosophy from me, you think yours is the only outlook that is correct, so you intentionally mock my questions. Respectfully and with no ill will, I ask you to please not comment or post on my questions anymore. I dont think you are trying to answer any questions I post, just mock someone u dislike. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 4:34
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Your opening question is a valid and good query. You are trying to understand the deeper meaning of that sentence in the written Torah.

The balance of your question should be an obvious no! Your understanding of that is in conflict with the plain meaning of the written Torah you quote.

The sentence, when read in Hebrew, gives a better understanding, but one that requires more explanation.

In Hebrew the sentence is:

וְהָ֣אָדָ֔ם יָדַ֖ע אֶת־חַוָּ֣ה אִשְׁתּ֑וֹ וַתַּ֙הַר֙ וַתֵּ֣לֶד אֶת־קַ֔יִן וַתֹּ֕אמֶר קָנִ֥יתִי אִ֖ישׁ אֶת־יְהֹוָֽה׃

The translation with some additional explanation would be:

And the one called Adam had marital relations with Chava, his wife; and she conceived and gave birth to Kayin. And she said, "I have acquired a husband, יהוה (pronounced אדני).

Several things are being relayed in the Hebrew in a very abbreviated and concise way.

The name of their son (Kayin) is related to the action that they performed. The action being emphasized here is: how marriage, the bonding of Husband and Wife, is accomplished. It is a halachic/legal process of acquisition, from the Hebrew root, קנה.

Torah law states that one of the requirements and methods of marriage is through sexual intercourse between a man and woman. You acquire the status of a married, bonded couple through this act. This is part of the intention in the words recited by a Groom during his wedding, namely:

הרי את מקודשת לי כדת משה וישראל

Behold, you are sanctified (or dedicated) to/for me according to the law of Moses and Israel.

The second half of the phrase you quote from the Torah brings out several important concepts. The first is the relationship between the Husbands Hebrew name, Adam (אדם), his change of status to Husband (איש) and the written name of G-d (יהוה) which is pronounced and spoken to others as (אדני).

The cantillation mark, Tifcha, under the word Husband (איש) serves somewhat like a comma in the sentence. The phrase, אֶת־יְהֹוָֽה׃, which follows it, is a modifier which relates to the word Husband explaining its meaning.

Like is emphasized in the beginning of the Torah, the names assigned to everything in Hebrew are related to their essence, being and effect.

The first man's name, אדם, has a dual meaning according to Torah tradition. The first is that he is Similar to G-d above. (דומה לעליון) This aspect is revealed in Bereshit 2:20, which says:

וַיִּקְרָ֨א הָֽאָדָ֜ם שֵׁמ֗וֹת לְכׇל־הַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּלְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּלְכֹ֖ל חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה וּלְאָדָ֕ם לֹֽא־מָצָ֥א עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃

The traditional cantillation mark over the letter Dalet in the word וּלְאָדָ֕ם is called a Zakef Gadol. The form of that cantillation mark is comprised of 2 points and a line, alluding to the letters Yud and Vav. So the Gematria (numerical) value for the Zakef Gadol is 26, which is also the numerical value of G-d's name (יהוה). When man acts according to his most Holy and sanctified potential, he is similar to G-d above, the source and Creator of all (כל) life. All this follows the traditional Torah teaching of Rabbi Menachem Azariyah of Fano.

The second aspect related to Adam's name is that he is: אדם מן האדמה.

He is literally from the earth. Again, this alludes to the dual meaning of lowliness, meaning extreme humility. Man reveals this potential for Holiness through humility. And through this act of humility, reveals G-d's presence in the whole of Creation, joining the spiritual with the physical, similar to the effect of building G-d's chosen Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and its precursor, the Mishkan. And the very lowest parts of that Mishkan, what connects and plants it to the earth are its sockets, called in Hebrew אדניים.

On a final note, you are misunderstanding the meaning of the partial recollection of the story from the Zohar. Until you have learned more, you might want to stick to less esoteric material unless you have a personal teacher to help you to grasp its meaning.

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  • Ty Yaacov. What is the meaning then from the Zohar? I think I read multiple places, including the Arizal and Chassidus, that the Samech Mem raped or seduced Chava to produce Cain, I just dont save any exact verses so I didnt remember the exact wording or the verse numbers, thats why I said "I believe I remember" just to cover the 1% chance I misread or misremembered. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 2:05
  • Regarding my understanding, I understood it various ways, on one level that she lay with Adam in an improper way because yetzer hara got the best of her (and him), producing a blemished offspring, on another level that there was a metaphysical force who depending on level of interpretation either had a humanoid body or did not, the Samech Mem, who coupled with her, like the midrashim of Adam with shedim for 130 yrs. There are always many levels of interpretation, some contradicting. Are you sure I misunderstood or did I just use a diff level of interpretation for the question? Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 2:06
  • If I did misunderstand it though, I am even more glad for your answer because that is definitely something I need to correct. Please share the correct way to interpret it. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 2:09
  • To add,if I wasn't clear in my question, I am not just asking about the plain meaning of the verse, I am asking the question on all the relevant levels that apply to the question. So as far as the Cain part of the question, I am asking for every opinion from Ravs who agrees the nachash defiled Chava, whatever they mean by that, on how they would reconcile that with Bereshit 3:14-15, on whatever levels, hopefully all of them, that it can be reconciled. And I am also looking for if opinions say "Cain didnt come from nachash, he came from Hashem directly, or he came from a different angel" Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 7:51
  • And I am looking for peshat, remez, derash, and sod opinions about parentage of Yitzchak other than Abraham. Some opinions say an angel might have went into Sarah's tent. There was other speculation I read before that maybe Pharaoh went into Sarah. Pharaoh is sometimes likened to the great crocodile, andthe minister of Egypt. Could Pharaoh have been one of the angels that visited Abraham? I dont jump these conclusions at all, but I see possible connections and I like to rule them in or out,learn what the sages have said. I cant comprehend anything without a holistic understanding.How Im wired. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 7:55
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Supposedly Cain was the son of the Satan and many think of Isaac as divine conception, not that he had no father but he was the product of Gods direct intervention.

I assume the sons of the fallen angels would count as well.

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    Thank you. I had thought of the angels that lay with the daughters of men as well, but the Tanakh gives a broader description of the event without giving specific examples of the names of their children. If Midrash answers that though then it would make a good answer. I believe I read about Isaac before too but forgot until you mentioned it, thank you. Thanks for the answer. Do you think that is the complete list or are there others? Cain is still under dispute, see Yaacov Deane's comment below (he is one of the most very or most learned on the site from what Ive seen, but there are many also) Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 2:12
  • Cain being the son of the Satan is in the Midrash, I believe but don't quote me Noah was mentioned as being divine but his father is in the bible though in the Midrash he was born snow white and circumcised I think. You may want to look up Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok on YouTube he discusses the nephilim, etc Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 19:17
  • "Cain being the son of the Satan is in the Midrash" which midrash? I think you are thinking of Sefer Enoch what you say about Noach, but "divine"? I think it says an angel, is "divine" the right term to describe that or doesn't it risk making it sound like Hashem sired Noach directly? Of course His angels are made by Him and part of the divine spiritual realm, so maybe it is a good description, but I just want to be very careful. It is a delicate subject and I asked the question to learn the answers but without the Torah in the process. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 23:39
  • "You may want to look up Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok on YouTube he discusses the nephilim, etc" Thank you! I just watched his video "The Reality of Demons" and I definitely recommend it if you are interested in these questions too. He clarified a lot. And I want to add to what I said about not profaning. I'm concerned sum1 already thinks I do when I ask certain questions in english, or dont remember every source, but I disagree bc I am doing my best and I can only ask questions with what I know. But within that, I dont want to profane the Torah by supporting any concept that is not supported. Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 0:33
  • I do not remember the source of the birth of Noah, it may have been someone else. The Misrash about Cain is in a collection called Legends of the Jews that can be read on Seferia Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 0:32

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