Kayin and Hevel were born before Adam and Chava sinned and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. (See Rashi to 4:1.)

Did Kayin and Hevel ever receive the understanding that their parents got from the fruit?

If not, how did they know to being sacrifices? And what about when Kayin admits that he sinned killing Hevel?

  • While it doesn't directly address your question, this hebrew article tries to explain whether they would have lived forever or not (due to Adams punishment). olamot.net/bama/…
    – andrewmh20
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 14:16

2 Answers 2


Derech Hashem 1:3:8 writes

אמנם על ידי חטאו – נוספו ונתרבו חסרונות בעצמו של אדם ובבריאה כלה

Through [Adam's] sin, he added and increased deficiency in himself and in the entirety of creation

Adam's sin did not just affect himself - it had cosmic impact on the entire nature of creation. If his action impacted the entire creation, it seems it was not necessary to be the one who did the "eating" in order to be subject to the effects.

On a separate note, you are assuming that the דעת that came from eating from the Tree of Knowledge was general דעת, without which they could never have figured out to bring a sacrifice. However, it wasn't the Tree of Knowledge - it was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. I discussed here what the Rambam understands that to mean, but briefly it had to do with the blurring of moral awareness. Nefesh HaChaim (1:6) understands דעת to mean "connection," and eating from the Tree caused them to internalize their struggle with Evil. Either way, their ability to bring Korbanos, or to choose to serve Hashem, were not the results of this event.

  • So the first Chava also got a death sentence?
    – user6591
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 0:40
  • 1
    @user6591 I don't know what you are asking. Who is the "first" Chava? Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 0:42
  • The medrash Rabba mentions a first Chava a couple of times. Rokeach al hatorah too. Ill get the maareh mikomos soon if you like. But it never mentions what happened her. Acc to your theory she would have died as well.
    – user6591
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 1:04
  • @user6591 If she was a normal creation, then I assume so. If she was some kind of angel, then not necessarily. I'm not too bothered either way. Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 1:08
  • See Rabba 17 7,18 4, & 22 7.
    – user6591
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 1:09

Rash"i that you cited talks only about Cain. Hevel was born another time, that possibly was after the sin (see Tosafot Sanhedrin 38:2)

When Chava gave the fruit to Adam she also gave it to the animals.

Bereshit 3:6.

ותיתן גם לאישה

רש"י: גם - לרבות בהמה וחיה

Translation: and gave also to her husband

Rash"i: "also" - to include animals

I'd suppose that Cain was not worse then animals, so he also eat from the fruit.

  • I don't see your jump from animals to Cain
    – andrewmh20
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 13:49
  • @andrewmh20 I don't have a solid prove, it's just a speculation. Note the usage of the word suppose.
    – jutky
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 17:41
  • of course, I was just wondering if you had some strong reason. I think the word worse is what's bothering me, but yes, I see your point.
    – andrewmh20
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 17:42

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