As we begin Bereishit, after recounting creation and Adam and Chava’s sin of eating from the forbidden tree, life seemingly settles down for Adam and Chava. Adam goes off to work, they have two children, and after a mere six pessukim (verses), their world is rocked by one child’s (Cain) killing the other (Abel) (4:8). How do Adam and Chava make sense of what happened, and how do they (and we) move forward after tragedy?
The Midrash relates that Adam and Chava wept by Abel’s body, not knowing what to do until they saw a raven burying its dead in the ground, which they decided to mimic. The irony was that the raven is typically cruel to its young, yet it buried a dead bird, an act of absolute kindness that cannot be repaid. Rabbi Menachem Feldman (www.chabad.org) explains that this loving kindness is the proper response to senseless evil. The appropriate response to cruelty is love, something that comforted Adam and Chava and can bring us closer to G-d, and each other, today. We all have within us the greatest power there is: the power to be kind.