Aaron David Fruh

Where Is Your Brother And What Have You Done?

Cain Slaying Abel by Pier Francesco Mola: Courtesy Public Domain

The question is foreboding – ominous: “Where is your brother, and what have you done? It is the question G-d asked Cain after Cain murdered his brother, Abel. Cain’s answer was indifferent – contemptuous: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain dismissed the question by declaring he was not responsible or accountable for his brother’s welfare. G-d’s response is heartbreaking:

“The voice of your brother’s bloods is crying to me from the ground.”

A line in the Talmud says, “He who saves one life saves the world entire and he who destroys one life destroys the world entire.” This truth comes from G-d’s proclamation to Cain, “The voice of your brother’s bloods is crying to me from the ground.” From this, it is taught that when Cain murdered Abel, he also destroyed all of the future generations that would have descended from him. G-d was saying that not only had Cain taken the life of his brother, but the lives of his brother’s children and children’s children. Cain, in effect, had destroyed the entire world by taking the life of Abel. This is why G-d used the plural form of the word blood.

As an Evangelical Christian, I am troubled by the centuries-old history of Christianity’s brutal and murderous treatment of its Jewish brothers and sisters – a history that tragically continues to repeat itself. Think of the generations of Jewish existence that have been erased because of the murder of Jews in the name of the Christian religion. I sometimes wonder if G-d is not asking Christians the same question he asked Cain:

“Where is your brother, and what have you done?”

Is G-d’s message to Christianity today: “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground”? I find several parallels between Cain, Abel, and Christianity’s historical mistreatment of the Jewish people.

Cain was jealous over G-d’s choice of Abel’s sacrifice over his, and that jealousy turned into lethal rage. Christianity has been jealous over G-d’s choice of the Jewish people as His treasured possession and this jealousy has led Christians to be the most malevolent people Jews have ever encountered.

Cain refused to answer G-d’s question concerning Abel’s welfare and instead exhibited indifference: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Not only has Christianity failed to answer for its murderous violence toward Jews it has also, for the most part, denied any responsibility for caring for and protecting Jews in times of growing Antisemitism – often being the perpetrators of Antisemitic vengeance.

During the Holocaust, the number of righteous “keepers” and protectors of Jews was 000.1% of the population of Europe. This means there were 30 thousand righteous Gentile Christians and 300 million unrighteous. The response of 99.9% of Christians during the Holocaust was indifference to Jewish suffering.

….“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Cain never repented for murdering his brother but instead argued with G-d over the judgment passed down upon him – having concern only for his self-preservation rather than remorse for Abel’s murder and the destruction of his future generations.

“My punishment is greater than I can bear.”

Cain wandered away from the presence of the Lord, settled in the land of Nod (In Hebrew, Nod means “to wander”), and built a city. Christianity as a whole has never repented for its mistreatment of the Jews and shows little remorse. Instead, it is concerned with building and preserving its own institutions – self-preservation. For 1,900 years, Christianity, filled with jealous contempt toward the Jewish people, has wandered away from the Jewish rudiments of its faith.

It is not difficult to discover the historic contempt Christians have had toward Jews. You can hear the condescending anger in the sermons of the church fathers:

Justin Martyr: “We too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your Sabbath days, and in a word, all of your festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and the hardness heart.”

John Chrysostom: “They (the Jews) are become worse than the wild beast. The synagogues of the Jews are the homes of idolatry and devils. I hate the Jews for they have the law and they insult it.”

St. Augustine: “Scatter them (the Jews) by Your power, and bring them down, O Lord Our shield.”

Peter the Venerable: “Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human”

….“And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry and his face fell.”

And let’s not forget the violent language of the German leader of the reformation, Martin Luther: “First, their synagogues should be set on fire. Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed. Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer books and Talmuds. If the streets ran with their blood, and their dead would be counted, not in the hundred thousands, but in the millions, still they must insist on being right.”

On the Night of the Broken Glass (kristallnacht), when gangs of baptized German Christians rioted against the Jewish community – burning down over 200 synagogues and setting Jewish prayer books on fire as well as randomly murdering Jews – Bishop Martin Sasse of Thuringia celebrated Martin Luther’s call for violence against Jews by proclaiming: “On November 10, 1938, on Luther’s birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany.”

After the Holocaust, German Protestant theologian, Martin Niemoller, gave a lecture in Zurich in 1946 in which he stated: “Christianity in Germany bears a greater responsibility before G-d than the National Socialists, the S.S. and the Gestapo. We ought to have recognized (our) brother who suffered and was persecuted despite him being a Jew. Are not we Christians much more to blame, am I not much more guilty, than many who bathed their hands in blood?”

….”The voice of your brother’s bloods is crying to me from the ground.”

In our day, the parallels between Cain and Christianity are still quite evident and its jealous contempt toward Jews continues to burn with angry rage:

Dr. Gary Burge, Evangelical New Testament Scholar at Calvin Theological Seminary: “The people of Israel cannot claim to be planted as vines in the land. Branches that attempt living in the land, the vineyard, which refuse to be attached (converted) to Jesus will be cast out and burned.”

John Earnest – Poway Synagogue shooter and Evangelical Christian: “To my brothers in Christ…be strong. I only wish I killed more…they (Jews) deserve nothing but hell… I am honored to be the one to send these vile anti-humans into the pit of fire – where they shall remain for eternity.”

Robert Jeffress, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas: “Not only do religions like Judaism lead people away from the true God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in hell. Hell is going to be filled with good religious (Jewish) people.”

….”Where is your brother, and what have you done?”

It’s time for Christianity to answer the question posed to Cain: “Where is your brother and what have you done?” I fear, for the most part, we are not listening. If I, as a Christian, cannot hear on this most basic level of how I treat the Jewish founders of the faith I profess, then my faith has no meaning or authenticity. The voices of millions upon millions of our Jewish brothers and sisters whom we have murdered (consider the crusades, inquisition, pogroms, and the Holocaust) are crying out from the ground.

In a prayer composed by Pope John XXIII shortly before his death he connects the dots between Cain, Abel, and Christianity’s age-long mistreatment of the Jews. A prayer of repentance of this kind would be a good place for Christians to begin to take responsibility for their past and present indifference toward the welfare of Jews. It is a righteous and moral response to G-d’s question and only Christians humble enough to hear will be able to pray it:

“We realize now that many, many centuries of blindness have dimmed our eyes, so that we no longer see the beauty of Thy Chosen People and no longer recognize in their faces the features of our firstborn brother. We realize that our brows are branded with the mark of Cain. Centuries long has Abel lain in blood and tears, because we had forgotten Thy love. Forgive us the curse which we unjustly laid on the name of the Jews.”

…”Where is your brother, and what have you done?”

About the Author
Aaron David Fruh is a Research Fellow at The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) and the President of Israel Team Advocates, whose mission it is to change the growing anti-Israel narrative on college campuses. Aaron is the author of five books including The Casualty of Contempt: the alarming rise of Antisemitism and what can be done to stop it (editor), and Two Minute Warning: why it’s time to honor the Jewish people before the clock runs out. Aaron has written for The Jerusalem Post and The Algemeiner.