– by Susan Schept

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This article offers a new look at the biblical story of the fratricide of Abel by his brother Cain as seen through the very prescient interpretive lens of Rabbi Meir Leibush (known in Jewish texts as The Malbim), a nineteenth century Torah sage. The use of Melanie Klein’s object relations theory augments and deepens The Malbim’s perspective in a way that heightens the story’s unique mythic proportions and illuminates its psychological and moral implications.

Keywords:  Old Testament, Bible, Cain, Able, The Malbim, Melanie Klein, object relations theory

About The Author

Susan Schept

Susan Schept is an Associate Professor of the Humanities at Stevens Institute of Technology, where she teaches psychology. She is the author of the recently published book, The Voice of Sarah: Feminist Ethics in Jewish Sacred Text, and has authored several articles, some of which can be found in the journals of Conservative Judaism and Psychological Perspectives.  Additionally, her work is included in the book edited by Beth Kissileff, Reading Genesis: Beginnings, and is referenced in the Jewish Publication Society’s Book of Ruth.


Schept, S. (2019). Cain, Abel, The Malbim and Melanie Klein. MindConsiliums, 19(10), 1-13.

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