Apparently, sibling rivalry is as old as siblings themselves. Consider Cain and Abel. They only had each other (although the Midrash indicates that they also had sisters), yet look at how bitterly they fought.

You have to wonder how Cain, reared by parents who spoke to G‑d Himself, (in fact, they chatted just before he knocked his brother off) went so extremely off the rails and murdered his own brother!

Cain didn’t bring an offering to serve G‑d, but to satisfy himselfThis may just have been the first of thousands of conflicts sparked by religion. After all, the Cain/Abel fallout started as a religious exercise, each bringing an offering to G‑d. They experienced the typical “my-way-to-G‑d-is-better-than-your-way.” Only, in this case, G‑d took sides.

Cain offered a simple grain-offering. Abel sacrificed a prized animal. G‑d accepted Abel’s offering and turned away from Cain.

Cain was furious – not with G‑d, but with his brother. Instead of contemplating why G‑d had ignored him, he shifted the blame to Abel.

Cain didn’t bring an offering to serve G‑d, but to satisfy himself. Cain wanted to get away with the bare minimum so he could say that that he had, essentially, serviced G‑d. But Abel happily stretched himself beyond his means to satisfy G‑d.

Commitment to G‑d that is based on the “what’s-in-it-for-me” philosophy can have devastating results. Religion and spirituality are about higher purpose, not self.

If our world had more Abels and fewer Cains, we’d be living in peace.