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Genesis Bereshit
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  Chayey Sarah
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3:24 He drove away the man, and stationed the cherubim at the east of Eden, along with the revolving sword blade, to guard the path of the Tree of Life.
Vayegaresh et-ha'Adam vayashken mikedem legan-Eden et-hakruvim ve'et lahat hacherev hamithapechet lishmor et-derech ets hachayim.
4:1 The man knew his wife Eve. She conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, 'I have gained a man with God.'
Veha'Adam yada et-Chavah ishto vatahar vateled et-Kayin vatomer kaniti ish et-Adonay.


  Rashi notes that they are angels of destruction. Man is told that he must eventually die and is banished from paradise. He can only return to paradise after death, and before doing so, he must pass by these angels of purgatory (Bachya). The prophet must also pass these angels to approach the Tree of Life and obtain a vision. This is the significance of the cherubim on the Ark (Exodus 25:18), and those seen in Ezekiel's vision (Ezekiel 1:5, 10:15). (Rambam on Exodus 25:18).

revolving sword blade
  (Targum; see Radak, Sherashim s.v. Lahat). Others have, 'a flaming sword that revolves.' See note on Exodus 7:11.

  Mentioned after they ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Rashi notes that Cain and Abel were born before the sin.

  Literally 'bought.' In Hebrew this is kanah, from which the name Cain (Kayin in Hebrew) is derived.

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