Parashat Be’resheet:  Genesis 1:1 to 6:8

Week of 10/13/23

The first book of Torah is known as Be’resheet, as is our Torah portion. “In the beginning, God created….” although this classic translation is not quite right according to Hebrew grammar. Perhaps the verse should be “in the beginning of God’s creating, He created…” Another text renders the Hebrew as “when God began to create.”

Rashi, writing in the 11th century, says that if the purpose of the verse was to provide an order of creation, then the first word would have been, “ba’rishonah,” meaning ‘in the first place.’ Today we still have debates about the meaning of the first sentence.  So we have the creation of heavens and earth, humans, the Sabbath, followed by the stories of Cain and Abel and Adam and Eve. Ultimately God decides to destroy the earth because of the wickedness of humanity, but will spare Noah, his family, and the animal kingdom.

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