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Bereishit in a Nutshell

Bereishit in a Nutshell

Genesis 1:1–6:8


G‑d creates the world in six days. On the first day He makes darkness and light. On the second day He forms the heavens, dividing the “upper waters” from the “lower waters.” On the third day He sets the boundaries of land and sea, and calls forth trees and greenery from the earth. On the fourth day He fixes the position of the sun, moon and stars as timekeepers and illuminators of the earth. Fish, birds and reptiles are created on the fifth day; land animals, and then the human being, on the sixth. G‑d ceases work on the seventh day, and sanctifies it as a day of rest.

G‑d forms the human body from the dust of the earth, and blows into his nostrils a “living soul.” Originally Man is a single person, but deciding that “it is not good that man be alone,” G‑d takes a "side" from the man, forms it into a woman, and marries them to each other.

Adam and Eve are placed in the Garden of Eden, and commanded not to eat from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” The serpent persuades Eve to violate the command, and she shares the forbidden fruit with her husband. Because of their sin, it is decreed that man will experience death, returning to the soil from which he was formed, and that all gain will come only through struggle and hardship. Man is banished from the Garden.

Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain quarrels with Abel and murders him, and becomes a rootless wanderer. A third son, Seth, is born to Adam; Seth’s eighth-generation descendant, Noah, is the only righteous man in a corrupt world.

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chay October 28, 2016

In the beginning Darkness / no sight on the face Understanding ....G-d said let there be light ....sight/ understanding is created.Light is good....1st day Reply

Jerry Babione Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA September 25, 2013

Genesis Chapter 1 It's all true. I put no limits on G-d. He is my strength and guide. How He did what he did is beyond my comprehension. I am happy he did. The beauty, complexity and majesty, of creation, is more than imagination, it is reality. Evolution Theory could be no more than the thought process for the Creator. What is something old but the weathering of the new. The very presence of G-d would shed light over His creation, so non solar days are a non-sequitur. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for October 16, 2012

Re: "Days" before the fourth day The question of how were there days before the fourth day, which is the day that the sun and Moon were positioned, is addressed by many commentators.

One of the explanations offered by Rabbi Don Yitzchak Abarbanel (15th century) is that the first Light [which is mentioned on the first day] was an entity spread through space through the will of the Creator, for an allocated time, in which was the day; and it
disappeared an allocated amount of time, which was night; and that Light came in
gradations of morning and evening and noon. Through this, then, were the days
timed in hours and minutes just as the
latter, natural days were [later] timed by the revolution of the celestial sphere. Reply

Anonymous October 13, 2012

How can Day One, Day Two and Day Three, exist before the "Day" is created on Day four. " 14 And Elohim said, Let there be lights in the raki’a of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for otot (signs), and for mo’adim (seasons), and for yamim (days), and shanim (years); 15 And let them be for lights in the raki’a of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so. 16 And Elohim made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the kokhavim (stars) also. 17 And Elohim set them in the raki’a of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and Elohim saw that it was tov. 19 And the erev and the boker were Yom Revi’i (Day Four, the Fourth Day)." Orthodox Jewish Bible Reply

Anonymous New York, New York via October 12, 2012

It sounds like people here are looking for historically accurate, mathematically provable statistics while discussing this ancient, beautiful poetic text which contains a multiplicity of meanings, few of them literal. The truths expressed here are not literal. They are far more meaningful truths than "history" can produce. Reply

Anonymous October 12, 2012

where did the women for adam's sons come from? You can answer it by paraphrasing rash that the sons were all born with twin girls and it's learned by exegesis. Reply

Patricia Arcadia, Ca. via October 12, 2012

Heaven and matter I wonder if the waters were expanded into higher and lower as being emotion.
Higher waters as being celestial love, peace, and contentment, enabling us to ascend to the flow of living waters
Lower waters as being mundane emotions, love too, but earthy only.
Just a thought. Reply

Allen E. Rego Park, NY October 12, 2012

To Anonymous, Lawrence, NY Cain was born with a twin sister as his soulmate and Abel was born with two twin sisters (hence, Cain was jealous of Abel and killed him).

Editor's note: Please see this link for more info on who Cain and Abel married: Reply

Anonymous atlanta October 11, 2012

re: question "If Adam and Eve were the first (and only) male and female, and they had only sons, where did the other women come from?" I believe there is an insight that that explains that in the early generations, every child was born with a twin, and they would marry each other's twins. In fact, some Rabbis say that this is what the whole fight between Cain and Abel was about because they were each born with a twin sister, but one of them was a triplet born with two sisters. Since there was an extra girl, each fought over whose right it was to marry her. However, since the Bible is NOT a history book, but rather every word and story is meant to teach us something, G-d did not feel it was necessary to include these details in this part of the text for whatever reason. By the way, later on in the Bible, this concept is specifically discussed when Dina, Jacob's Daughter is born. Great question though!! Reply

Anonymous Lawrence, NY October 10, 2012

question If Adam and Eve eere the first (and only) male and female, and they had only sons, where did the other women come from? Reply

John Swain Nottingham, Nottinghamshire January 24, 2012

Upper and lower waters Some believe that the earth was not as we know it today. That originally there was a mantle of water over the earth, probably in the form of ice crystals. That the land crust was also floating on water. The mantle above the earth would increase the air pressure by virtue of its weight. This would give strength to those of old of renown as this would increase the oxygen take up in the blood. It is also known that increased pressure assists healing. Many Professional sports teams in America have Barometric chambers to speed healing of injured players. This would account for the length of life early man lived. G-d caused the fountains of the deep and the water canopy above to break down at the time of the flood causing catastrophic effects on the earth and forming it into the world we know today. Many landscape feature thought to have taken millions of years would have formed quickly under these conditions. Reply

Jermaine Tampa, Florida January 9, 2012

Genesis1:6 What is the meaning of upper waters and lower waters? Reply

Rabbi Y LI, NY October 28, 2011

protection from animals, now that Cain lost his image of G-d because of his murder. The protection was the letter "hey" on his forehead. Reply

penny coeur d alene, idaho October 22, 2011

mark of cain When G-d sent Cain out into the wilderness Cain asked G-d for protection from others that may want to kill him, who were these others and what was the mark that indicated to all other beings who Cain was? Reply

Yaakov Shwecky October 28, 2010

RE: forming heaven There is moisture in the sky (clouds etc.), from which precipitation falls, and there is water on earth in the oceans, lakes and pools. G-d separated the two on the second day of Creation. Reply

Anonymous Gastonia, nc usa October 27, 2010

forming heaven What is the meaning of "upper waters" and "lower waters" Reply

Menachem Posner for October 11, 2010

To Ricky in NJ The verse (Gen. 4:25) reads, "And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son, and she named him Seth...," indicating clearly that he was born to the same mother as Cain and Abel: Eve. Reply

Ricky nj October 8, 2010

who was Seth's mother? says ..."Eve gives birth to two sons"......."a 3rd son was born to Adam..." Reply

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