The weekly Torah portion of Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

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Age of Universe and Shabbat

If one believes that our world is billions of years old, i.e. accepting the idea of each day in Sheshis Imei Berieshit (the Six Days of Creation) as eras and not literal days, then how does one ...
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1answer
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Did Cain and Hevel have דעת?

Kayin and Hevel were born before Adam and Chava sinned and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. (See Rashi to 4:1.) Did Kayin and Hevel ever receive the understanding that their parents got from the ...
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“And it was evening, and it was morning, *one* day”?

Gen. 1:5: וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד And it was evening, and it was morning, one day Gen. 1:8: וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם שֵׁנִי and it was evening, and it was ...
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Connection between עָרוּם and עֲרוּמִּים

In the story of Adam, Eve and the snake the word 'עָרוּם' is used in two completely different contexts, yet they feature on pasuk after the other: Bereishit 2:25 : וַיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם ...
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1answer
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In Beresheit what is the difference between the light in 1:3 and the light in 1:14

I notice that in 1.3, the word אוֺר ("ore") is used, but in 1.14, the word מְאֹרֹת (morot) is used. I see that both contain aleph and reish. Both have something to do with light and lighting up. ...
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Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
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45 views

Tree of Life in the midst of the garden?

How should the following phrase be interpreted? וְעֵץ הַחַיִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַגָּן (Genesis 2:9) Does this mean The [Tree of Life] (which is) in the garden or does it mean The Tree of ...
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Genesis 2:7 vs 2:19

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord G-d formed man of the dust of the ground vs. :19 And out of the ground the Lord G-d formed every beast of the field I just want to know the difference between "the dust of ...
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Moral Culpability in the Garden

Did Adam and Eve have moral culpability in the Garden before they ate from the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil? It would seem that they were like small children in that sense, they were amoral--not ...
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How can Hashem make a mistake in thinking to make the world with Elokim (Midas Hadin)

Genesis 1:1 Rashi s.v. ברא א-להים: ברא א-להים: ולא אמר ברא ה׳, שבתחלה עלה במחשבה לבראתו במדת הדין, ראה שאין העולם מתקיים, הקדים מדת רחמים ושתפה למדת הדין, היינו דכתיב (להלן ב ד) ביום עשות ה׳ ...
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2answers
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What is the point of the first possuk of the Torah?

1:1 Breishis According to Rashi that says that the possuk is an introduction (in the beginning of creation of the heavens and the earth). My question is why does the torah need a introductory ...
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Snakes talking?

I am wondering why snakes no longer talk. The Lord punished the serpent by making him crawl on his belly and eat dust, and be at odds with Eve's offspring, but it does not mention taking away the ...
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2answers
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Differences between Genesis 1 and 2

I understand that Judaism teaches "Torah Inerrancy", so I assume that Judaism does take the creation account as narrated in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 pretty seriously. But as we all know, Genesis 1 ...
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3answers
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Why did God say יִקָּווּ הַמַּיִם, it should happen by itself naturally

In Bereishis 1:9 it says וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יִקָּווּ הַמַּיִם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶל מָקוֹם אֶחָד וְתֵרָאֶה הַיַּבָּשָׁה , And God said, "Let the water that is beneath the heavens gather into one ...
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Commentaries concerning the meaning of Breishit 1:1

What do the Rabbis say about the meaning of the beginning of the Tanach – specifically, do they read the first verse as a kind of overview of creation (since Shamayim and Aretz did not exist before ...
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Where is Adam created?

The Torah tells us G-d brought Adam into Gan Eden after his creation from earth (Bereishis 2:15). If this is the case where was Adam created?
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Is there a Jewish tradition of commentary on Genesis prior to Philo? [closed]

I'm interested to know where I might find out more about Jewish commentators on the story of the Creation, Fall and Expulsion from Eden as described in Genesis. Is there a Jewish equivalent to the ...
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Is Cain a prophet?

According to some views, prophecy is not a gift that is arbitrarily conferred upon people; rather, it is the culmination of a person's spiritual and ethical development. When a person reaches a ...
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589 views

How to reconcile Biblical Flood story vs science and history?

Genesis spends a good deal of time -- Chapters 6 through 11 -- discussing the "mabul mayim", a flood that killed all humanity outside the ark. Here is what the Torah's text says about the universality ...
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Rivers in Genesis

I will be upfront about it - I am skeptical of our tradition about the Torah being given on Mount Sinai, and suspect that Judaism is a man-made religion. It's not that I don't want Judaism to be true, ...
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Onkelus translation of Gods name

Why does Onkelus usually translate the name Elokim as Hashem? For example in the following pasuk (Bereshit 5:1): זֶה סֵפֶר תּוֹלְדֹת אָדָם בְּיוֹם בְּרֹא אֱלֹהִים אָדָם בִּדְמוּת אֱלֹהִים עָשָׂה ...
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1answer
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Breishis 5:5 - Adam's 930 years are written backwards?

When recounting the 10 generations from Adam to Noach, the years of their lives are written in the style of 1's, 10's and 100's place, e.g. ויחי ירד שתים וששים שנה ומאת שנה. Except for one exception, ...
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1answer
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Elohim - Female Image of G-d

There is a group that teaches that analyzing the words in Genesis 1:26 : And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and they shall rule over the fish of the sea and over ...
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2answers
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Does “die” in Bereishit 2:17 imply the *beginning* of a process death, or simply *death*?

It is true that Adam and Eve didn’t die the exact day they ate, as some seem to think Genesis 2:17 implies. The Hebrew is die-die (muwth-muwth), which is often translated as “surely die” or ...
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123 views

Plants before the Sun in the Order of Creation

Why does plant life precede the Sun in the order of creation given that plants need the Sun to do photosynthesis?
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What was Hevel (Abel's) sin?

The Arizal says that Hevel was reincarnated many times to purify his sin. What was his sin?
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Who is “us” in Genesis 1:26 if God is one?

Gen 1:26 says: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness What does the word "us" imply here? There are also other instances of this "us" found in Gen 3:22: Behold, ...
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Contents of Genesis chapter 6 [duplicate]

What does the original Hebrew say about Genesis chapter 6, where in the Christian bible, angels came down from heaven and had children with man? Does the Torah say that this happened, and that it was ...
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1answer
171 views

Rambam and Interpreting Bereishit as Allegorical

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin makes the following statement in his Sept. 27th, 2013 commentary on Bereishit in the Jerusalem Post: Furthermore, Maimonides, in his Guide for the Perplexed, interprets all ...
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Is Rashi teasing us?

In Bereishit 3:22 Rashi says the following: and now, lest he stretch forth his hand, etc.: And if he were to live forever, he would be likely to mislead people to follow him and to say that he ...
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1answer
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Why does Scripture in parashat bereishit need to mention the four rivers?

In Bereishit 2:10, scripture mentions the following: 10: And a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it separated and became four heads. 11: The name of one is Pishon; ...
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1answer
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Why “nostrils” and not mouth?

Breishit 2:7: ... He blew into his nostrils the soul of life ... Why did HaShem use nostrils instead of mouth? PS. ISTR that, according to a midrash, the fire which killed Nadav & Avihu did ...
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Is there proof that we never skipped a day of the week? [duplicate]

Bereshit begins with the first 6 days and the Shabbat. The assumption is then that after that day, Mankind kept track of the day of the week all by themselves until today. Are we sure that no one ...
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מחויאל and מחייאל Bereshis perek 4:18

Why did the pasuk change מחויאל to מחייאל in Bereshis 4:18? Is there any peirush who discusses this change and it significance?
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Adom eating from tree of knowledge

Why didn't Adom eat from the tree of life first and then eat from the tree of knowledge so he can live forever? Do any Medorshim discuss this?
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Is there anyone that says that the “us” in “let us make man btzelem elokim” is referring to humans?

Is there anyone that says that the "us" in "let us make man btzelem elokim" is referring to humans I'm working on a d'var Torah at the moment and hoping for a source to back the idea up that Hashem ...
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Is Gan Eden a physical place?

Is Gan Eden mentioned in Genesis a physical place? Does it exist physically somewhere on the planet or is it some kind of spiritual place or even some kind of analogy?
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Where did Hevel get the idea to offer an animal?

We know (Bereishit 4) that Hevel kept flocks (not for eating yet, but perhaps for wool and/or milk?), and on that fateful day he offered one to God which Rashi says God consumed in fire. Where did he ...
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1answer
230 views

Does Rambam take the 6 days of creation literally?

I was told in this answer to another question: "The Rambam did not take the '6 days' of Bereishis literally, as well as other details." The answer linked to Moreh Nevuchim (link) but I couldn't find ...
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What is the purpose of the genealogy of Genesis 4:17-22?

What is the purpose of the genealogy of Genesis 4:17–22?
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Are we destined to be evil?

It seems like from the very first chapters of the Torah, mankind is destined to be evil and transgress the law of God: The very first couple make the only sin they can. The second child the world ...
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Does Genesis 2:4 say there was only one day of creation?

Right after it says all the different parts of the world and sky being created on six separate days and rest on the seventh, it says, "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they ...
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Why did God take 7 days to create the world?

Generally we assume that God is omnipotent, and could have created the world in a single day\act, so He must have had a reason to organize creation into 7 days. Why? In other words: Why didn't God ...
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Is there any evidence of Nephilim?

Numbers 13:33 Numbers 13:32–33 includes a description by the Twelve Spies of giant "Nephilim" that they saw in Canaan: 32 And they spread an evil report of the land which they had spied out unto ...
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Did Chava tell Adam she was giving him fruit from the etz ha'das?

When Chava gave Adam fruit from the etz ha'das to eat did she tell him where the fruit was coming from or not?
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Why did Chava give Adam the fruit to eat?

For what reason did Chava give Adam fruit from the tree of knowledge to eat?
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Would Adam and Chava have been permitted the tree of knowledge if they'd waited?

I've long been somewhat troubled by the episode with the tree in the garden, because it seems like it was necessary for man to acquire knowledge (how else could we enter a covenant and accept the yoke ...
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Is The Tree of Life Good or Bad

In Bereishis God places Cherubin to guard the path to the tree of life so that Adam does not eat from it. There's only one other place where we find the Cherubin - on the ark. Inside the ark was the ...
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How do we reconcile the order of creating animals betweeen Genesis and science?

http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6932/does-the-torah-encoded-age-of-the-universe-match-science#comment53788_6932 The Genesis 1 creation account conflicts with the order of events that ...
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How widespread is the belief that Adam had a first wife?

I have heard of that the idea that Adam had a wife before Eve comes from Jewish tradition, and also about the idea that this wife was Lilith. From what I can tell the story of Lilith and the story of ...