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

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8answers
914 views

Bereishit vs. science

How does Judaism deal with the differences between scientific evidence of the beginning of the world and the account(s) in Bereishit?
15
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3answers
244 views

The Mitzva of Peru U'Revu (Reproduction) - when does it start?

The first commandment in the Torah is Peru U'Revu, the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" (Bereshit 1:28). When does the obligation to fulfill this commandment begin? Does the Mitzva of Peru ...
13
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3answers
322 views

Let there be light! But from where?

According to Genesis 1:3, "And G-d said, Let there be light; and there was light." What light is the Torah referring to if the sun which produces light by day was created only on the 4th day of ...
12
votes
3answers
243 views

Why name but five creations?

God is described as creating many things in B'reshis chapter 1: animals, people, stars, plants, etc. However, about only five of his creations does it say that he called them by a name: "וַיִּקְרָא ...
11
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3answers
166 views

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 ...
10
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3answers
241 views

Who was Cain's wife?

I saw this problem on reddit today and I think that we cursorily covered this in Tanach class. Who was Cain's wife? In בראשית ד' י"ז it says " וַיֵּדַע קַיִן אֶת-אִשְׁתּוֹ" but it never says who she ...
10
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2answers
238 views

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 ...
10
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2answers
3k views

Do religious Jews generally believe the serpent of Gan Eden was Satan?

Upon reading the recent CNN article, That Actually Isn't In The Bible, one not-really-in-the-Bible misconception they cite is the idea that serpent in the Garden of Eden was the Satan. The article ...
10
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3answers
198 views

How did Hevel offer an animal sacrifice, wasn't it forbidden to kill animals?

In Bereshit 4:4, Hevel offers his choicest sheep as a sacrifice to G-d. However, in Bereshit 1:29-30, Adam is told he is only allowed to eat vegetables, and Rashi explains that he was forbidden to ...
9
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3answers
96 views

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?
9
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1answer
65 views

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 ...
7
votes
4answers
430 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 ...
7
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1answer
98 views

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?
7
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2answers
122 views

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?
6
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6answers
510 views

Why is the word for G-d in Genesis plural?

The word for G-d in Genesis 1:1 is plural in all the manuscripts, there's no debating that it's plural. So really it should read "In the Beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth". Why is this ...
6
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5answers
204 views

Was the world created with din or with rachamim?

I remember Chazal saying somewhere that the world could not survive, had it been created with din/harsh judgement/strictness. However, in Bereshis, at the very beginning, it says: בְּרֵאשִׁית ...
6
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4answers
160 views

Why doesn't the second chapter of B'reishit begin at 2:4?

Why is the first chapter break in B'reishit where it is, and not a few verses later at the beginning of the second creation telling (where we place the aliya break)?
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3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of יוֹם (yowm) in Bereshit?

I've heard conflicting reports of how the creation days , יוֹם (yowm), in Bereshit are interpreted in the Jewish community. How do actual Hebrew scholars define day in Bereshit? six 24 hour periods or ...
5
votes
2answers
213 views

The tree of life if adam was already immortal

What's the point of creating the tree of life if Adam was already immortal when created? I can understand the tree of knowledge of good and evil, since Adam was lacking in this knowledge and if he ...
5
votes
1answer
88 views

Who initially populated Chanoch City?

The Torah tells us (Genesis 4:17) that Kayin built a city and named it after his son, Chanoch. If Chanoch was only of the third generation of humans, how was the total human population at the time ...
5
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2answers
86 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
82 views

How did the trees deviate from God's command?

In Bereshis 1:11 God commands עֵץ פְּרִי עֹשֶׂה פְּרִי לְמִינוֹ however in the next pasuk where it happens we find וְעֵץ עֹשֶׂה-פְּרִי אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ-בוֹ, לְמִינֵהוּ. This discrepancy is explained by ...
5
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1answer
158 views

Description of the Yetzer HaRa in Parshat Bereshit

In Parshat Bereshit, the yetzer hara's relationship to man is described in very similar langauge to the woman's relationship to man. Regarding the woman, it says (Gen. 3:16) וְאֶל-אִישֵׁךְ ...
5
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1answer
86 views

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, ...
5
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1answer
117 views

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, ...
4
votes
3answers
326 views

Did God create color in Genesis?

Can I assume that every creation in this world was first manifested in the world during the first six days of the Genesis, which therefore includes color? So was color (the spectrum of hues and ...
4
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1answer
90 views

What is Shevirat Hakeilim?

Shvirat hakeilim seems to be a Kabbalistic concept denoting how the light was created within the Genesis account. However, I cannot seem to find information regarding it. Can someone please explain ...
4
votes
4answers
158 views

How did Hashem hide the light from the wicked? What do Chazal mean by this?

Rashi says in Breaishis Chapter 1, Verse 4: אף בזה אנו צריכים לדברי אגדה ראהו שאינו כדאי להשתמש בו רשעים והבדילו לצדיקים לעתיד לבא. "Even this requires words of Aggadah, He saw that it was not fit ...
4
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1answer
84 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
176 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
83 views

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; ...
3
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1answer
95 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?
3
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1answer
99 views

What's the significance of the dot in “bqr” in Danial vs the omission of the same in Genesis

In researching the phrase "evening and morning" I noticed a very small difference in the Hebrew text between Genesis 1 (e.g. 1:4) and Daniel 8:14, where the latter has a tiny dot in the first letter ...
3
votes
2answers
122 views

Clothing and shame, etymologically speaking

I have been unable to find an etymological connection between the root for shame בשש (especially as it turns into the forms of בושה בושת) and the word for "clothe" לבש. Shame was introduced in ...
3
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1answer
144 views

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 ...
3
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4answers
103 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
120 views

Bent/Inverted Kaf in Torah Scroll, Parshas Bereishis

If a Torah reader finds certain writing errors in a Torah scroll, the scroll may be invalid, and the congregation would be required to take out a different one to continue the service. Some errors, ...
3
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1answer
111 views

Did Kayin and Hevel grow quickly or were they born fully developed?

The sefer Seder Hadorot brings different opinions as to how old Hevel was when he was killed by Kayin. Bershit Rabbah Ch. 22: 50 days (or 90 days [Seder Hadorot says 50 is a printing mistake]) Ibn ...
3
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1answer
173 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 ...
3
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1answer
45 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
121 views

What was Hevel (Abel's) sin?

The Arizal says that Hevel was reincarnated many times to purify his sin. What was his sin?
2
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2answers
94 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
73 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
63 views

Genesis 3:22 as a reference to Yona?

I was told that there is a midrash that learns Genesis 3:22 as a reference to the navi (prophet) Yona ben Amitai, but cannot find the source. Do you know where it is?
2
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1answer
109 views

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?
2
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1answer
130 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 ...
2
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3answers
293 views

What does the term “sons of G-d” mean?

The term "sons of G-d" בני האלהים is found 3 times in the Hebrew Bible, once in Genesis (6:2), and twice in Job (1:6 and 2:1). What does it mean? Does it have the same meaning in both instances? What ...
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2answers
153 views

Can the word “eitz” mean “a thought” in the Torah?

Is there support in the Talmud or later rabbinical literature to interpreting the Torah term "eitz," commonly translated as "tree," to also mean "thought". This of course, is a common usage in ...
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2answers
77 views

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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2answers
96 views

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 ...