If I am not mistaken, the Hebrew word for "in the beginning" in Bereishit 1:1, could have been reishit. However, the word used was bereshit. It is my understanding that the use of bereshit (reishit with a bet at its beginning) is significant in that, by the inclusion of the second letter in the Aleph Bet, may indicate a second beginning, or a recreation. Is my understanding correct?

  • I have done some writing on this word because of the confusing nature of the word "bereishit." It is both a root plus prefix and suffix (reish plus b- and -it) and a complete word on its own marking a specific moment. I can pass info along if you'd like. – rosends Sep 23 '12 at 16:15
  • Do you have a source or reason to back up your under standing? – JNF Oct 12 '12 at 9:41

The b- means "in". Just as in English, where you can't say "the beginning, such-and-such happened" but rather say "in the beginning, such-and-such happened", in Hebrew you need to say b'reshis not reshis. That's why the b- is there.


At least on a basic level, there is no reason why the addition of a bet would signify a second beginning. Furthermore, reishit in Biblical Hebrew cannot mean "in the beginning"; it is an adjective meaning "the first of", and it must be attached to a noun (e.g. "reishit bikkurei admat'cha" - "the first of the fruits of your land").

  • Midrash Raba addresses this point (not directly - but according to commetaries this is the hidden question) – JNF Oct 12 '12 at 9:41
  • @JNF - By all means, feel free to elaborate and produce your source, maybe even in a new answer. – Fred Oct 14 '12 at 19:42

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