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 possuk?

It could of just say בראשונה וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר וַיְהִי אוֹר.

In other words the words בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ are superflous. What is the point of them

  • 2
    Rashi's first commentary gives the reason: " Now for what reason did He commence with “In the beginning?” Because of [the verse] “The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations” (Ps. 111:6). For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, “You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],” they will reply, "The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper When He wished
    – rosends
    Jul 4, 2014 at 20:43
  • Great Answer! I changed my question can you answer that one too?
    – user5224
    Jul 4, 2014 at 20:45
  • I ask for an answer which is pshat but that only works if my question is pshat so if you prove that my question is not pshat then that also answers my question
    – user5224
    Jul 4, 2014 at 21:15
  • on the level of pshat, your question is "why does a text which gives an account of creation, have to include the moment of creation? Why not start 5 minutes later?" The simple answer is "because it is an account of creation."
    – rosends
    Jul 4, 2014 at 21:18
  • My question is more like the words בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ are superflous.
    – user5224
    Jul 4, 2014 at 21:20

2 Answers 2


This is really answered by the second Rashi in the parsha: אין המקרא הזה אומר אלא דרשני - the the purpose of this verse is the Drasha. Yes, it has a way to read it in plain meaning, but its phrasing is awkwardly constructed and superfluous precisely because its primary purpose is not the plain meaning.

Even at the simple level, it is understood that there are deeper levels to the Torah. It is just not something that is explained at the plain level. (The Lubavitcher Rebbe elaborates on this concept in the Sicha referenced here, where drash is even more prominent).

That is to satisfy Rashi. If you want a different approach in Pshat in these pesukim, you can look at the Rashbam. The Rashbam says that the purpose of the creation story is to justify what it says in the Ten Commandments - that Heaven and Earth were created in 7 days. What he says is that the existence of the earth preceded these 7 days by an indeterminate amount of time, but the purpose is to describe that aspect of creation about which it can be said "כִּי שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים עָשָׂה יְהֹוָה אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ אֶת הַיָּם וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר בָּם וַיָּנַח בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי". So here the verse has to orient that this represents the beginning of creation vis-a-vis these seven days, so the heavens and the earth have to be specifically called out.

Really, you can't pass by (even in the plain meaning) the fact that without this verse, the implication would be that the heavens and earth were not created, rather G-d came along and formed from existing materials ח"ו.

  • But look in Rashi who says that it can't be the order of creation. Anyway I still do not get your answer to my question why we need the WHOLE first possuk it could of just said בְּרֵאשִׁית וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ
    – user5224
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:47
  • @user613, I don't understand what remains unclear. In your formulation something major is missing - that anything was created. So that means ברשית ברא. Once you have the word ברא, you have to specify what. And Rashi elaborates later - everything is including in that one verse. It as all created at once, and then put into place afterwards.
    – Yishai
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:50
  • Which Rashi? Does it say that?
    – user5224
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:55
  • @user613, 1:14
    – Yishai
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:57
  • Ok Thanks I see how you answered my question now.
    – user5224
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:58

I was taught the beit in B'reishit stood for 2 as in "two beginnings created Elokim..." And that B'reishit 1:1 introduced what those two beginnings were.

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    Were you taught this by a Jew?
    – Double AA
    Jul 7, 2014 at 13:23
  • Nothing created Elokim he is infinite and was always in this word he never changes so it is impossible that anything created him.
    – user5224
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:44

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