In Beraishis, the posuk often says ויהי כן. But, for example, regarding Day 4, after Hashem says "there should be luminaries" (verses 14 and 15) then it says ויהי כן (verse 15), and then it says Hashem MADE them (verse 16) So what do the words mean?

  • כו is not "them" Welcome to mi yodeya.
    – kouty
    May 9, 2016 at 10:29
  • I may be misunderstanding this question, but do you interpret the ויהי as a future tense? In that case you have missed the vav hapuch, which turns it into a past tense. If not, than I am at a loss what your confusion is.
    – RonP
    May 9, 2016 at 10:51

1 Answer 1


ויהי כן is translated as "and it was so". That is, It was as Hashem had decreed and the details are about to follow in the next pesukim. This follows the general methodology ot the Torah of a general statement followed by the relevant details. I explain this regarding the "two" creation narratives in Differences between Genesis 1 and 2. This principal is followed within the parsha of creation. We see this elsewhere in the creation pesukim. For example, Breishis 1:11

יא וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים תַּדְשֵׁא הָאָרֶץ דֶּשֶׁא עֵשֶׂב מַזְרִיעַ זֶרַע עֵץ פְּרִי עֹשֶׂה פְּרִי לְמִינוֹ אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ בוֹ עַל הָאָרֶץ וַיְהִי כֵן:

11 And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, seed yielding herbs and fruit trees producing fruit according to its kind in which its seed is found, on the earth," and it was so.

יב וַתּוֹצֵא הָאָרֶץ דֶּשֶׁא עֵשֶׂב מַזְרִיעַ זֶרַע לְמִינֵהוּ וְעֵץ עֹשֶׂה פְּרִי אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ בוֹ לְמִינֵהוּ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי טוֹב:

12 And the earth gave forth vegetation, seed yielding herbs according to its kind, and trees producing fruit, in which its seed is found, according to its kind, and God saw that it was good.

  • Thank you, I had to get 50 points to be able to write THANK YOU! because I'd originally asked this question as a guest. I appreciate the answer. It makes sense. But it does leave the words וַיְהִי כֵן as seeming somewhat redundant. In the Possuk you gave, on some level the earth participated in the creation of the plants. But in the one I gave, Hashem goes on Himself to make the Great Luminaries. So I like your answer but I still wonder why the words וַיְהִי כֵן are there.
    – RG1
    May 12, 2016 at 10:27
  • They show that he actual creation occurred as Hashem gave the command. What follows are the details of the ויהי כן May 12, 2016 at 13:49
  • so the next words, after ויהי כן , are a description of what has just happened?
    – RG1
    May 12, 2016 at 15:09
  • can't be. Because the earth, as Rashi says, did NOT do it the way Hashem just said in the previous Possuk.
    – RG1
    May 12, 2016 at 15:10

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