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Questions tagged [parashat-bereishit]

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

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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?
Bas613's user avatar
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21 votes
2 answers
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Do religious Jews generally believe the serpent of Garden of 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 ...
Judah Gabriel Himango's user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
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Why is the word for G-d in Genesis plural? [duplicate]

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 ...
android.nick's user avatar
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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 ...
curiosfellow's user avatar
6 votes
8 answers
2k views

What does the term "sons of G-d" mean?

The term "sons of G-d" בני האלהים is found 5 times in the Hebrew Bible, once in Genesis (6:2), three times in Job (1:6, 2:1 and 38:7) and one time in Psalms (29:1). What does it mean? Does it have the ...
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15 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
3k 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 ...
Gregory Magarshak's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

On the interpretation of Genesis 1: 1

I'm an Italian noahide. Here are some observations on Genesis 1: 1, about which I would very much like to know your opinion. 1 In most translations I have consulted, the verse is thus render:” In ...
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7 votes
2 answers
470 views

How does the tree of life work?

There were two special trees in Gan Eden. In the case of the tree of knowledge of good and bad, we know that eating from it once produced a permanent effect. Was this true for the tree of life too, ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
473 views

Order of events in parashas Bereishis

BH I am having a lot of trouble understanding the order of the following events: The creation of Man The births of Cain and Hevel The death of Hevel The snake Eating from the ...
SAH's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
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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 fruit?...
Scimonster's user avatar
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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 ...
A L's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Was Adam placed in Gan Eden to keep the service of HaShem?

Bereshit 2:15 reads: לְעָבְדָהּ וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ, but it seems that this can't be referring to: 'to work the earth and keep it', because after the chet (the sin) it reads in Bereshit 3:23 that Adam was ...
J.Levi's user avatar
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16 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
msh210's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
514 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 ...
Menachem's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
559 views

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 ...
curiosfellow's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
793 views

Why do all women deserve to suffer for the sin of one woman, Chava?

In the Torah, Bereshit 3:16, all women receive the curse of a painful childbirth and their subservience to men. This is all because Chava made the choice to make Adam eat from the tree. Why should all ...
Theman's user avatar
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4 answers
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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 ...
TreeKing's user avatar
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5 answers
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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 ...
UserZer0's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
220 views

What drove humans to their first sin?

What caused Adam and Chava to sin; to do the wrong thing; to make the wrong choice: What was it in their human being, thats being called Tov me'od (Bereshit 1:31), that drove them into eating from the ...
Levi's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann: The tree of knowledge of good and evil and morallity

Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann in his commentary to Bereishis 2:7 explains (thanks to AlHaTorah for making this available) that originally, it was the will of Hashem that man was going to learn knowledge ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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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 of ...
Robert S. Barnes's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
3k views

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, the ...
xybrek's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
606 views

What's the difference between לְמִינוֹ and לְמִינֵהוּ?

B'reshis 1:11–12, :25; Sh'mini 11:15–22; and R'e 14:14–15 seem to use "לְמִינוֹ" and "לְמִינֵהוּ" interchangeably, and both words are generally translated the same way (usually ...
msh210's user avatar
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1 vote
11 answers
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How do we reconcile the order of creating animals betweeen Genesis and science?

https://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 ...
user4951's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
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Skin color Adam and Chava

What skin color did adam and chava have? I learned that if all people indeed came from them at least one of them had to have a dark skin color.
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2 answers
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Elohim plural singular [duplicate]

Reading many questions relating to mine and the comments that were given, made me wonder. When Elohim thought of creating the human being (Bereshit 1:26) He spoke (singular): “Let Us make… and after ...
J.Levi's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
502 views

Adam and Eve as parable or literal

Was the story of Adam and Eve meant as a parable for the dawn of civilization after human species evolved for millennia or is Adam and Eve to be literally read as the first humans to ever be created.
anon's user avatar
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16 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
doomrobo's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
999 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?
הראל's user avatar
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10 votes
6 answers
636 views

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 one pasuk after the other: Bereishit 2:25 : וַיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם עֲרוּמִּים,...
bondonk's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
200 views

Why did people under 100 die in the mabul?

On Bereishis 5:32, Rashi brings an explanation that Noach had children when he was 500 so that Japheth, his eldest son, should not be liable for punishment before the Flood, as it is written (Isa. 65:...
user9806's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
548 views

What was the purpose of the tree of life if Adam was created 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 ...
ray's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
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Do any commentators say that Adam was not literally the first human being?

Bereshis seems to imply that Adam was literally the first human being (at least according to the normal translation). Do any commentators (preferably not modern ones) disagree with this?
Moses Supposes's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
231 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)?
Monica Cellio's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
237 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 ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
171 views

Why Abel didn't ask Cain to bring his sacrifice?

The Torah declares that before Matan Torah, the firstborns were responsible for bringing sacrifices and Cohanim replaced them after the Golden Calf incident (Num 3,40): :וְלָקַחְתָּ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּם ...
Al Berko's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
247 views

Definitions of Creative Words

What is the difference between יצירה, בריאה, and עשייה? (Three terms for creation). The first is used in Genesis (1:1), the second in Genesis (2:7), the third in Genesis (1:11).
mevaqesh's user avatar
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5 votes
5 answers
723 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 ...
UserZer0's user avatar
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5 votes
5 answers
1k views

Was man created before or after the animals?

According to Genesis chapter 1, it seems that the animals were created first. According to Genesis chapter 2, it seems that man was created first. What are the different understandings that have been ...
Elie Steinbock's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
920 views

What does Judaism teach about Eve's addition to divine commandment that she not touch the fruit?

In Genesis 2:17 we read: But of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat of it, for on the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die." Later, during Eve's temptation, we read: ...
JBH's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
580 views

What was Hevel (Abel's) sin?

The Arizal says that Hevel was reincarnated many times to purify his sin. What was his sin?
Yishai's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
242 views

What does HaShem benefit from making the human being?

HaShem made the human being with free will (to choose), but what does it mean to HaShem, or what does He gain/benefits from making the human being and why make this human being with the ability to ...
Levi's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
203 views

What is the purpose of the genealogy of Genesis 4:17-22?

What is the purpose of the genealogy of Genesis 4:17–22?
Double U's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do English translations use the name "Eve" rather than "Chava"?

When the Bible is translated into English, most Hebrew names are simply transliterated into Roman characters. In a few cases though, a completely different name is used. In the case of Hadassah/...
Ray Butterworth's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
296 views

Why was Adam Embarrassed

Genesis (3:7) states that Adam and Eve realised that they were naked so they made loincloths from fig leaves: וידְע֔וּ כִּ֥י עֵֽירֻמִּ֖ם הֵ֑ם וַֽיִּתְפְּרוּ֙ עֲלֵ֣ה תְאֵנָ֔ה וַיַּעֲשׂ֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
302 views

"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 ...
MTL's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
172 views

Source Midrash - why the first letter of the Tenach is a Bet

What's the source of the Midrash that talks about the reason why the letter Bet was chosen as the first letter of the Tenach and not the Alef? The reason being given in this Midrash is that it is ...
Levi's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
531 views

Inner being: Soul or Spirit?

Bereshit (Genesis) 2:7 reads: 'vayipach beapav nishmat chayim vayehi ha'adam lenefesh chayah' Is my inner being a 'soul' or a 'spirit', or am I a 'soul' or am I a 'spirit'? Let me make myself clear: ...
Levi's user avatar
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