Questions tagged [parashat-bereishit]

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

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35
votes
13answers
3k 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?
19
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2answers
12k views

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 ...
8
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6answers
2k 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 ...
11
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
13
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2answers
794 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 ...
18
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5answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
8answers
872 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
797 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
169 views

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 ...
12
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3answers
397 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 ...
2
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3answers
822 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 ...
13
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3answers
396 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
166 views

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?...
6
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2answers
328 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, ...
2
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3answers
302 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
210 views

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 ...
3
votes
3answers
271 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: ...
7
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4answers
196 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)?
5
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
2
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8answers
4k views

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 ...
10
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5answers
768 views

Questions regarding unusual trope combination

I am relaying a question that my friend emailed to me, last night. (It's a mitzvah to credit others): There are two places in the Torah that have an unusual dual trope note combination on a single ...
5
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1answer
157 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 ...
4
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2answers
375 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 ...
4
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5answers
324 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 ...
4
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4answers
196 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 ...
0
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2answers
235 views

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 ...
9
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2answers
269 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
424 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
307 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
847 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: ...
4
votes
3answers
137 views

What does HaShem benefits 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 making this human being with the the ability ...
4
votes
3answers
400 views

What was Hevel (Abel's) sin?

The Arizal says that Hevel was reincarnated many times to purify his sin. What was his sin?
3
votes
2answers
655 views

Differences between Genesis 1 and 2

I understand that Judaism teaches "Torah Inerrancy", so I assume that Judaism does take the creation account as narrated in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 pretty seriously. But as we all know, Genesis 1 ...
3
votes
1answer
129 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?
3
votes
2answers
763 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 of ...
2
votes
3answers
498 views

Adam masculine and feminine?

I've gotten the advice to ask this question apart from another question i asked (Elohim plural singular): so here it is Bereshit 5:1 reads according to my own words: 'In/On the day that Elohim ...
1
vote
1answer
384 views

Elohim - Female Image of G-d

There is a group that teaches that analyzing the words in Genesis 1:26 : And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and they shall rule over the fish of the sea and over ...
11
votes
3answers
425 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, ...
10
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4answers
465 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?
8
votes
5answers
645 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
177 views

What Was The Source Of The Primordial Light On The First Day Of Creation

It says on the first day of creation in Genesis that there was light. On the fourth day of creation, the sun was created. So what was the source of the primordial light on the first day of creation?
4
votes
2answers
511 views

Did The Snake In The Garden Of Eden Have Free Will?

I heard that all of creation recognizes Hashem and is obedient to Hashem, and that humans are the only creation from Hashem that have free will. So why is it that the snake in the garden of Eden was ...
3
votes
2answers
179 views

hints from verses that 6 days of creation is not literal

Are there hints in the verses of Genesis that the 6 "days" of creation are not literal, i.e. not 24 hour periods but rather some kind of "era".
3
votes
1answer
119 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

What's the difference between נכה and הרג?

In בראשית chapter/verse 4:15 and in various other places the words הכות) נכה) and הרג are used which both seem to be interchangeable in english translations. וַיֹּ֧אמֶר ל֣וֹ יְהוָ֗ה לָכֵן֙ כָּל ־ ...
17
votes
5answers
527 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
973 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
301 views

When did G-d create darkness?

Bereshit 1:5 says: וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ לָאוֹר֙ י֔וֹם וְלַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ קָ֣רָא לָ֑יְלָה וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם אֶחָֽד׃ (פ And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called ...
9
votes
3answers
458 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
548 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 literally ...