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
votes
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 ...
19
votes
5answers
407 views

Why do fish die?

There's an interesting Rashi in Parshas Bereishis (3:6): וַתֵּ֣רֶא הָֽאִשָּׁ֡ה כִּ֣י טוֹב֩ הָעֵ֨ץ לְמַאֲכָ֜ל וְכִ֧י תַֽאֲוָה־ה֣וּא לָעֵינַ֗יִם וְנֶחְמָ֤ד הָעֵץ֙ לְהַשְׂכִּ֔יל וַתִּקַּ֥ח ...
18
votes
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 ...
17
votes
5answers
528 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
529 views

The Mitzva of Peru U'Revu (Reproduction) - when does it start?

The first commandment in the Torah is Peru U'Revu, the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" (Bereshit 1:28). When does the obligation to fulfill this commandment begin? Does the Mitzva of Peru U'...
13
votes
4answers
975 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
2answers
795 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
302 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 ...
13
votes
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
291 views

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 ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Who is Adam guarding Eden from?

In Bereshis 2:15 Adam is placed in Gan Eden to work and guard it. Guard it from what or whom?
12
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5answers
320 views

Where was Adam created?

The Torah tells us G-d brought Adam into Gan Eden after his creation from earth (Bereishis 2:15). If this is the case where was Adam created?
12
votes
1answer
156 views

Onkelus translation of Gods name

Why does Onkelus usually translate the name Elokim as Hashem? For example in the following pasuk (Bereshit 5:1): זֶה סֵפֶר תּוֹלְדֹת אָדָם בְּיוֹם בְּרֹא אֱלֹהִים אָדָם בִּדְמוּת אֱלֹהִים עָשָׂה ...
12
votes
3answers
398 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 ...
11
votes
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
426 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
466 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?
10
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5answers
769 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
589 views

Is Gan Eden a physical place?

Is Gan Eden mentioned in Genesis a physical place? Does it exist physically somewhere on the planet or is it some kind of spiritual place or even some kind of analogy?
10
votes
1answer
166 views

Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in the fruit of a tree?

In the story of creation man is forbidden from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in a tree specifically?
10
votes
1answer
161 views

How are we to understand the first Rashi in the Torah?

How can we understand the first Rashi in the Torah? בראשית. אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק לֹֹֹֹֹא הָיָה צָרִיךְ לְהַתְחִיל אֶת הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא מֵהַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם, שֶׁהִיא מִצְוָה רִאשׁוֹנָה ...
10
votes
2answers
349 views

Is there such a thing as פת מדינה?

In Bereishit, Hashem said to Adam בזעת אפך תאכל לחם This would seem to imply that bread is universal to all people. We also know that bread has a particular definition: it has to be made from one ...
9
votes
3answers
240 views

Why did Hashem start the Torah with a story?

Why did Hashem start the Torah with a story?
9
votes
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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
132 views

Who named Seth?

Bereishit 4:25 says וידע אדם עוד את אשתו ותלך בן ותקרא את שמו שת And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son, and [she] called his name Seth. Bereishit 5:3 says: ויחי אדם שלשים ומאת ...
9
votes
1answer
125 views

Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
8
votes
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 ...
8
votes
5answers
646 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 ...
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?...
7
votes
5answers
270 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,...
7
votes
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)?
7
votes
2answers
166 views

shnayim mikra on succos for Parshas Breishis

Can you say Shnayim Mikra for Parshas Breishis prior to Simchas Torah?
7
votes
2answers
85 views

Why so much genealogical detail in Bereshit?

I'm looking for reasons (Pshat, but not only) in giving so much detail in Bereshit regarding the sons of Adam, Kain, and so on. Some of the characters born and die, and have no clear role, at least in ...
7
votes
2answers
127 views

Tagin on letter Tet

Shalom! I recently read that in Genesis 1:4, the word Tov is used for the first time and when written in Hebrew, the Tet is crowned with 4 tagin instead of the usual 3. I have been searching for ...
7
votes
2answers
321 views

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?
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?
7
votes
1answer
220 views

Sforno on the Nachash

The Sforno on Bereishis 3:1 explains that the Nachash, snake, is not an actual snake but is rather the Satan/Yetzer Harah. With that in mind, what does the Sforno do with the curse Hashem gives the ...
7
votes
2answers
364 views

Did Chava tell Adam she was giving him fruit from the etz ha'das?

When Chava gave Adam fruit from the etz ha'das to eat did she tell him where the fruit was coming from or not?
7
votes
1answer
184 views

Why should we be punished for Adam's sin? [duplicate]

My kid asked: I understand that Adam and Eve violated God's command by eating from the tree of knowledge and thus deserved punishment: as described in Genesis, Adam would have to work for his food ...
7
votes
0answers
58 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. ...
7
votes
2answers
230 views

Torah view on the Chicken or the Egg?

What is the Torah's viewpoint on the age old question whether the chicken or the egg was created first? Note: Although this article shows Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin writes both fish and chicken eggs ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

When did people living for 900 years start to look old?

In the early days of the world, the standard age of living was well into the hundreds, with many people living until they were 800 or 900. Being that people lived so long, when did they start to "look ...
6
votes
2answers
431 views

What are the 10 utterances in Pirkei Avot 5:1

Pirkei Avot (Chapters of the Fathers) 5:1 says that the world was created with 10 "utterances" (מאמרות). Both Rash"I and Rav Ovadiah Mibartenura explain the term מאמרות to mean that it refers to the ...
6
votes
2answers
620 views

How were fish formed? Did Adam name them?

Animals (including birds) are formed from the dust of the ground in Bereshit 2:19, and Adam gave them names according to verse 20. But what about the fish (animals of the sea)? Are they also formed ...
6
votes
2answers
188 views

Apple as Forbidden Fruit?

Is there a source for the commonly (mis)understood forbidden fruit being an apple? The Gemara Brachos (40a) identifies the possibilities of wheat, grapes, or figs: דתניא אילן שאכל ממנו אדם הראשון ...
6
votes
2answers
325 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 ...
6
votes
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, ...
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 ...