Torah Portion Bereshit (Gen 1:1 - 6:8). This is the first chapter of the first of the Five Books of Moses,
which is also called Bereshit in Hebrew, but Genesis (births) in Greek.
Bereshit is Hebrew for “In the beginning.”
Here is the context in Gen 1:1
the beginning, Elohim created the Heavens and the Earth
Some translators prefer:
When God began to create the heavens and the earth…
And the Kabbalists transate Gen 1:1 as
When the One Without End created Elohim with the heavens and the earth…
Summary: In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.
The world was formless and chaotic, and Elohim said “Let there be light” and
there was light. This is what happened on the
first day of G-d’s creation. In
the subsequent days, Elohim created the firmament and the seas; dry land and
vegetation; the sun, moon, and
stars; birds and fish; land animals and humans.
On the seventh day, Elohim rested. YHVH-Elohim
created the human from the dust of the land and breathed the soul of life into
the human (literally: the earthling). YHVH-Elohim
planted the Garden of Eden and placed the human into it to tend it.
There was only one commandment: do not eat from the tree of the knowledge
of Good and Evil. Because the human
was lonely, YHVH-Elohim put the human into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs
(or from his side – the Hebrew can be translated either way) and created a
woman. There was a snake in Eden who
enticed the woman to eat the fruit from the tree so that she and the man would
be like Elohim, knowing good and evil (which could mean morality or the
knowledge of everything). She eats
the fruit and offers it to the man who partakes of it as well.
YHVH-Elohim punishes the man with having to work by the spread of his
brow, the woman with having a difficult childbirth, and the snake to crawl on
the ground. YHVH-Elohim banishes
them from Eden; with their knowledge of “good and evil,” they cannot eat
from the tree of Eternal Life, because they would live forever.
East of Eden, the man and his wife
(he named her Eve – Chavah, in Hebrew, from the Hebrew word for life –
Chayah) become parents of two sons: Cain and Abel.
As adults, Cain kills Abel because YHVH had accepted Abel’s sacrifice
but not his.
YHVH condemns Cain to wander , but with the promise that anyone who kills
Cain will be punished sevenfold. In
the land of Nod, Cain finds a wife. The
seven generations that descended from Cain built cities and civilization.
Adam and Eve had a third son, Seth,
from whom Noah descends (from Adam to Noah is 10 generations).
Adam and Eve also had other sons and daughters.
The world became corrupt, but Noah found favor in the eyes of YHVH.
Note: there are at least three names
for God in this Torah portion:
Traditionally translated as God, the word literally: powers, although it is
treated as if it were singular;
usually translated as The Lord; YHVH is the holiest name for God in the Bible and it
is never pronounced. Instead it is
read as Adonai – literally “my Masters;”
(the combination of the two prior names on this list).
Arguably, Echad (Hebrew for One) may
also a name of God.