THIS WEEK
THIS WEEK

B'reisheet

In the beginning — בראשית


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TORAH: Genesis 1:1-6:8

Genesis 1–6:8

The Creation of the World

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27   So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The Seventh Day, God Rests

2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

The Creation of Man and Woman

  These are the generations
  of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
  in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

  “This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
  she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

The Fall

3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The LORD God said to the serpent,

  “Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
  on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
15   I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
  he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

  “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
  Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

  “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
  of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
  cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18   thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19   By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
  till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
  for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

20 The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Cain and Abel

4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?” 10 And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. 19 And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

23 Lamech said to his wives:

  “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
    you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:
  I have killed a man for wounding me,
    a young man for striking me.
24   If Cain's revenge is sevenfold,
    then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold.”

25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

Adam's Descendants to Noah

5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.

When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.

When Enosh had lived 90 years, he fathered Kenan. 10 Enosh lived after he fathered Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years, and he died.

12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel. 13 Kenan lived after he fathered Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died.

15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared. 16 Mahalalel lived after he fathered Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died.

18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. 19 Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.

28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” 30 Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Increasing Corruption on Earth

6:1 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

(ESV)

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HAFTARAH: Isaiah 42:5-43:10

Isaiah 42:5–43:10

  Thus says God, the LORD,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
  who gives breath to the people on it
    and spirit to those who walk in it:
  “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
    I will take you by the hand and keep you;
  I will give you as a covenant for the people,
    a light for the nations,
    to open the eyes that are blind,
  to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
    from the prison those who sit in darkness.
  I am the LORD; that is my name;
    my glory I give to no other,
    nor my praise to carved idols.
  Behold, the former things have come to pass,
    and new things I now declare;
  before they spring forth
    I tell you of them.”

Sing to the Lord a New Song

10   Sing to the LORD a new song,
    his praise from the end of the earth,
  you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it,
    the coastlands and their inhabitants.
11   Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice,
    the villages that Kedar inhabits;
  let the habitants of Sela sing for joy,
    let them shout from the top of the mountains.
12   Let them give glory to the LORD,
    and declare his praise in the coastlands.
13   The LORD goes out like a mighty man,
    like a man of war he stirs up his zeal;
  he cries out, he shouts aloud,
    he shows himself mighty against his foes.
14   For a long time I have held my peace;
    I have kept still and restrained myself;
  now I will cry out like a woman in labor;
    I will gasp and pant.
15   I will lay waste mountains and hills,
    and dry up all their vegetation;
  I will turn the rivers into islands,
    and dry up the pools.
16   And I will lead the blind
    in a way that they do not know,
  in paths that they have not known
    I will guide them.
  I will turn the darkness before them into light,
    the rough places into level ground.
  These are the things I do,
    and I do not forsake them.
17   They are turned back and utterly put to shame,
    who trust in carved idols,
  who say to metal images,
    “You are our gods.”

Israel's Failure to Hear and See

18   Hear, you deaf,
    and look, you blind, that you may see!
19   Who is blind but my servant,
    or deaf as my messenger whom I send?
  Who is blind as my dedicated one,
    or blind as the servant of the LORD?
20   He sees many things, but does not observe them;
    his ears are open, but he does not hear.
21   The LORD was pleased, for his righteousness' sake,
    to magnify his law and make it glorious.
22   But this is a people plundered and looted;
    they are all of them trapped in holes
    and hidden in prisons;
  they have become plunder with none to rescue,
    spoil with none to say, “Restore!”
23   Who among you will give ear to this,
    will attend and listen for the time to come?
24   Who gave up Jacob to the looter,
    and Israel to the plunderers?
  Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned,
    in whose ways they would not walk,
    and whose law they would not obey?
25   So he poured on him the heat of his anger
    and the might of battle;
  it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand;
    it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart.

Israel's Only Savior

43:1   But now thus says the LORD,
  he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
  when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
  For I am the LORD your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
  I give Egypt as your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
  Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
  I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.
  Fear not, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you.
  I will say to the north, Give up,
    and to the south, Do not withhold;
  bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the end of the earth,
  everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”
  Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
    who are deaf, yet have ears!
  All the nations gather together,
    and the peoples assemble.
  Who among them can declare this,
    and show us the former things?
  Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,
    and let them hear and say, It is true.
10   “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
  that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
  Before me no god was formed,
    nor shall there be any after me.

(ESV)

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GOSPEL: John 1:1-17

John 1:1–17

The Word Became Flesh

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

(ESV)

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Note: The regular readings above are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.


Portion Summary

The scroll of the Torah is the oldest and most sacred of all Israel's Scriptures. It contains five books. The Hebrew name for the first one is B'reisheet (בראשית). It is also the first word of the book in the Hebrew text, as well as the name for the first parasha (the first week's reading). B'reisheet means "in the beginning."

The English name Genesis comes from the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Genesis means "origins." Therefore, the Greek name for the first book of the Bible means "The Book of Origins."

Genesis describes the origins of everything. It begins with the origins of the universe, focuses on the origins of man and then explores the origins of the nation of Israel.

As we study the first week's reading from the book of Genesis, we will learn a great deal about God, but even more about ourselves. After all, this is the story of our origins. When properly understood, the story of our origin helps us find our destination.


Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Genesis 1:1 | Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath
    • Genesis 2:4 | Another Account of the Creation
    • Genesis 3:1 | The First Sin and Its Punishment
    • Genesis 4:1 | Cain Murders Abel
    • Genesis 4:17 | Beginnings of Civilization
    • Genesis 5:1 | Adam's Descendants to Noah and His Sons
    • Genesis 6:1 | The Wickedness of Humankind
    • Genesis 6:9 | Noah Pleases God
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 42:1 | The Servant, a Light to the Nations
    • Isaiah 42:10 | A Hymn of Praise
    • Isaiah 42:21 | Israel's Disobedience
    • Isaiah 43:1 | Restoration and Protection Promised

Commentary from B'reisheet

The Heavenly Adam

The mystics say that God made Adam in the image of the Heavenly Adam, the firstborn of all creation, the spiritual image of God. The theology of the heavenly Adam attempts to reconcile the conflict between the idea that God is incorporeal, that is without image and form, and the idea that man is created in the image of God.

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Commentary from B'reisheet

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