Parshat Bereshit: Meaning, Torah Portion & Summary | Aleph Beta

Bereshit is read on October 14, 2023

Parshat Bereshit: Meaning, Torah Portion & Dvar Torah

Bereshit Torah Portion: Genesis 1:1–6:8

God creates the world! Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden, and their son Cain murders his brother Abel.

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Why Did God Create Me?

Why did God create us? A big question, we know. But a mysterious verse in Parshat Bereshit — a verse that describes, of all things, the Tree of Life — may just hold the answer.

Bereshit Torah Portion

Bereshit Meaning

Parshat Bereshit Dvar Torah & Commentary

Parshat Bereshit Summary

Bereshit Torah Portion: Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 6:8

Parshat Bereshit, the first weekly Torah portion, begins with the start of all things: God’s creation of the world – from light and dark to the animals we see all around us. The Torah tells us about everything that God brings into being, culminating in His creation of humanity — which is followed by the very first Shabbat, in which God rests from all of the melacha, creative work, that He has done.

The parsha then tells us that Adam is placed into the Garden of Eden, where he names all of the animals. But even after that thrilling assignment, Adam is discontent; he is lonely. And so God seeks a partner for him. The animals are trotted out, one by one, but Adam doesn’t really seem thrilled with his options — until God puts him to sleep, and creates Eve, out of Adam’s rib. Then Adam is finally happy.

God instructs Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But with prodding from the snake, they ignore God and perpetrate mankind’s original sin: they eat from the tree. How does God react to Adam and Eve’s sin? He punishes them with death (i.e. God decrees that they will henceforth be mortals who will one day die) and labor (in both senses of the word: for Adam, “labor” means physical work in the field, and for Eve, difficulty in childbirth.)

Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain kills Abel and, as a consequence, God makes Cain an eternal wanderer. The Torah then gives us Cain’s genealogy, adding that his descendents begin to invent instruments and tools. Adam and Eve have another child, Seth, and the Torah tells us his genealogy as well, including Noah, the star of next week’s parsha. The parsha ends ominously with the news that God saw how evil man was, and regretted creating man – but that Noah was the only one who found favor in God’s eye.

Interested in learning more about the upcoming Parshiyot? Check out Aleph Beta’s Parsha pages on Parshat Noach, Lech Lecha & Vayera.

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