Why Did God Create Me?
Parshat Bereishit Summary
Bereishit Torah Portion: Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 6:8
Parshat Bereishit, 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.