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BEREISHEET (In the Beginning)

Shabbat Shalom !

Welcome to Bereisheet –In the Beginning, this week’s Parasha ,

 

Torah Reading

BEREISHEET (In the Beginning)

Genesis 1:1–6:8; 

 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, one day.

God said, “Let there be a dome in the middle of the water; let it divide the water from the water.” God made the dome and divided the water under the dome from the water above the dome; that is how it was, and God called the dome Sky. So there was evening, and there was morning, a second day.

God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let dry land appear,” and that is how it was. 10 God called the dry land Earth, the gathering together of the water he called Seas, and God saw that it was good.

11 God said, “Let the earth put forth grass, seed-producing plants, and fruit trees, each yielding its own kind of seed-bearing fruit, on the earth”; and that is how it was. 12 The earth brought forth grass, plants each yielding its own kind of seed, and trees each producing its own kind of seed-bearing fruit; and God saw that it was good. 13 So there was evening, and there was morning, a third day.

(A: ii) 14 God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to divide the day from the night; let them be for signs, seasons, days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the dome of the sky to give light to the earth”; and that is how it was. 16 God made the two great lights — the larger light to rule the day and the smaller light to rule the night — and the stars. 17 God put them in the dome of the sky to give light to the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 So there was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day.

20 God said, “Let the water swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open dome of the sky.” 21 God created the great sea creatures and every living thing that creeps, so that the water swarmed with all kinds of them, and there was every kind of winged bird; and God saw that it was good. 22 Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, multiply and fill the water of the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So there was evening, and there was morning, a fifth day.

(A: iii) 24 God said, “Let the earth bring forth each kind of living creature — each kind of livestock, crawling animal and wild beast”; and that is how it was. 25 God made each kind of wild beast, each kind of livestock and every kind of animal that crawls along the ground; and God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves; and let them rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the animals, and over all the earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the earth.”

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

28 God blessed them: God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Here! Throughout the whole earth I am giving you as food every seed-bearing plant and every tree with seed-bearing fruit. 30 And to every wild animal, bird in the air and creature crawling on the earth, in which there is a living soul, I am giving as food every kind of green plant.” And that is how it was. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good. So there was evening, and there was morning, a sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, along with everything in them. On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.

(A: iv, S: ii) Here is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created. On the day when Adonai, God, made earth and heaven, there was as yet no wild bush on the earth, and no wild plant had as yet sprung up; for Adonai, God, had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no one to cultivate the ground. Rather, a mist went up from the earth which watered the entire surface of the ground.

Then Adonai, God, formed a person [a] from the dust of the ground [b] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being. Adonai, God, planted a garden toward the east, in ‘Eden, and there he put the person whom he had formed. Out of the ground Adonai, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river went out of ‘Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided into four streams. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it winds throughout the land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. 13 The name of the second river is Gichon; it winds throughout the land of Kush. 14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it is the one that flows toward the east of Ashur. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 Adonai, God, took the person and put him in the garden of ‘Eden to cultivate and care for it. 16 Adonai, God, gave the person this order: “You may freely eat from every tree in the garden 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die.”

18 Adonai, God, said, “It isn’t good that the person should be alone. I will make for him a companion suitable for helping him.” 19 So from the ground Adonai, God, formed every wild animal and every bird that flies in the air, and he brought them to the person to see what he would call them. Whatever the person would call each living creature, that was to be its name. (S: iii) 20 So the person gave names to all the livestock, to the birds in the air and to every wild animal. But for Adam there was not found a companion suitable for helping him.

21 Then God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the person; and while he was sleeping, he took one of his ribs and closed up the place from which he took it with flesh. 22 The rib which Adonai, God, had taken from the person, he made a woman-person; and he brought her to the man-person. 23 The man-person said, “At last! This is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She is to be called Woman [c], because she was taken out of Man [d].” 24 This is why a man is to leave his father and mother and stick with his wife, and they are to be one flesh.

25 They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any wild animal which Adonai, God, had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You are not to eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman answered the serpent, “We may eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden, but about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, ‘You are neither to eat from it nor touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “It is not true that you will surely die; because God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it had a pleasing appearance and that the tree was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her; and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loincloths.

They heard the voice of Adonai, God, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, so the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Adonai, God, among the trees in the garden. Adonai, God, called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I ordered you not to eat?” 12 The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me — she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Adonai, God, said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me, so I ate.”

14 Adonai, God, said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and wild animals. You will crawl on your belly and eat dust as long as you live. 15 I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain. Your desire will be toward your husband, but he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, ‘You are not to eat from it,’ the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. 19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground — for you were taken out of it: you are dust, and you will return to dust.”

20 The man called his wife Havah [life], because she was the mother of all living.

21 Adonai, God, made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

(A: v, S: iv) 22 Adonai, God, said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever — ” 23 therefore Adonai, God, sent him out of the garden of ‘Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So he drove the man out, and he placed at the east of the garden of ‘Eden the k’ruvim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

The man had sexual relations with Havah his wife; she conceived, gave birth to Kayin [acquisition] and said, “I have acquired a man from Adonai. In addition she gave birth to his brother Hevel. Hevel kept sheep, while Kayin worked the soil. In the course of time Kayin brought an offering to Adonai from the produce of the soil; and Hevel too brought from the firstborn of his sheep, including their fat. Adonai accepted Hevel and his offering but did not accept Kayin and his offering. Kayin was very angry, and his face fell. Adonai said to Kayin, “Why are you angry? Why so downcast? If you are doing what is good, shouldn’t you hold your head high? And if you don’t do what is good, sin is crouching at the door — it wants you, but you can rule over it.” Kayin had words with Hevel his brother; then one time, when they were in the field, Kayin turned on Hevel his brother and killed him.

Adonai said to Kayin, “Where is Hevel your brother?” And he replied, “I don’t know; am I my brother’s guardian?” 10 He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11 Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood at your hands. 12 When you farm the ground it will no longer yield its strength to you. You will be a fugitive, wandering the earth.” 13 Kayin said to Adonai, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 You are banning me today from the land and from your presence. I will be a fugitive wandering the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Adonai answered him, “Therefore, whoever kills Kayin will receive vengeance sevenfold,” and Adonai put a sign on Kayin, so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Kayin left the presence of Adonai and lived in the land of Nod [wandering], east of ‘Eden.

17 Kayin had sexual relations with his wife; she conceived and gave birth to Hanokh. Kayin built a city and named the city after his son Hanokh. 18 To Hanokh was born ‘Irad. ‘Irad fathered Mechuya’el, Mechuya’el fathered Metusha’el, and Metusha’el fathered Lemekh.

(S: v) 19 Lemekh took himself two wives; the name of the one was ‘Adah, while the name of the other was Tzilah. 20 ‘Adah gave birth to Yaval; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and have cattle. 21 His brother’s name was Yuval; and he was the ancestor of all who play lyre and flute. 22 Tzilah gave birth to Tuval-Kayin, who forged all kinds of tools from brass and iron; the sister of Tuval-Kayin was Na‘amah. 23 Lemekh said to his wives,

“‘Adah and Tzilah, listen to me;
wives of Lemekh, hear what I say:
I killed a man for wounding me,
a young man who injured me.
24 If Kayin will be avenged sevenfold,
then Lemekh seventy-sevenfold!”

25 Adam again had sexual relations with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Shet [granted], “For God has granted me another seed in place of Hevel, since Kayin killed him.” 26 To Shet too was born a son, whom he called Enosh. That is when people began to call on the name of Adonai.

(vi) Here is the genealogy of Adam. On the day that God created man he made him in the likeness of God; he created them male and female; he blessed them and called them Adam [humankind, man] on the day they were created. After Adam lived 130 years he fathered a son like himself and named him Shet. After Shet was born, Adam lived another 800 years and had both sons and daughters. In all, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

Shet lived 105 years and fathered Enosh. After Enosh was born, Shet lived another 807 years and had sons and daughters. In all, Shet lived 912 years; then he died.

Enosh lived ninety years and fathered Kenan. 10 After Kenan was born, Enosh lived another 815 years and had sons and daughters. 11 In all, Enosh lived 905 years; then he died.

12 Kenan lived seventy years and fathered Mahalal’el. 13 After Mahalal’el was born, Kenan lived another 840 years and had sons and daughters. 14 In all, Kenan lived 910 years; then he died.

15 Mahalal’el lived sixty-five years and fathered Yered. 16 After Yered was born, Mahalal’el lived another 830 years and had sons and daughters. 17 In all, Mahalal’el lived 895 years; then he died.

18 Yered lived 162 years and fathered Hanokh. 19 After Hanokh was born, Yered lived 800 years and had sons and daughters. 20 In all, Yered lived 962 years; then he died.

21 Hanokh lived sixty-five years and fathered Metushelach. 22 After Metushelach was born, Hanokh walked with God 300 years and had sons and daughters. 23 In all, Hanokh lived 365 years. 24 Hanokh walked with God, and then he wasn’t there, because God took him.

(vii) 25 Metushelach lived 187 years and fathered Lemekh. 26 After Lemekh was born, Metushelach lived 782 years and had sons and daughters. 27 In all, Metushelach lived 969 years; then he died.

28 Lemekh lived 182 years and fathered a son, 29 whom he called Noach [restful]; for he said, “This one will comfort us in our labor, in the hard work we do with our hands [to get what comes] from the ground that Adonai cursed.” 30 After Noach was born, Lemekh lived 595 years and had sons and daughters. 31 In all, Lemekh lived 777 years; then he died.

32 Noach was 500 years old; and Noach fathered Shem, Ham and Yefet.

In time, when men began to multiply on earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were attractive; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Adonai said, “My Spirit will not live in human beings forever, for they too are flesh; therefore their life span is to be 120 years.” The N’filim were on the earth in those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the ancient heroes, men of renown.

(Maftir) Adonai saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only. Adonai regretted that he had made humankind on the earth; it grieved his heart. Adonai said, “I will wipe out humankind, whom I have created, from the whole earth; and not only human beings, but animals, creeping things and birds in the air; for I regret that I ever made them.” But Noach found grace in the sight of Adonai.

Prophetic Reading

Isaiah 42:5–43:10; 

Thus says God, Adonai,
who created the heavens and spread them out,
who stretched out the earth and all that grows from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk on it:
“I, Adonai, called you righteously,
I took hold of you by the hand,
I shaped you and made you a covenant for the people,
to be a light for the Goyim,
so that you can open blind eyes,
free the prisoners from confinement,
those living in darkness from the dungeon.
I am Adonai; that is my name.
I yield my glory to no one else,
nor my praise to any idol.
See how the former predictions come true;
and now new things do I declare —
before they sprout I tell you about them.”

10 Sing to Adonai a new song!
Let his praise be sung from the ends of the earth
by those sailing the sea and by everything in it,
by the coastlands and those living there.
11 Let the desert and its cities raise their voices,
the villages where Kedar lives;
let those living in Sela shout for joy;
let them cry out from the mountaintops!
12 Let them give glory to Adonai
and proclaim his praise in the coastlands.
13 Adonai will go out like a soldier,
like a soldier roused to the fury of battle;
he will shout, yes, he raises the battle cry;
as he triumphs over his foes.

14 “For a long time I have held my peace,
I have been silent, restrained myself.
Now I will shriek like a woman in labor,
panting and gasping for air.
15 I will devastate mountains and hills,
wither all their vegetation,
turn the rivers into islands
and dry up the lakes.
16 The blind I will lead on a road they don’t know,
on roads they don’t know I will lead them;
I will turn darkness to light before them,
and straighten their twisted paths.
These are things I will do without fail.
17 Those who trust in idols,
who say to statues, ‘You are our gods,’
will be repulsed in utter shame.
18 Listen, you deaf! Look, you blind! —
so that you will see!
19 Who is as blind as my servant,
or as deaf as the messenger I send?
Who is as blind as the one I rewarded,
as blind as the servant of Adonai?”

20 You see much but don’t pay attention;
you open your ears, but you don’t listen.
21 Adonai was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake,
to make the Torah great and glorious.
22 But this is a people pillaged and plundered,
all trapped in holes and sequestered in prisons.
They are there to be plundered, with no one to rescue them;
there to be pillaged, and no one says, “Return them!”
23 Which of you will listen to this?
Who will hear and give heed in the times to come?
24 Who gave Ya‘akov to be pillaged,
Isra’el to the plunderers?
Didn’t Adonai, against whom we have sinned,
in whose ways they refused to walk,
he whose Torah they did not obey?
25 This is why he poured on him his blazing anger
as well as the fury of battle —
it wrapped him in flames, yet he learned nothing;
it burned him, yet he did not take it to heart.

43 But now this is what Adonai says,
he who created you, Ya‘akov,
he who formed you, Isra’el:
“Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you;
I am calling you by your name; you are mine.
When you pass through water, I will be with you;
when you pass through rivers, they will not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire, you will not be scorched —
the flame will not burn you.
For I am Adonai, your God,
the Holy One of Isra’el, your Savior —
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and S’va for you.
Because I regard you as valued and honored,
and because I love you.
For you I will give people,
nations in exchange for your life.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
I will bring your descendants from the east,
and I will gather you from the west;
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Don’t hold them back!
Bring my sons from far away,
and my daughters from the ends of the earth,
everyone who bears my name,
whom I created for my glory —
I formed him, yes, I made him.’”

Bring forward the people who are blind but have eyes,
also the deaf who have ears.
All the nations are gathered together,
and the peoples are assembled.
Who among them can proclaim this
and reveal what happened in the past?
Let them bring their witnesses to justify themselves,
so that others, on hearing, can say, “That’s true.”

10 “You are my witnesses,” says Adonai,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you can know and trust me
and understand that I am he —
no god was produced before me,
nor will any be after me.

John 1:1–18

In the beginning was the Word,
    and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.
    He was with God in the beginning.

All things came to be through him,
    and without him nothing made had being.

In him was life,
    and the life was the light of mankind.

The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness has not suppressed it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was Yochanan. He came to be a testimony, to bear witness concerning the light; so that through him, everyone might put his trust in God and be faithful to him. He himself was not that light; no, he came to bear witness concerning the light.

This was the true light,
    which gives light to everyone entering the world.

10 He was in the world — the world came to be through him —
    yet the world did not know him.

11 He came to his own homeland,
    yet his own people did not receive him.

12 But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 not because of bloodline, physical impulse or human intention, but because of God.

14 The Word became a human being and lived with us,
    and we saw his Sh’khinah,
the Sh’khinah of the Father’s only Son,
    full of grace and truth.

15 Yochanan witnessed concerning him when he cried out, “This is the man I was talking about when I said, ‘The one coming after me has come to rank ahead of me, because he existed before me.’”

16 We have all received from his fullness,
    yes, grace upon grace.

17 For the Torah was given through Moshe;
    grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah.

18 No one has ever seen God; but the only and unique Son, who is identical with God and is at the Father’s side — he has made him known.

 

 

Teaching

“In the beginning [Bereisheet] ELOHIM created the heavens and the earth.”

 (Genesis 1:1)

 

Isn’t it wonderful to have a fresh start?  To have an opportunity to begin again?

 

This is the precious gift we are given each year at the completion of the fall feasts with Simchat Torah Rejoicing in the Torah, when we start our cycle of Parashiot  all over again — from the beginning.

 

Weekly Torah portions adopt their names from the first unique Hebrew word that appears in the reading, instead of being given a name or title from a theme in the text.

 

Both this first Parasha in the yearly cycle of Torah readings and the first book of the Bible take their name from the first unique word in the text—Bereisheet, which means in the beginning.

 

A Good Creation

 

Parasha Bereisheet opens with a dramatic, awe-inspiring narrative of the creation of our world.

 

In as few as 31 verses and 469 words, Genesis describes how ELOHIM takes confusion and emptiness (tohu v’vohu תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ) and creates a perfect, delicate balance of order and beauty.

 

“The earth was unformed and void , darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of ELOHIM hovered over the surface of the water.” (Genesis 1:2)

 

In this Parasha, the RUACH ELOHIM (רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים ) hovers over the waters (mayim) as ELOHIM separates the light from the darkness and land from the water.  He creates vegetation and creatures — fish of the sea and birds of the air, as well as land animals.

 

 

ELOHIM looks at everything He has made and declares it good; however, He is not quite finished.

 

On the sixth and final day of creation, ELOHIM brings forth the first human — Adam (אָדָם) — out of the dust of the earth (adamah אדמה).

 

“Then YAHUVEH ELOHIM formed man -Adam of the dust of the ground [adamah], and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

(Genesis 2:7)

 

Notice that it takes the breath of ELOHIM to transform Adam into a “living soul” — a being of flesh and blood with personality, emotions, and desires.

 

Contained within the name of the first “man” on earth is the Hebrew root word dam (דָם – blood).  This is not a coincidence, since God tells us often that life is in the blood (Genesis 9:4; Deuteronomy 12:23; Leviticus 17:11).

 

Notice as well that humankind — both male and female — are created in the very image and likeness of ELOHIM.

 

Hebrew uses the word b’tzelmo בְּצַלְמוֹ in His image.  The Hebrew root word tzelem image is used in modern Hebrew to mean taking a photograph or making a photocopy, and there is a very definite family resemblance between us and our Heavenly parents.

 

“And elohim created man Adam אָדָם in His own image b’tzelmo, in the image of ELOHIM b’tzelem Elohim created He him; male –zachar and female nikeivah He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

 

 

 

In the Image of ELOHIM: Creativity

 

While we don’t necessarily resemble ELOHIM in our temporary vessels made out of dust, we do resemble Him in our souls and spirit.

 

One of the ways we resemble ELOHIM is our capacity for creativity.

 

Just as ELOHIM delighted in the creative process of earth and life, so is there an innate quality within each human being to also be creative, which can express itself not only as art, writing, or music but also strategic thinking, engineering, programming, etc.

 

But how did ELOHIM create the universe?  The Bible says He spoke it into existence using words.  For that reason, each act of creation begins with the phrase “And ELOHIM said ….”

 

“And ELOHIM : ‘called forth the light.’  And there was light.”  (Genesis 1:3)

 

Although we are not ELOHIM, as some in the New Age movement claim, we have been given creative power in our words.  Even the power of life and death is in the tongue!  (Proverbs 18:21)

 

 

We see this principle at work when ELOHIM tells the Israelites that He would give them that which they had declared with their own words.  They fostered unbelief and disobedience and spoke death over themselves.  The result of their faithless words was that the entire generation perished in the wilderness.

 

“‘As I live,’ says YAHUVEH, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; your corpses will fall in this wilderness.’”  (Numbers 14:28–29)

 

Keeping this in mind, let us carefully guard our mouth and watch our words — for they have the power to create good things in our lives and the lives of others, or to cause destruction.  (Proverbs 15:4)

 

Moreover, the Word of YAH spoken in faith is powerful and effective to create light in the darkness and order out of confusion and emptiness.

 

In the beginning, everything in YAH’s creation worked perfectly and everything made perfect sense.  He had spoken all into existence in faith, hope, and love.

 

 

Six Days of Labor, One Day of Rest

 

After six days of actively creating, ELOHIM instituted the seventh day Sabbath, a time to cease from labor and simply rest and be refreshed.

 

“By the seventh day ELOHIM completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  Then ELOHIM blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which ELOHIM had created and made.”  (Genesis 2:2–3)

 

This holy day of rest is so important that ELOHIM included it in the Aseret HaDevarim Ten Words or Commandments, chiseling these words onto the stone tablets:

 

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the ELOHIM your GOD; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.

 

“For in six days ELOHIM made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore YAHUVEH blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”  (Exodus 20:8–11)

 

 

 

The Problem of Loneliness

 

“And YAHUVEH GOD said: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.’”  (Genesis 2:18)

 

When YAH placed man in Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden), He declared that it is not good for a man to be alone.

 

He saw man’s need for a helper, counterpart, and companion; therefore, YAH put Adam into a deep sleep and took from him a rib to create a suitable partner for him.

 

“And YAHUVEH GOD caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof.  And the rib, which YAHUVEH GOD had taken from the man, He made into a woman, and brought her unto the man.”  (Genesis 2:21–22)

 

 

In Hebrew, a man is called ish and a woman, isha, the feminine form of ish.  YAH uses this term when He woos Israel and promises a time when Israel will regard Him with fond affection, rather than stand at arm’s length from Him, viewing Him as a stern authority figure.

 

“‘It will come about in that day,’ declares YAHUVEH, ‘That you will call Me Ishi my Man and will no longer call Me Ba’ali my Master.’”  (Hosea 2:16)

 

YAH wants Israel to serve Him out of love — love like that of a woman for her husband.  Likewise, His love for Israel is that of a devoted, tender husband.

 

Furthermore, ELOHIM is utterly concerned with our intimate relationships — with Him and with one another.  He wants our relationships to be borne of love and devotion, not ruled through domination, control, manipulation, and coercion.

 

And because good relationships and preserving purity are so highly prized, Judaism has an effective method of finding mates for singles that is uncommon in the non-Jewish world.

 

The Jewish system of shidduchim (matchmaking) attempts to bring Jewish men and women together for the purpose of marriage.  Creating a successful shidduch (arranged match) is considered a great mitzvah (good deed) in Judaism.

 

 

Although the verse describing Chavah (Eve) has often been translated as “helper” or “helpmate,” the word used for the role of a wife in Genesis 2:18 is ezer kenegdo, which literally means a helper against him.

 

 

The word ezer means a protector, a guard, an aid, and a help.  So we can understand from this text that helping a husband doesn’t means always agreeing.  A woman was not created to be a yes person.  There are times when she must stand in opposition to her husband if he is planning something that is ungodly or unwise.

 

We can look at the example of Haman’s wife in the book of Esther who tried to warn her husband that his attempts to destroy Mordechai would never succeed because he was of Jewish origin.

 

To his detriment, the anti-Semite Haman did not listen to his ezer kenegdo.

 

As well, being a wife does not mean that the woman is less important or inferior to her husband.  After all, the RUACH HAKODESH is also called The Helper.  And while being the helper in Scripture connotes  superiority, the addition of “kenegdo” to the word “ezer” reveals that the position of wife is a position of equality.

 

 

 

The Fall in the Garden

 

Sadly, due to a crafty serpent’s trickery, Eve sinned and Adam sinned soon after her; humankind went from grace to disgrace in a single day!

 

Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent, and men and women have been pointing the finger at one another ever since.

 

There, in the Garden, for the first time in human history, we see the emergence of shame.  With shame came forth a fear of YAH’s wrath.  In his utter humiliation, Adam hid among the trees, having become aware that he was naked.

 

From their utopian, sheltered, and innocent existence in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were thrust into a cruel and unforgiving world of hardship and pain.

 

Being cast out of the Garden prevented them from eating from the Tree of Life in their fallen state.  Doing so would have turned their temporary fallen state into an eternal fallen state.

 

The barred door of the Garden actually opened the door for redemption in the fullness of time.

 

 

How quickly the order and beauty of the TRINITY’s creation deteriorated into moral degeneracy, even to the point of brother murdering brother (Cain and Abel).

 

With humankind spiritually separated from YAH and deciding for themselves what was good and what was evil, only six chapters into the book of Bereisheet, mankind descended to such depths of evil, depravity and violence that YAH’s heart breaks, and He regrets ever creating mankind.

 

The good news, however, is that none of this came as a surprise to YAH.  Even before the foundations of the earth were laid, YAH had a plan for redemption.  YAH sent His one and only Son, YAHUSHUA, to pay the penalty for all of our sins.

 

“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast — all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”  (Revelation 13:8)

 

 

A New Beginning, A New Life

 

“By the word [davar] of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth.”  (Psalm 33:6)

 

The New Covenant book of Yochanan (John) echoes the Creation story.  The very first word of this book is the very same first word found in this Torah portion:  Bereisheet (In the Beginning):

 

“In the beginning [Bereisheet] was the Word (HaDavar), and the Word was with ELOHIM, and the Word was GOD.  He was in the beginning with GOD.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made…  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  (John 1:1–3, 14)

 

YAHUSHUA was there at the beginning, and Yochanan describes Him as the agent of creative power, the power that made everything through the spoken word (davar).

 

It is also through YAHUSHUA, who is called HaDavar (the Word), that we enter into a relationship with GOD and our true conversation with Him begins.

 

When we accept YAHUSHUA, HaDavar has a home in our hearts.  This means we are born again and given a new beginning as a child of the Heavenly Father and mother , the ELOHIM of the Universe.

 

“You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”  (Micah 7:19)

 

 

 

 

“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.  Test Me in this,’ says YAHUVEH Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’”  (Malachi 3:10)

 

 

 

Shabbat Shalom from AMIGHTYWIND