The Portion of Bereishit

Genesis 1:1-6:8

The book of Genesis, and indeed the entire Torah, opens with the story of creation. We are told that God took six days to create the world we know, and on the seventh day He rested. Once man walks the Earth, the story shifts its focus to him. We are told of Adam and Eve’s poor choices in the Garden of Eden, resulting in their expulsion, and the rivalry of their children, Cain and Abel. The generations between Adam and Noah round out the portion.


The Israel Bible cites Rashi, who explains why the Torah, essentially a book of law (the word “Torah” means instruction), would begin with stories, especially the story of creation. Rashi says this way, when the nations of the world accuse the Children of Israel of stealing the land, the Jews will be able to point to the Bible and declare that God, who created it all, chose to give the Holy Land to Abraham and his descendants.


The first Hebrew word in the Torah is Bereishit, meaning “in the beginning”, while the final word is Yisrael, or Israel. Thus, the first and last letters of the Torah can be combined to spell the Hebrew word lev, meaning “heart”. As the Israel Bible points out, this reminds us that the Torah is the heart of the Jewish people and an expression of God’s love for humanity.

Comments ( 21 )

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  • Pauline Graham

    Hi everyone,
    Adam and Chavah, became aware of their nakedness both in the physical and the Spiritual. Once eaten, their mind full and Spiritual innocence was lost. Just as a child will do or say something in innocence, yet when they mature and grow up, they learn that the things they say and do are forbidden, as it's wrong. Hence the same with Adam and Chavah. They hid themselves and covered their bodies as the covering of the Spirit of Yehovah had left them. They were scared and afraid, fearing that they might have been killed. Having seen and talked each evening, with Yehovah, He would maybe I parted things to them, teaching them. Like we are scared of our earthly father when we did wrong as children, I believe this is the meaning behind why they hid.

  • Bonita

    Why do you think Gd made that specific tree in the garden in the first place?Why bring evil into the garden? Did Gd want to test? Does Gd know that with free choice, we are always tempted by evil. Hence the lesson.

  • RenjitThomas

    HaShem must have made a covering of light over Adam and eve when he created them.When they ate the fruit the recognized they had lost their covering which god made them renjitthomas

  • Carolyn

    Yes, I think it was because their eyes were opened and they realized they had done evil by being disobedient to G-d, similar to how a child becomes ashamed when they are caught doing something naughty and they look down. Also, it is interesting to note that HaShem's covering them in animal skins seems to be a foreshadowing of the animal sacrifices later instructed in Exodus to cover our sins and enable us to have positive relationship with HaShem.

  • Marlene Krisa

    They were ashamed most likely because their eyes were open. Did the serpent walk before and talk, and if he did, did all the other animals talk and due to Adams and Chuah sin were their mouth closed???


  • Herman Arentsen

    I think they felt their insecure consciences after trespassing the rules. They had become ashamed of what had happened and tried to hide from G-d, but in reality they tried to run away from themselves. But from His Eyes there is no escape. How they discovered they were naked? Maybe they had been clothed (by G-d) with "light". Maybe they lost that mantle of light. Maybe that's seen as a residu on the heads of so-called saints in paintings as a halo over their heads.

    • Doreen Poole

      That is a good point. I have wondered also about that. They lost their light, they lost their innocence .

    • Angela B

      I agree Herman, they became ashamed of their nakedness because they realized they no longer had the divine presence constantly covering them, they now only saw themselves, their frailty. Today, when we keep away from the divine presence, we feel naked, ashamed, and afraid. Thank Yahweh, that when we look to Him, we are covered, confident and filled with love and peace. I like the Psalm that says "look to Yahweh and His strength, seek His face always." In His face and Torah is where we belong, anything short of that is nakedness, shame and fear.

  • BoanergesOKC

    Sometimes I wonder what would have been if Adam chose not to partake and only Eve ate. Or if Adam had immediately repented instead of blaming. Is being made in the image and likeness of God part of knowing good from evil (Gen 3:22)? Was it the fruit itself that had the ability to reveal the knowledge of good and evil? Or the action of disobedience. The moment they transgressed against Gods word and sinned, causing God's covering to be removed. Thus ushering man into a set time of learning good and evil until Messiah? I love Genesis, there is so much to learn and uncover and to be revealed to us of God's goodness and His character.

  • SueJean Heinz

    When Adam and Eve sinned, their first act was to make clothing for themselves to hide behind. When Hashem came in the cool of the evening to walk with them, they made an even greater effort to hide themselves from HIM.
    The feelings that they now had were new to them as they’d never had a reason to feel shame or embarrassment or fear before in their short lives. These feelings must have been overwhelming in light of their new knowledge.
    One of the first actions that Hashem takes on their behalf is to make clothing for them from the skin of an animal. This didn’t take away their sin or the knowledge they had gained or even the new feelings of shame, etc. The clothing just gave them a kind of symbolic way of hiding themselves and containing those feelings that would never go away.
    Hiding our sins is a common way of trying to deal with them. The human race used to be very good at hiding their sins and doing wrong things in secret. In the world we live in today, sin is openly flaunted in every possible way.
    Baruch Hashem.

    • Doreen Poole

      Thank you Suejean, I was going to write something similar and them read your post. They did not have to hide before sin, what shame they must have felt and you are so right on, this was a new feeling. There is no need to hide or be ashamed when you follow the Word.

  • Ruby Ingram

    I cannot fathom but only imagine Adam and Eve walking and talking with G_d in the cool of the day, I mean that’s like face to face. Adam and Eve only ever knowing the beauty of what the Garden held for them. They were obedient, eternal beings, never having to die or their bodies to face decay because they knew no sin. G_od told them not to partake because they would die. Their rebellion against G_ds orders cause them not only to die a physical death but they were separated from Him because G_d cannot look upon an unholy people. They hid because they were ashamed. They were ashamed because they were guilty of defying the one thing G_od said they could not have. They had the whole garden to do with what’s they wanted…just not the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Prior to the fall they only knew what was good. When they made the wrong choice and succumbed to the serpent they rebelled against G_od and opened doorways for the serpent to have that control. And he ran with it……just a thought ….it is good not to marry…you have only eyes for your creator. When one marries the wife does what they can to please their husband. The husband to do what pleases his wife. Hence Adam partook what Eve gave to please her? They took their eyes of G_d.

    • Shira Schechter (Moderator)

      The message is not to refrain from marriage. In fact, God encourages marriage: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24), and it is considered a positive commandment for a man to take a wife. Maimonides teaches us that the love between a husband and wife is a model for the love we are to have for God.

      • AliceKilic

        God encourages marriage and I believe that in the two becoming one flesh – the male and female becoming one – I think that only within that dynamic can we express the whole character of God. God's attributes as expressed throughout the Word are shown to be not only logical and orderly but also filled with grace and mercy. When those natural feminine characteristics stand beside and join with the natural masculine characteristics of man and the two become one, each complementing the nature of the other, then we are a complete expression of Him who created us.

    • Albert Nygren

      One of the of the reasons that Eve succumbed to Satan's lies is that the scripture says that Satan (The Serpent) is the most subtle of creatures. He is an expert at giving our mind reasons why we don't have to obey God ( Scripture). We must always remember that all thoughts (reasons) about why we don't have to obey Hashem's commands are invalid and ignore them for what they are; temptations that are lies of Satan.

  • Dorothy Kelley

    I think that God told them not to eat of the one tree because they would be forever in a struggle between good and evil if they made a bad choice and God did not want his creation corrupted or suffering at the hand of the evil one…

  • Mrs Peggy Ann

    They realized their body lost its eternal covering and we’re afraid because disobedience was obvious by their apperance., so they hid to avoid God from being disappointed or angry.

  • Sheila

    The forbidden tree —Gen2:17 — tree of the knowledge of good and evil symbolised all moral knowledge that only God could have and its fruit forbidden to Adam and Eve. But the tempter who was cunning, crafty and shrewd suggested they would be “like God” through partaking of it’s fruit. However the result was quite different. Instead of gaining superior knowledge that would have made them equal with Godthey instead gained an awareness and yes an embarrassment of their guilt and shame — the their “spiritual” eyes were opened and they knew they were naked— Gen3:7 —- so sewed fig leaves together. This act of rebellion marked the entrance of sin into the world.

    • Albert Nygren

      I agree but would add some things. The "tempter" is Satan. We all know that Satan is a liar and tempts us primarily by lying to us. Hashem told Adam and Eve that if they ate the fruit of that tree that is sometimes called the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" they would die. Satan lied when he said that Hashem did not tell the truth (What a big lie that was!). He also lied when he said that if Eve ate the fruit that she would be like the God's, knowing good from evil.

      No one can know what is Good or Evil except Hashem! One of the reasons for this is that only Hashem knows what is the end result and also all the results of any action we or anyone takes. The lie of Satan is that we humans by thinking can determine what is good to do or what is evil to do. The result of believing this lie of Satan's is thinking that we don't have to obey HaShem's Commandments unless we think they are true. It is the raising of the mind to the level of God by believing that by thinking we can decide what is good to do or evil to do. Again, believing this leads to the same conclusion that Eve had, which is that we don't have to obey Hashem's commandments!

      You can see this false belief all over the world today; that by thinking, we can come to all truth. The other thing about these scriptures is that Satan lied to Eve and not to Adam. Adam gave in to Eve when she told him what Satan (the Serpent) had told her.

  • Herman

    They felt guilty towards G’d, they felt guilty towards eachother, but couldn’t hide for eachother nor for HaShem–>they were naked. They gave a try to do so by hiding in the bush, but nothing can be hidden for the eye of G’d.

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